Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Obama: Champion of Gender Equity

Barack Obama believes that what's been good for women's basketball will be good for nuclear physics.

And what's been good for women's basketball is Title IX, the law that demands equal rights for women in education.

But what's been "good" for women's basketball has not been so good for men's swimming, wrestling, gymnastics and a host of other varsity sports. That's because gender equity activists aren't about providing equal opportunities for girls and women to participate in scholastic sports. They are about demanding equal outcomes. In a word, parity. They are about having the SAME NUMBER of girls and boys playing sports, even if girls, as a group, aren't as interested in playing those sports.

And so if a school can't interest enough girls to play, it can be punished - that is, sued - for having too many more boys playing them. To prevent that from happening high schools and colleges simply dump men's sports programs to achieve parity with the number of varsity female athletes.

This is, of course, hurtful to the young men who enjoy the camradarie and competition of such participation. But the gender equity activists don't care. They don't care that more men would like to participate in athletics than women. For them, what people want is beside the point. They have a vision for America and it shared by our new president.

Given the supposed "success" of Title IX, Obama and his fellow progressives want to expand it to include parity in the hard sciences, like physics and math. Fewer women choose to go into these fields than men. According to Obama's vison for America, shared by groups like the American Association of University Women, that must change.

But consider this.

While basketball has done a lot for women, women have not done a lot for basketball. They certainly have not raised the level at which the game is played. They can't compete with men on the same court. A decent high school boys team would beat any professional women's team.

Is this what Obama and his fellow gender acitivists have in mind for physics? A separate league in which women can compete against one another?

Let's hope not. But what they might do is use Title IX as a cudgel to hammer universities to provide more scholarships for females and fewer for males. That is the approach they have used for athletics. Why not physics?

It is one thing to encourage girls to go into the harder sciences. It is quite something else bring to bear a law that has been twisted by liberal lawyers and bureaucrats to require gender parity in any particular field. But funny, how there's never a question of having too few male grade school teachers, even when they are vastly outnumbered by the female kind.

Anyone who tells you girls are being denied educational opportunities because of prejudice and bias is lying to you. Girls now make up close to 60 percent of number undergraduates in college. They can study whatever they want and they do. That more choose to go into the humanities and softer sciences reflects their OWN choices and maybe something about the innate differences between boys and girls.

When my daughter was in middle school she played basketball, and she was a pretty good little player too. But when she got to high school she suddenly decided she wanted to go out for cheerleading. And she did. I would have preferred watching her play basketball but her choice was HER choice. Not mine. And not a bunch of Department of Education bureaucrats in Washington who have rather peculiar ideas of what a just society looks like.

UPDATE: Read Christina Hoff Sommers take on this here in the Washington Post. You may need to register but it only takes a few seconds and its worth it.


Blogger steve mcdonald said...

you make me want to cancel my WNBA season tickets.

April 15, 2009 at 9:08 AM 

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