Will American Males be Limited by STEM Quotas?

We`re told that we don`t have enough students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs. In fact that`s one of the justifications for importing more foreigners into these fields.

Yet, if Obama wins reelection, the federal government may be limiting the main source of STEM students – American males.

You would think that in a free country, people could study what they want. But, apparently that won`t be the case for STEM students in Obama Term II. It sounds rather totalitarian.

The issue is discussed in Quotas Limiting Male Science Enrollment: The New Liberal War on Science (Hans Bader, OpenMarket.org, July 10th, 2012). Here are some excerpts:

Quotas limiting the number of male students in science may be imposed by the Education Department in 2013. The White House has promised that “new guidelines will also be issued to grant-receiving universities and colleges” spelling out “Title IX rules in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.” These guidelines will likely echo existing Title IX guidelines that restrict men’s percentage of intercollegiate athletes to their percentage in overall student bodies, thus reducing the overall number of intercollegiate athletes… Thus, as Charlotte Allen notes, the Obama administration’s guidelines are likely to lead to “science quotas” based on gender.

Earlier, writing in Newsweek, President Obama celebrated the fact that 25 percent fewer men than women graduate from college, calling it a “great accomplishment” for America. Ironically, he lamented the fact that a smaller gender disparity — 17 percent fewer women attending college than men — had once existed before Title IX was implemented. To Obama, gender disparities are only bad when they disfavor women. Under his strange idea of equality, equality means men losing out to women.

Obama hinted that Title IX quotas would soon come to engineering and techology, saying that “Title IX isn’t just about sports,” but also about “inequality in math and science education” and “a much broader range of fields, including engineering and technology. I’ve said that women will shape the destiny of this country, and I mean it.”

Christina Hoff Sommers wrote earlier about this looming liberal war on science. Based on a campaign promise Obama made to feminist groups in October 2008, Sommers foresaw the Obama Administration moving to artificially cap male enrollment in math and science classes to achieve gender proportionality — the way that Title IX currently caps male participation in intercollegiate athletics. The result could be a substantial reduction in the number of scientists graduating from America’s colleges and universities…

The fact that fewer women than men major in science and engineering is the result of their own voluntary choices, not sexism or sex discrimination by schools, notes researcher John Rosenberg…

Gender disparities in a major are not the product of sexism, but rather the differing preferences of men and women. The fact that engineering departments are filled mostly with men does not mean they discriminate against women anymore than the fact that English departments are filled mostly with women proves that English departments discriminate against men. The arts and humanities have well over 60 percent female students, yet no one seems to view that gender disparity as a sign of sexism against men. Deep down, the Obama administration knows this, since it is planning to impose its gender-proportionality rules only on the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), not other fields that have similarly large gender disparities in the opposite direction…

 

As Susan Pinker notes, “A mountain of published research stretching back a hundred years shows that women are far more likely than men to be deeply interested in organic subjects—people, plants and animals—than they are to be interested in things and inanimate systems, such as electrical engineering, or computer systems.”

Women are well-represented in scientific fields that involve lots of interaction with people. As The New York Times’ John Tierney noted, “Despite supposed obstacles like “unconscious bias” and a shortage of role models and mentors, women now constitute about half of medical students, 60 percent of biology majors, and 70 percent of psychology Ph.D.’s. They earn the majority of doctorates in both the life sciences and the social sciences.” By contrast, “They remain a minority in the physical sciences and engineering,” which deal more with inanimate objects rather than people.

These gender-based differences are not the product of discrimination, and manifest themselves at a very early age. As a book on the biology of male-female differences notes, “Girl babies in their cribs are especially inclined to stare at images of human faces, whereas infant boys are likely to find inanimate objects every bit as attractive”; “this difference persists into adulthood: when shown images of people as well as things, men tend to remember the things, and women tend to remember the people.”…

The Education Department already has the power to punish colleges for discrimination in math and science under Title IX, even without any new guidelines, since the Title IX statute bans discrimination based on sex (except in certain single-sex schools) in any educational field. Based on what the Obama campaign said in 2008, many had expected the Obama Education Department to exercise that power through lengthy investigations (“compliance reviews”) of college math and science programs (such as investigating gender disparities in male vs. female enrollment rates in science classes to determine whether or not they are not the result of discrimination). But to require gender quotas in math and science — as opposed to merely banning discrimination — the Education Department will have to first issue guidelines mandating them, since these quotas are a new substantive obligation for colleges, and cannot be imposed without such notice (even putting aside the fact that they are unconstitutional).