Women Lack 'Natural Ability' In Some Fields, Harvard President Says
Women Lack 'Natural Ability' In Some Fields, Harvard President Says Comments Came At Economic Conference
POSTED: 1:06 pm PST January 17, 2005 UPDATED: 1:19 pm PST January 17, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, Mass -- The president of Harvard University prompted criticism for suggesting that innate differences between the sexes could help explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers.
Lawrence H. Summers, speaking Friday at an economic conference, also questioned how great a role discrimination plays in keeping female scientists and engineers from advancing at elite universities.
The remarks prompted Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist Nancy Hopkins - a Harvard graduate - to walk out on Summers' talk, The Boston Globe reported.
"It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women (at Harvard) are being led by a man who views them this way," Hopkins said later.
Last time I ran into something like this, it was 1972, my first year in law school, which had been cracked open by Affirmative Action, and the all-male faculty - not happy to see chicks there - referred to us, in class, as "lawyerettes."
In 1975 a young man was hired as the first sales trainee when I was much more qualified and already working for the company. the Prez of the company said to me I will never give a woman $100K /year I resigned at 25 year old over our dinner discussion!
179. My sister had the same experience @ Yale in the School of Architecture.
Edited on Tue Jan-18-05 12:01 AM by TankLV
That prick Charles Moore was her professor - told her flat out that he didn't believe any woman should be an architect - that they were not capable. It almost devestated her. I couldn't believe it. She was 2 1/2 years older than me and I really idolized her - still do!
She was part of the original classes in 1971 or 72 that for the first time started admitting women to their programs. It was really interesting going to visit her at the time. Very interesting - and not in a good way. I saw plenty.
My parents sent her to me in London, where I was studying architecture, too - and that convinced her to complete her education.
Today, she is a successful architect in Dayton, Ohio - I'm one in Las Vegas.
I will forever spread the truth about that piece of filth Charles Moore as long as I have a breath.
For those of you who don't know - he's a "biggie" in the world of architecture - died some years ago - good riddance to a despicable little man.
My mentor during my beginings in architecture was a great woman who was a principal in a firm in Honolulu - I will always be in her debt.
I do not personally believe that any individual should be told they are not capable of any single thing.
He may not be wrong.
You see, men and women ARE wired differently. Their brains DO work differently. That is a fact. I personally don't see a problem with acknowledging that men and women, even different ethnic groups, are DIFFERENT.
These are empirical facts.
Men's brains are geared for Geometry - we have to 'feel' our environment because we're the ones equipped with the energy-boosting blood pressure changes we need to operate in the physical world. Men were traditionally hunters and fighters because they could adapt to a physical situation. Men have the physiology (denser collagenic tissue/musculature, higher adrenal activity, upper body leverage advantage... etc. etc...) and the mentality to operate in the physical world. (Geometry, physics, trajectory, are all part of the Male function. - "To kill the tiger I must throw this 2 stone spear 53 cubits with 'exactly' X amount of force and attenuation.")
By no means am I saying that a woman cannot do the same thing. We're talking Averages...
Women are not designed to operate 'exactly' the same way. Women have generally 'softer' cardiovascular, muscular, and connective tissues than men. That's one of the reasons they live longer On Average. They also tend to be 'wired' to think more in terms of process and inter-social dynamics. Ever hear the saying, 'to think like a woman, first you need to learn mind-reading.'? There's more truth to that than you might think. The average Woman's social dynamic is far more complex than a man's... just ask a woman, she'll explain it to you, but you might not understand. ;)
An average black male in good physical condition will have a more difficult time staying buoyant in water than the average white male because the tissue density of his body is slightly higher than the density of the water, whereas the tissue density of the white male is closer to the real density of water than the average black male. http://tinyurl.com/3myyu
The average black male can run faster and has a higher vertical leap than the average white male due to the slightly different tibial connections of the quadriceps femoris, and the slightly different femoral length.
WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!
Some of those differences can be assigned a genetic and hereditary value.
Of course I'm not saying that a woman can't be the world's greatest physicist, a black man can't be the world's greatest swimmer, a white man can't be the world's best high-jumper, but on AVERAGE - every genetic stronghold has an advantage another does not.
Including the difference between men and women.
That is why I love watching the progress of procreative racial deconstruction - to see what marvelous creatures arise over time.
I choose to acknowledge and celebrate diversity, and as you can see - I have no problem illustrating my point of view.
Woman ARE different from men, and thank God for that.
I'll bet Colin Powell could float from here to Cuba and back, no problem, even before he got so fat and sassy. And I'll bet he couldn't manage to jump up on a chair--he's got short legs and is built too close to the ground (not to pick on him). And some of these pasty, freckled eastern bloc basketball players can drag anyone's ass, black, white or green, up and down the boards without a break for an entire NBA game.
Of course women are different from men, heredity, culture, ethnicity all play a role in how people turn out, what they do, what they BELIEVE they can do, but by categorizing people, this guy's intent appears to be to LIMIT them.
I can't get behind that shit. I can smell his lousy agenda from here.
And there's an exception to every rule...and thank heavens for that.
237. Thank you! Variations in gender, race, sexual orientation are GOOD!!
Some people are apologetic about differences between races and gender - and others may deny it - but I think it is good. If all races/gender had the talents of (insert one race/gender here), society would be worse off.
The problem comes when we don't acknowledge the huge variations that exist within any race/gender or sexual orientation.
If all these markers (gender, race, ethnicity) have "differences" that can be identified and used against us (as is usually the case) do members of different socioeconomic classes differ one from another? I am not going to argue with the idea of differences, obviously there are physiological differences (let's start with the sex organs, the most obvious). The problem is that this whole area is so weighted, so charged politically and historically, that I think people ought to tread lightly, and by the way, feminist paleoanthropologists figured out that since way, way back, homo sapiens have relied more on grains, etc, as their main diet staple. In other words the "gatherer" end of the "hunter/gatherer" spectrum, the traditional prehistoric-male/female division of labor mythos-- and only rarely was meat consumed. So much for the great warrior hunter. This is all to say that science, and our perception of the meaning of differences, is shaped by politics/history/etc-- that old Rorshach (sp?) thing again.
167. Yes, I'm not surprised - he's the Summers Memo Summers, after all
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 10:49 PM by hatrack
It was the year of the Earth Summit, and thus the Bank's most prestigious annual publicatoin took "Development and the Environment" as its theme. The Development Report, however, was entirely upstaged by the memo, which after being leaked to The Economist, reprinted and cursed around the world, became a truly world-historic indiscretion. As Jose Lutzenberger, then Brazil's secretary of the environment sait, it was "perfectly logical but totally insane."
"Just between you and me,' Summers asked his colleagues, 'shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migrations of the dirty industries to the LDCs (least developed countries)?" Doing so is entirely reasonable on economic grounds, he explained, because, for example a carcinogen will have a larger effect "in a country where people survive to get prostate cancer than in a country where under-five mortality is 200 per thousand." Poor countries, then, are "underpolluted," and the economically rational course is to enbcourage "dirty industries" to move to them. While there is great disparity between wages in rich and poor countries, "the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowet wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that." There are, to be sure, "arguments against all of these proposals" for exporting pollution to the South: "intrinsic rights to certain goods, moral reasons, social concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc." But the problem is that these arguments "could be turned around and used more or less effectively against every World Bank proposal for liberalization."
Tom Athanasiou, "Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor", p. 184.
Good for Nancy Hopkins - she is a famous researcher
so her action carries some weight.
The actions of Harvard have consistently selected against women for tenure. This is nothing new. It's just new that they would be so bold -- perhaps because of the backwards environment of the b* admin -- that these statements were made so publically on the record. Ordinarily they spend time saying how fair-minded they are and how the damning numbers inthe university faculty treatment is just coincidence.
I hope he chokes on this and is driven from office in disgrace. He fully deserves it. Of course, a great many of the other white male faculty of Harvard believe the same thing.
Note that Nancy Hopkins is a professor at MIT, where she has a long and distinguished history. MIT has its problems too, but compared to Harvard, it's almost egalitarian. (Of course, that's not saying much, given the troglodytes who rule at Harvard.)
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 06:47 PM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
since the former doesn't apply to me, language and social skills are just two. Oh, also, multi-tasking.
There's a female Kiwi government minister - I forget her name - who was criticised by male members for *knitting* in the house, while some important bill was being discussed. Some such important occasion, anyway. She retorted that they were just jealous because they couldn't multi-task! Love it!
Well, being a man, I'd offer the following incomplete list of what men are lacking (on the average), when compared with the women I have known:
Ability to admit having made a mistake / having a point of view that doesn't make sense
Ability to cope with chaotic situations (screaming children, etc)
Perspective (the reaction that men have when their favorite professional sports team loses is a prime example)
But none of this has much bearing on the ability to be successful in an American Corporate Career, so the Harvard clown is right, darling, why don't you just take your pretty little self back to the kitchen where you belong, that's a good girl.
Please note that I do thnk of myself as a regular guy, not Alan Alda, but I have this unfortunate tendency to be honest. Because of that, I think women in general have a fair amount more going for them than men in general.
Thus the sarcasm in the next-to-last paragraph, not that I really have to point that out.
And loved your Babble prooo-uf to show, lahk, how it says cleeyar as the back on mah hay-und, that a woombun ain't suppose a be taykun away them jawbs, whatcher rahtfully belong to us May-uns.
Baybee, you wanna go fetch me a beer, (slaps ass) thar ya go now. ------Haww haww, yeah-up, she'd be almose perfeck, if'n she haid some o' them ol' big-ass boobies. But hay, she does all the cookin an-a cleanin and tendin the younguns, and the fixxin the roof, and warshin mah cawr, and the diggin out the outhouse-pit out back yondah, and then she's got that lill ol' clerkin jawb down at the store, so's I can have this here wide-screen Tee-Vee fer mah sports, I lahk to watch alot of tee-vee dontcha know, getting laid off those four years ago, been pretty tough, I gotta watch a lotta teevee to keep mah mind occapide, so's I guess I cain't complain too much. ----Hayy, whut's taykin so lawwng? Get chyor fat ass out here with that beer!!!!!!!
Remember that women didn't even have the right to vote less than 100 years ago in US. They have only barely started compared to the hundreds of "male" dominated years of believing they were soooo smart.
for attacking me and trying to bait me because I said some nice things about women? I don't get it.
"Care to say anything bad about women here?
Now, why would I want to do that? I like women. Oh, and you still haven't explained your bizarre prior remark about white people. I'm not going to say anything bad about them, either. I like white people, too. Pretty much all kinds of people, actually.
"You seem to be the self-loathing, over-generalizing type"
Thanks for the psychoanalysis, Doctor. Sorry to have to tell you this, but I like myself, too--so I'm afraid I can't be offended by your opinion, much as I'd like to help you feel better.
Are you done stalking and baiting me now?
Or should I be careful, in future posts, not to praise any specific segment of humanity, lest I incur your wrath again?
During the 19th century, the so-called experts believed a bunch of silly and stupid things about women based on men and women's so-called biological differences. Some would even argue that attending college was bad for women's health. Despite the heroic efforts of feminists, women still have to deal with these stupid beliefs.
While genetics play an important role in shaping who we are, so does our environment. We should not ignore the role that parents, schools, religious organizations, peers, social groups, and the rest of society play in shaping who we are.
I sucked at math all through grade school - too many scenarios involving trajectory of balls and velocity of trains......ho-hum.....how about tailoring the teaching to something that would interest the average girly girly in high school? Couch it in something that interests ME and you'll get a different level of interest. So simple.
P.S.: When I grew up, I became an engineer. In spite of it all.
104. I think the comment was slightly tongue-in-cheek
One of my roomates is in the School of Nursing at BC, and goddamn, she works harder than anyone. Much more emphasis on anatomy and chemistry than my own lame ass bio major ;) That said, nursing is still looked down upon as being 1) only for women and 2) a lesser medical occupation. Nurses are so under appreciated, it's not even funny.
;) there's job security in nursing...for now, until they try and outsource that too. It was no easy ride, I'll tell you that. There are a lot of men entering nursing, too. We have a long way to go toward tolerable working conditions, though, but that's what unions are for! (until they are done away with as well). God, am I depressed or what??
255. heh...don't worry, i get depressed sometimes too
Edited on Wed Jan-19-05 03:48 PM by ashmanonar
i know that there's some good job security in nursing, but getting there...*shudder*...i'd go insane.
i don't seee how they could outsource nursing, it's kinda an immediate care thing...or i'd say similar to service industry, which is what america has become. so i don't see that happening any time soon. (our health care system would go down the crapper, and we'd be worse than equatorial guinea or something)...
but the unions, i'm not so sure they're secure...i'd have to wait and see for that. and if the unions lose power, i'd say we're all in deep shit. despite what i have to say about unions, about the plumbers who get paid exorbitant amounts to do the exact same work my dad (a non-union construction worker) can do for much cheaper, or the electricians (although those guys earn it, i wouldn't play around with electricity myself), or the hundreds of other professions who don't really need to be unionized...there are professions that i think get forgotten in the hustle and bustle, and which would go under without some sort of command over their own profession.
203. When my sister was getting her engineering degree and went to talk to
a professor about any problem she was having or any questions she was encouraged to go into another field (in a round about way, not a direct statement). Of course none of the men she knew encountered this. This was at UVA in the mid 90's.
He was the Dodgers GM who made similar remarks about blacks in management positions in a Nightline interview in 1987. He was fired the next day.
I will say this: women's abilities in math and science are equal to that of men's, but I do think there may be something to the argument that women are less inclined to be INTERESTED in math and science careers.
145. There's a book called "Failing At Fairness", it's research done on sexism
in American schooling, K--post graduate. Appalling, the preference given boys, sometimes blatant, somtimes subtle and unconscious. But its results, in loss of self- esteem and ambition among girls was startling and downright depressing. Studies show that women do better in all-female schools and colleges (they recieve attention which is lacking in coed environments, and are not dissuaded from participating in class. Boys tend to overspeak girls and generally hog the attention, without much effort by teachers to correct the imbalance)
Interesting fact I learned recently is that 80% of women in Senate/Congress are graduates of women's colleges. !!!
There are lots of women in the biological and natural sciences.
In chemistry, math, and physics, not so much.
To go out on a (flaming) limb, men are nerds who find hours of math problems inherently interesting in a way that I don't. I don't mind applied math problems, where you come up with an interesting result, but hours upon hours of boring problems out of the book...ugh.
It's the same thing with computer programming. I don't mind making the occasional web page, but endless hours of that...yuck.
that drove me out of my field. I wasn't willing to spend 20 years in a beginning hire position, and I got awfully tired of watching my male seniors fuck up. There's nothing more threatening to some men than a competent, trained, and non-deferential woman of any age.
I worked in South Carolina for a summer, and there was a dude on the crew who "dint LIKE yankee wimmin" for these very reasons. The two women on the crew (one of whom was boss), needless to say, fit his definition of yankee wimmin (even though I argued I was from California and had never been to the northeast in my whole life).
25. At the girls' school where I taught, we kicked ass in science!
I'm proud to say that Beaumont School in Cleveland Hts, Ohio won the state science fair school award for something like five years in a row and sends a girl to the national science fair pretty much every year. One year, our student place fifth in biology for studying the effects of lead on rat neuronal development.
Btw, that also means that we kicked all three area boys' schools in the area all around the lab desk! Yeah, so girls must suck at science . . . :eyes:
At an Ivy League university, and a member of the Gender Equity Council, meaning I've seen the data on recruitment and retention of women faculty in the Ivy's, I can emphatically tell Professor Summers that he is full of shit. I can think of no more eloquent way to say it.
Fewer women "succeed" in academics because many just too smart to put up with all the asinine bullshit it takes to get hired and promoted in this the most archaic of hierarchical promotion systems on the planet, and scientific fields often have the most stringent promotion criteria. At my university, you are considered for promotion at seven years after being appointed assistant professor, at which time you need a median of 45 peer-reviewed publications, a national reputation as an expert in your field, grant funding, administrative responsibilities and a substantial body of research to be considered. (Did I mention that I see patients four full days a week?)
The clock is ticking from day one. Women lose time for maternity leave that most men don't take. Women also lose out on incentive pay and get passed over for administrative positions because they cannot regularly attend the associated 7 am and 6 pm meetings, given that someone needs to pick up the kids and the university doesn't have a daycare facility. The system is rigged against people who cannot or don't want to work 12 hour days or come in every weekend, i.e. women with kids at home. Because in the vast majority of households, it is still the woman who does the bulk of the childcare. Even professional women.
The science and math fields have been the last to recognize their internal barriers to the advancement of female faculty, and if they have, some remain openly hostile to women, for the very reason that they believe that women don't belong in these fields. It's a vicious cycle. A female surgeon I had in medical school told me she had to work twice as hard to be thought half as good.
Some of us stick it out to prove the good old boys club wrong, but many just aren't willing to make the sacrifices, and I don't blame them.
But of course, according to Dr. Summers, I must be mentally incapable of comprehending physics and math, so I'd better just get my bare feet back to my kitchen and engage in some appropriately womanly task like whipping up some vittles.
and my goal back then was to teach at the University level. After being a TA for a couple of years, I decided against pursuing a career as a professor. I saw that these people had to devote a staggering amount of time and energy towards applying for funding, usually done in the most beaureaucratic way imaginable. This left little time to devote to actual research or study. Even though I did well in the field, and enjoyed teaching, I knew that it wouldn't be the life for me.
I may get some flack for saying it, but my experience as a woman and from talking with my female friends is that we are less fulfilled in jobs that are demanding but not fundamentally interesting. I don't think that women are less suited to careers in the scientific field. I think we are just less inclined to have the attitude that hard work is its own reward.
I loved the science and math, hated to see the long hours my professors would have to put into writing lengthy appeals for grant money (we're talking hundreds or even thousands of pages per report), not to mention the less interesting projects they would often be required to undertake.
I guess my essential point here is that it isn't necessarily a lack of proficiency or even a lack of interest in science that keeps women from pursing a career in the scientific fields.
Historically, science has been dominated by men who spend little time outside of the lab, so to speak. Newton dumped his fiance to pursue his University career, Einstein abandoned his wife and kids. Those are extreme examples, but I think there is still a mentality of work above family if you want to succeed. I have a passion for science, but I wouldn't sacrifice my family or a personal life in order to have a good career, especially taking into account the decreasing amount of control I might have over research projects and funding. At least Einstein and Newton never had to write 1000 page grant requests or deal with corporate overlords.
And we ALL know men are WAY better at fixating on things, like sex, sports, and rock'n roll as well as math. I've seen the kind of physics guy who can't talk to people who don't understand higher mathematical concepts. They're usually led around and made sociable by their wives and girlfriends. We've all seen it. Men WILL fixate on mathematics and "hard science" where you speak about the beauty of equations. Women are way smarter, and have a life to live, and usually don't bother with fixations, got better things to do. Just my opinion, of course, but I side with the women. Maybe they need a female president of Harvard?
Reading your post I get the impression you were disgusted with the beaureaucractic nonsense, not the actual scientific research.
I can't stand the politics and games in the work place either, however I can't think of anything more interesting than science.
I think most men and women would agree that the games we must play in the workplace is tiresome at best. I also agree, as a mother, I am less inclined to want to spend extra hours at the office at the expense of my children. However, that is a rat race issue, not ability.
178. When I was in med school, some male faculty members thought it
was just hilarious to put slides of Playboy centerfolds etc, up on the screen during lectures, mixed in with the histology, microbiology or physiology stuff. The clear message was, yeah, we have to admit you females these days, but we sure don't like having you here.
And one asshole surgeon on the faculty wrote this in the evaluation of one of my classmates, for her 3rd-year surgery clinical rotation: "L. is fine in form and body. Truly, a credit to her gender." Nothing about her medical/clinical skills during the rotation.
She didn't raise much of a fuss about it, because her dad was also on the faculty and she wanted to stay in the area for her residency.
What you have said here has everything to do with why I chose the path I did. Although I was initially drawn to academics, around about age 22 I realized my maximum tolerance for bullcrap (and believe me, I still put up with A LOT of it, as I am sure we all do in the so-called workplace). And I just wasn't going to do it. I wanted to work 40 hrs a week or less! I have seen the good ol' network (I don't want to generalize to all males here, because there are ethnicity and class issues too). But again, it was a battle that I just didn't have it in me to fight. So I thank all of you women who did fight the good fight. It is truly appreciated. There are so many, many more comments that can be made, but the type of remarks made by this Summers or Simmons or whatever the hell his name is, these kind of ridiculous generalizations just serve to either a) shut down the discussion, or b) send us into battle mode! (who said women aren't fighters?)
230. Little story - I was 25 before I realized i was good in math.
I'd been doing computer programming for 6 years by then (had started doing it at a bank I worked at). I was out to lunch with my colleagues and we were coming back to the office, I was driving.
We were talking about a new set of applications we were going to have to support and who might be assigned to do it. The applications were Linear Programming, Statistics, and Critical Path software. In the general banter I made the comment that it wouldn't be me because "I'm not good at math".
For some reason, I heard myself say that and then the awareness hit me that it wasn't true! I was VERY good in math and always had been. But for some reason I had believed I wasn't because everyone knew that girls and women weren't good at math. It was an awesome insight and it really changed my life. I began to realizehow much I had absorbed from society without ever attention to myself and my own skills, talents, and attitudes.
They already have homophobia stirred up. I went to college in the south when they still had segregation. I remember black/white toilets and the back of the bus for African-Americans. I was the only female in my medical school and damned lucky to get in. They told me not even to try for vet school as I wasn't strong enough to lift a cow's leg. Younger people who were born into a relatively free society won't believe how bad it was just fifty years ago and it is all coming back. Pickles and the drunken twins are their idea of the feminine ideal....
33. yes, I was discouraged from taking four years of high school math
IN THE EARLY 70's. I was told that THOSE CLASSES REALLY WERE FOR GUYS GETTING ENGINEERING DEGREES. I guess shit like THAT wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it Mr. Summers YOU STUPID F***ING ASSHOLE
Like her father. But back in the 1950's when she was in high school, she was told "Girls don't take math and science. That's for the boys. Boys become doctors. Women are nurses, secretaries or teachers".
So, she didn't take the math and science she would have needed to go to medical school. Not because she didn't want to, but because she wasn't ALLOWED to. She became a teacher, one of the "appropriate" careers for women, who were really just supposed to get married and have babies anyway.
suffered a similar fate in the '40's. Was told that she wasn't good at math (she wasn't) so she would never get into college, let alone medical school. What a freakin' crock - about college at least.
Another person I know who is my age (47) asked for help in math in high school because she knew she was lousy at it and was told that with a face like hers she'd be married right out of high school and wouldn't need math. Needless to say, she is now married to a jerk, has several kids, but can't leave because with a high school education she can't get a job that pays enough to support herself and kids.
I'm in the electrical/electronics program at my local community college. I'm way better at math than "the guys", which is the rest of the entire class, and if is wasn't for a certain instructor, would be able to succeed even better than that. I do have a 4.0 GPA. I'm in my last semester, straight A's all the way with lots of math involved. I know a woman who already went through the program and she has had jerks tell her outright they will not hire her because she is a woman. That's the mentality. Wanna know why women don't "succeed". It isn't something genetic, unless you count testosterone and some men being easily intimidated by a woman who "can do". Now Harvard and Yale can blow it out their, well, their mouths are about the same as what I was going to say.
there are women who strongly oppose Affirmative Action which has greatly benefitted women. I wonder about their opposition since some men would never hire minorities or women for certain positions unless forced to do so.
they fundamentally misunderstand what it's all about. They honestly (from what I can tell) think that they themselves don't need AA, and so of course no one else does.
Until half of all members of Congress are women, until half of all CEOs are women, until half of all the tenured professors at Harvard are women, well, you get my drift.
Younger women, those who entered the workforce after about 1974 (just as a rough guess) have no idea what it was like even a few years earlier. Companies could legally refuse to hire or promote women on the basis they might get pregnant. And if you did get pregnant you could be summarily fired.
The real sad thing, in my opinion, is that all the women now in the work force somehow have not served to humanize the workplace, but instead all workers have to behave as if they have a wife at home and can work endless overtime at the will of the company. It's not progress.
Of course, that was at a girls' school . . . But they really were against Affirmative Action because they didn't think it was needed anymore. Honestly. *sigh* I then tried to explain to them, having just finished college myself and had to put up with all kinds of crap, that sexism and discrimination still exist. I hope at least one of them reads this whole thread and gets a clue.
49. HARVARD IS SUED FOR ITS NEW SEX ASSAULT POLICY (2002)
By Elizabeth Mehren - WEnews correspondent
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WOMENSENEWS) --Safe Community Night is a well-established tradition each fall at Harvard. Freshmen file through a large room to learn the intricacies of registering their bikes, locking up their laptops and dealing with the annoyance of lost or stolen cell phones.
Most years, the portion of the evening devoted to "how to prevent rape" centers on advising female students not to get too drunk and to avoid wearing overly revealing clothes.
But with a controversial new sexual assault policy in place at Harvard, young women at the nation's oldest university have something else to worry about. In a surprise move, the faculty of Harvard College voted unanimously late last spring to require students bringing sexual assault charges to the school's disciplinary board to provide "sufficient corroborating evidence" of misconduct before the board will investigate.
The move by the governing body of the college (as the undergraduate portion of Harvard is referred to) reversed the school's longstanding policy of automatically looking into any charge of "peer to peer" sexual assault among undergraduates. Now, students who file sexual assault claims must supply a written statement along with "a list of witnesses and/or an account of the evidence they believe the board will be able to obtain in the course of an investigation."
Describing the new rule as a serious step backward, many students--and some faculty members--are up in arms. Posters decrying the change in protocol have popped up on campus, compliments of a student group called the Coalition against Sexual Violence. A member of that group who has not made her name public recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, asserting that the policy discriminates against sexual assault victims--usually women--by closing their avenues for grievance and by requiring corroboration that often would be impossible to obtain.
Wendy Murphy, a former sex crimes prosecutor who is a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, represents the student who filed the complaint. Murphy said she fears the regulation will make victims hesitate before proceeding with assault claims--and perhaps not go forward with them at all. Murphy also said she worried that the potential chilling effect at Harvard could spread to other campuses.
The March 2003 Lawrence Summers Memorial Award* goes to Dow Chemical.
In December 2003, Dow announced its intention to sue a group of Bhopal survivors who protested outside of Dow's Indian headquarters in Bombay with the demand that Dow take responsibility for the Bhopal disaster and clean up. Dow has acquired Union Carbide, the company which owned the pesticide factory at the time of the 1984 chemical leak that killed thousands and injured hundreds of thousands.
The Dow suit seeks $10,000 compensation for "loss of work" -- a single Dow employee briefly ventured out of the Mumbai corporate business park to meet the protesters.
"Thousands of us lost their lives, many more have not been able to do our jobs for the last 18 years and 150,000 people in Bhopal are still suffering ill health because of the Union Carbide gas tragedy in 1984," says Satyu, a Bhopal activist and one of the protesters sued by Dow. "Even today people die and children are born with gas related diseases. It is outrageous that Dow is charging us $10,000 and tries to shut us down from seeking justice from them."
Source: Greenpeace, news release, December 23, 2002.
*In a 1991 internal memorandum, then-World Bank economist Lawrence Summers argued for the transfer of waste and dirty industries from industrialized to developing countries. "Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs (lesser developed countries)?" wrote Summers, who went on to serve as Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration. "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. ... I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City." Summers later said the memo was meant to be ironic.
Blaming its change of heart on the economy, Harvard University MA has officially squelched the $12.5 million Center on Gender and Education that Jane Fonda promised to finance two years ago.
It was a great idea gone bad. Actor and activist Fonda reportedly was irked by Harvard's slow pace at filling an endowed professorship in the center; Harvard was less than thrilled at its return on about half the money Fonda had already given for the center, which would have been in the graduate school of education.
Plus there was the problem that Dr. Carol Gilligan, renowned psychologist and author of the 1982 classic In A Different Voice on how women develop differently than men, moved from Harvard to New York University. She was to be an advisor to the center and the chair was to be named after her.
After agreeing to establish the center, Harvard set up new guidelines for creating centers, now requiring both a "clear funding plan" and faculty leadership. "In the case of the ed school, there was neither," according to Harvard spokesperson Joe Wrinn.
Harvard will return most of Fonda's donation. The rest will be used to support Harvard grad school research to help teachers in three Boston public school learn how gender, race and class affect student learning, according to The Boston Globe on February 1 and The Chronicle of Higher Education on-line on February 3, 2003.
What the hell year is this anyway? People are progressive enough to have computers, but not progressive enough to see women as equals? Idiots. I hope a woman doctor gets to treat them the next time they show their asses at an emergency room.
or are we now subject ot Pavlov like our freeper friends?
take a look at what he said. (as recounted in this story: "It's possible I made some reference to innate differences," he said. He said people "would prefer to believe" that the differences in performance between the sexes are due to social factors, "but these are things that need to be studied."
Maybe the post above saying that women tend not to prefer to play the big swinging dick game of the sciences in academia are right? Maybe, just maybe, the freakish combination of genetic and environmental factors that create prodigies are more suited to creating boys than girls (I have no idea, but if it hasn't been studied, it should be, you could easily do it in the US alone mathematic and musical prodigies tend to be resilient and get attention despite the efforts of people to drown their talent) are there more boys than girls at this level? are there more girls? has anyone actually tried to find out? I mean actually studied it? Looked for the five year old who can do math in thier heads? that's a gift from god, whether or not the parents encourage a boy or a girl.
And speaking of the differences between sexes, Summers related a astory in which he tried to bring his daughter up in a gender neutral environment, by giving her dolls and trucks. She named the trucks and played with them as dolls. He was rlating a personal anecdote tp encourage more study. Frankly, I think this article about http://www.duke.edu/web/abduke/archive/Dialogue05-09-03Wood.html">Melanie Wood a math prodigy reflects some interesting things on the subject. She mentions that people encouraged her to widen her interests, beyond just mathematics. (she also notes running into sexism, of course) Since we tend to train girls with better social skills, maybe that is self selecting from the decades of drive and devotion needed for breakthroughs in science? Maybe girls don't want to lock themselves in a lab from 18-45 as often as boys do? who knows, but why not look at it? Why are we scared to study it?
There are obviously social and environmental hurdles to girls remaining as interested in science and math as boys can be. But why then, given the great progress we have made in these areas in the past 25 years (in 1995, Women eared 45% of the undergraduate degrees in Math in the US, and this has likely increased in the past decade as the population of women in undergrad institutions exceeds that of men) but only 23% of the PhDs. Why that is is an interesting question. Does it relate to internal bias against women in the math field? probably some of the old guard professors are unwilling to admit women as equals. Is there something else going on? probably as well. who knows unless it is studied? who else read this, and looked at the data before condemming Summers Or must we simply assume that external pressures keep women from careers in Math and Science, as opposed to something inside (like making different choices about priorities in life?)
"Maybe the post above saying that women tend not to prefer to play the big swinging dick game of the sciences in academia are right?"
But this isn't related to natural ability in science/math, it goes back to how men and women relate at work and elsewhere.
I can't tell you how many times I have been the only women in meetings, I've had my designs picked apart ruthlessly. Women usually try to be more diplomatic in pointing out problems, while Men usually are blunt. Of course this is a generalization!
I imagine this is no different in any male dominated field. Women have only been entering the science/math fields in force since the late 1960s/early 1970s.
I have always been against women only schools for this reason, women need to learn how to communicate/compete with men, what better way than to go to school surrounded by men? LOL When I was in college the ratio was 1 woman to 6 men.
I have always thought there should be a course offered through the sociology dept entitled 'how to work with the opposite gender'.
I have a son and a daughter, they do play differently. We've tried to be gender neutral, but there are differences.
My father, brother,sister,husband and I are engineers (my brother and sister in-laws are too). My sister, sister in-law and I do communicate differently than my brother, husband and brother in-law. We do approach problems differently, but that doesn't translate to ability. We all get the same place, even if the road is a little different.
90. I have no reason to believe that, as a general rule, women and men
havbe the same innate ability in science and math, as reflected across the population (I certainly don't, as a male, so I bring the level down a bit for my side) My thought is that perhaps the idea you cite, about processes being different, is a handicap in the fields of math and science, which require a certain orthodoxy of process.
Because that orthodoxy is set up by men, traditionally, women (generalisation) not only have to learn the science, but do so inside a foreign thought process. Unitl you get to the serious research level, it is not the end result that matters, but the ability to demonstrate the process. that same orthodoxy that allows for more stringent controls on science and engineering, doing a better job of weeding out quacks, may also punish women who are genetically, or socially, more likely to use different, not better, not worse, thought processes. This places a double burden on women to succeed, snuffing out ability before it can erupt.
I do think that we have made gfreat strides, in the past 25 years in levelling the playing field at the undergraduate level, which will, in fact, trickle up to the graduate level, I hope.
"My thought is that perhaps the idea you cite, about processes being different, is a handicap in the fields of math and science, which require a certain orthodoxy of process."
My experience first as a daughter of an engineering professor (I had a ringside seat watching the university politics behind tenure to name just one), then as a TA while I was earning my masters, is this has nothing to do with 'orthodoxy of process' but more good old fashioned "old boy network".
It is more pronounced in engineering schools because engineering schools are male dominated. Women who attend military schools (West Point, etc) share similar stories, though theirs are exponentially worse.
I've worked at defense contracting companies (ugh) and commercial companies.
The worst experiences have been at companies run by the old Navy/Army folk. I was at a meeting where the head of our division blamed the schedule slip on the fact that women were working on the project.
The best job I ever had was at a small start-up, I was the only woman,however we were all the same age (30s), there was no attitude thrown around by either gender.
The way men&women interact has nothing to do with either gender's ability to understand and do well in a particular discipline.
I will grant, the environment can impede a person's ability to excel in the workplace, be it academia or industry.
238. I've found similar circumstances in my field...
of classical music. The "old boy" network still prevails in many countries. The Vienna Philharmonic didn't hire a woman on a permanent contract until 2003. Aproximately 36% of people employed by the top American orchestras are women.
The standard arguments I've heard from both men and women :grr: are that women who want to raise families don't have the time to devote to maintaining their craft that men do. And of course, all women want to raise children, so hiring single women is pointless since they'll be useless in a few years.
Like you, I've had my ideas raked over the coals by men who were offended if I took issue with their thoughts. I've also had the pleasure of working with men who are keenly sensitive to this issue, and make a point of seeking out my opinions.
I must confess that I'm not comfortable dealing with the "old boy" types. And I'm beginning to realize that eschewing professional contact with them serves neither them nor myself. It only stands to reason that both sexes are capable of bringing different, but equally viable qualities to a performance.
I'm curious about how you've dealt with this in your field. Please relate your experience.
106. Without the actual transcript, which he refused to provide...
we can't know what exactly he said. "It's possible I made some reference to..." sounds like hedging to me. Of COURSE it should be studied.
as for his "example" of his own daughters... what kind of study is that? I hated dolls myself... and much preferred hot wheels and racetracks.
But yes... you're right... the problem with people encouraging girls to be more diversified in their pursuits does probably dillute their interests.
Just so you know, I did read the data before condemning the man... note the last paragraphs of the article:
"Here was this economist lecturing pompously (to) this room full of the country's most accomplished scholars on women's issues in science and engineering, and he kept saying things we had refuted in the first half of the day," said Denton, the outgoing dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Washington.
Summers already faced criticism because the number of senior job offers to women has dropped each year of his three-year presidency."
120. My first year in grad school one biology/medical prof
was picketed. He had examined a number of cadavers, enough for statistical conclusions to be drawn.
His conclusion was that African-Americans' leg muscles had a different percentage of the various kinds of muscle tissue than do European-Americans. In describing the widely reported properties of the muscle tissue types, he allowed the inference to be drawn that the average should be better in certain kinds of sports than the average white.
He was denounced as racist, a eugenicist, a fascist; the conclusion was there could not possibly be the difference he described, since all the races are the same. His response was to ask those protesting to repeat his study or examine his findings; I believe his report was peer-reviewed and published.
Gender-based differences? It's an empirical question, and the results shouldn't be offensive regardless of what they are (assuming people understand the results).
151. One book you might want to check--"Failing At Fairness".
I already mentioned it in a previous p ost, but anyway, it's very good, thorough research.
There's probably more good material out there; this is just the one I happen to know about.
The focus of the book is the egregious favoritism shown boys at all stages in education. Girls are ignored, insulted, rewarded for "nice girl" behaviour, but neglected or punished for creative or independent thought or for to much active participation.
71. Funny that he is questioning how great a role discrimination plays
If he or men like him were hiring science or math professors or scientists or engineers in industry, he would automatically judge a man more capable than a woman by his attitude without even trying to discriminate. That's how a lot of discrimination is happening now, men are assumed to be better at something (science and math in this case) and get hired instead of women who are equal or a little better.
Granted, I do believe women approach problem solving differently than men. HOWEVER that doesn't translate to 'natural ability'.
My father who died last month was 75 years old. He was an engineering professor. He was a HUGE proponent of women in science, he used to argue for allowing women in to the engineering/science schools back when his contemporaries were fighting it.
If he was alive to read this he would be so upset. My niece, his grand daughter is in high school and gearing up for a career in science. Bypass Harvard go straight to MIT. ;)
86. how dare you say women and men are different at all?
that is verboten. The fact that you think that women and men are different at solving problems means that you are part of the institutional sexism that you rail against.
Is it worth considering that, because I agree that different people address problems differently, and women and men are, in general, different in problem solving methods, that our society, as currentlyconstructed rewards the way men solve problems more than how women do in the science and math fields? (over generalisation, of course) Maybe our sciences are set up to punish those that solve problems differently, whether they be male or female, and it just happens that, beacuse of the patriarchal history, the departments favour those who think like they do. Women who think likemen will succeed, men who think like women will not. Given the orthodoxies of science and math that have always tended to shun those who think differently, or process information in a different way, the system is rigged against those who think otherwise.
a summation: given the reality, as you post it, that women and men solve problems in differnet way much of the time, if the process is what is rewarded in academia, and the favoured process is that which is more prevalent in men, are not women set up to fail in a system that punishes them for thinking differently? And therefore, those in charge are not, actually sexist, they are thoughtist, they can only see one legitimate way of doing things, and if women can think that way, them they are welcome in the society, but if they think another way, they will fail. The same is true for men, but it just so happens that men are wired the same way as those setting precedent, and therefore more likely to succeed.
It's worth noting that MIT has only one tenured female mathmetician.
I am not part of the institutional sexism (I understand the point you are trying to make however!). There are enough studies which show men and women use their brains differently.
It isn't sexist to acknowledge this (though some people contend it is). It would sexist if I said one was better than the other or better suited to a particular profession, which is nonsense.
I think the process ,which does favor men, has to be changed. This has nothing to do with ability in any particular discipline.
OT: MIT may not have many women professors. I never had a woman engineering prof during my college days (sadly, not MIT) , both undergrad and grad. However, I would rather my niece go to MIT than Harvard. ;^)
224. Actually people who think differently succeed in science and engineering
You may be able to get an ungrad degree and perhaps even a grad degree, depending on your specialization, by thinking the way that other scientists before you did. To really achieve something though, you have to be able to approach problems differently than others before you. There are a lot of PHDs now. There are also lots of engineers who work with products that anyone can buy in a store and make them better, sometimes using complex technology but often not. Scientists who truly succeed have to think differntly. As for me, I use multiple thought processes when approaching science and math problems. I use the text book version, which usually came easy to me. I also used a more intuitive method which was often a good way to check the math or quantitative science problem or to come up with which formula I should use if I forgot the textbook solution. Sometimes, I figured out other ways of problem solving, some of which I sometimes later found out had already been thought of by scientists and mathematicians but sometimes not. In the same way, when I prepare to write papers or do a research project sometimes I start with details but other times I start with the big picture. Then I reverse the process to have a more solid work. The best way to solve problems is using multiple thought processes. Whatever your inclination, these thought processes come easier with practice.
81. Here's a man who desperately needs to lose his job --
and NEVER work anywhere in education or academia again.
I nearly burst into tears to read the title of this thread. We're going SO backwards, so damn fast. That this is being said by someone who KNOWS that it's at the very least "politically incorrect" to speak such thoughts aloud, and he does it anyway, is -- I can't bear much more of this regressive shit much longer. I just can't. (Aand now I AM in tears.)
82. How is it that when someone in the public eye says that women are better
at multitasking, for instance, it doesn't cause the men to get bent out of shape? Does anyone doubt that there are some things in the work place that come easier for men? Lifting over sixty pounds for instance ---- sure, there are women who can do that. God bless 'em. There are more women nurses than men nurses. Why? Caring for people and doing what nurses do seems to come more naturally for women. They have built in nurturing instincts as men have protective instincts naturally in their make-up. Men are hunters and women are nesters. Yes, women can hunt and men can make a nest but just using nature as an example, most of the species work that way. Why is that so odd? Why is it women were designed to carry the babies? Why did they develop the equipment for this task? Could it be so the baby wouldn't be hurt as it might be if the male of the species goes about hunting or fighting off predators? There are exceptions to almost every thing regarding men and women except for having a baby. One day there will be someone suing someone else because men can't give birth. Can a man get a job in a topless bar? Has that been challenged yet? From the ridiculous to the sublime. Honestly, I don't want to be out there tarring roofs on a hundred degree day. I don't want to be a tree surgeon. There are women who want to do these things but for sure, men are more likely to be seen up a tree or on a roof. First thing you know there will be mandates that state so many women have to be doing certain jobs. What a farce. When I was four years old and wanted to play house and name my dolls etc. and my cousin wanted to play Tarzan or pretend he was a fireman or the Lone Ranger that was just the way it was. We used our imaginations in all of our play with the kids in the neighborhood but invaribly the boys took the boy roles and the girls, the girls. It carried on in our career choices as well. My cousin became a police officer and I became a secretary or if you'd rather, an administrative assistant. Jobs that fit. If your natural ability allows you to climb mountains, then by all means, climb. Mine doesn't. Nor do I have any desire to try to arrest people who are twice my size. It doesn't come naturally to me. Again, women should have at it, if that is their ambition.
89. Science/math is not the same as functions such as caring/multitasking
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 07:35 PM by indie_voter
A better example would be to contend men are more logical (thus suited for math and science careers) while women more emotional and better suited to liberal arts, which I don't agree with at all.
Science&Math are concepts we learn just like reading and writing.
I bet there would be an uproar if somebody suggested women make better fiction authors.
The way we approach problems (multi tasking, nuturing, etc) does not translate in to understanding or even exceling at math/science.
We don't understand how the brain works, why is it assumed that the way men approach a problem is best suited for a career in science/math?
There are differences in men and women, that is not at dispute. Where I take issue is these issues translate to a natural ability to understand and/or learn concepts such as math/science or anything else.
It is worth noting that many jobs, which are considered women's work were originally dominated by men. For example, most nurses were men until Florence Nightingale made it more acceptable for women. So unless, there is a big biological difference between nineteenth- century women and women today, it looks like society plays a larger role in determining what professions women do or do not enter than biology.
If you want to be a secretary or "administrative assistant" that is your choice. However, no one should ever look at a woman and make assumptions about what she is capable of on the basis of her sex. That is sexism and it is wrong.
142. I would say that multitasking is also socially conditioned
Perhaps women seem to do better not because they are inherently better at it but because they are expected and trained from an early age that they are supposed to work all day and then come home and still have dinner on the table for their husbands and clean up after the kids.
Some much of what you are talking about have to do with society's expectations of gender roles. I personally believe that gender roles are entirely conditioned by our upbringing.
I can easily lift 60 lbs (for the record I am a 5'1" and 130 lbs female). Of course I have been lifting weights for fitness which definitely helps. But we are not talking about physical abilities, we are talking about gender roles in math and science. They can be learned by anyone. Some people are better at them than others but it is an individual thing.
156. being paid shit, getting insulted to your face, being refused promotion,
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 09:51 PM by FizzFuzz
getting blamed for being sexually victimized, holding down a job that pays 73cents to a man's dollarAND going home and doing the house and child care chores afterwards........
.......COMES NATURALLY TO A WOMAN.
Oh by the way, cut the babies and dolls come naturally to a woman crapola. I'm a woman and I find nothing more repellant than babies -- have ever since I was a baby myself. So quit flinging stereotypes.
they have SOCIALIZED nurturing instincts, I'd say.
My boys are both very nurturing. They happily choose/chose dolls to play with. Neither was encouraged to play with guns or games that hurt other people. Both had the example of a very nurturing father and mother. Nurturing/parenting are highly valued skills in this household, and I think that will show in my children even as they grow into adulthood.
Women do have a vested interest, historically speaking, in caring for their young. But in a society that values children, both parents would have the same vested interest.
And just a note: those 65lb lifters? Try nurses for that. Do you know how many bodies those nurses must lift in a day? At usually plenty more than 65 lbs., too.
243. Newsflash: Men Taking Over Nursing Profession
>>There are more women nurses than men nurses. Why? Caring for people and doing what nurses do seems to come more naturally for women. They have built in nurturing instincts as men have protective instincts naturally in their make-up.<<
I believe women are currently more numerous than men in most levels/certifications/specialties of the nursing profession. However, in a number of certifications/specialties, men are rapidly overhauling them, and in the profession as a whole the percentage of men is steadily increasing.
My spouse oversees five health care programs/facilities and the majority of the nurses they employ are male. Furthermore, as the nursing shortage becomes more acute, a good many hospitals are turning to the overseas market and "importing" nurses from other countries, the majority of them male. In a number of developing and newly-industrialized nations, nursing is still considered a male profession, as it requires levels of education and (ahem) scientific skills that women are presumed not to have.
The health care facility my HMO grudgingly permits me to patronize also employs a good many male nurses. One of the most popular nurses on the staff is male. He is extremely nurturing, with a relaxing manner and superb social skills, setting even difficult and anxious patients at ease. (Oh, and --by the way-- before someone makes the assumption, no, he's not gay. He's married and has a family, whose pictures he proudly shows off once he gets to know you.)
It's pretty well-established by now, and I have no quarrel with the data, that many women tend to solve problems in certain ways; and many men tend to solve them in other ways. Both men and women, however, can solve problems, even the same problems, reaching accurate and/or useful and/or productive solutions using their differing methodologies.
Any yes, physiologically, many women tend to find some types of activity easier and/or more congenial, and many men tend to find other types of activities easier and/or more congenial. However, there is a sufficient range of aptitudes among both genders to make it dangerous to formulate absolute standards or even to generalize to liberally. And it would be well to remember that the relative values of gender-linked activities and accomplishments are social constructs, not absolutes.
Please let's not confuse empirical data and well-documented research with the artifacts of social and cultural patterns. Because many men tend to use linear thinking patterns more often than nonlinear patterns doesn't mean that all men are incapable of, or even less competent at, using nonlinear patterns for situational analysis and problem-solving. Because many women tend to use nonlinear patterns more often than linear patterns, doesn't mean that women "lack aptitude" for linear patterns.
In fact, let's not confuse empirical data that can be accurately measured and reliably linked to specific causation, with research that documents the existence of phenomena without being able to establish causation. An example of the former would be hormones present in greater quantities in men or women, and the effects of those specific hormones on things like orthopedic development in puberty. An example of the latter would be the prevalence of linear and non-linear cognition patterns appearing at higher rates in males and females.
We know comparatively little about the brain and its physiology, and how brain physiology interacts with environmental and social stimuli during human development. The quality of "plasticity" --the ability of the brain to adapt and re-pattern itself-- is strongest in childhood and diminishes with age. All we know is that both physiological and environmental stimuli affect how the brain develops. And as long as we treat girls differently than boys (a demonstrated and prevalent human behavior pattern,) during the time when the human brain is at its most plastic, it will be impossible to establish physiological causation for almost any brain function.
We are still less than halfway through the process of providing women with full social, economic, and political equality, even in the most developed nations. The best we can say is that some of us, individually and in our social groups, do a better job of trying than others. The process (like any good developmental process) involves experimentation, and it is necessary for us to make errors, go down blind alleys, overcorrect, etc. Some of our most valuable lessons and developments come from our mistakes.
I'm deeply grateful for some of the progress women have made since my childhood (yes, my high school class was the first to permit girls to take shop and boys to take home economics.) I'm dubious about the long-term value of other progress. I'm frustrated and disappointed in our lack of progress (and even regression) in some areas. On the other hand, there have been some unexpected successes and quantum leaps, too. I honestly don't know if we'll ever reach a point where we can say women have achieved full social, political, economic and cultural parity with men. But until we do, we will never know what differences are inherent and what differences are forced upon us by a cultural matrix formed on the basis of inequality.
But to declare a lack of ability to be the reason why some women are not equally represented in various fields is a little premature to say the least. There are too many other factors that seem equally likely as causes that could produce the same results with ability being equal.
And, the Japanese students, parents, and teachers he knew had the opposite opinion than Americans: girls do much better in math and science than boys, and boys are better at in verbal and literature studies. All their experience and studies show this. I don't think the Japanese brain is different than the American brain, so all of this "men and women use their brains different" reasoning is bull. I'm not saying we don't sue our brains differently, I'm just saying this doesn't mean women don't do as well as men in math and science.
I was talking to my mom about this today, and she told me this: she graduated High School in 1964, and she took college prep Physics her Senior year. She did VERY badly in it, even though she had excelled at Calculus, Chemistry, etc. Why? Because the teacher explained physics terms, etc., using car motors as examples. All of the boys had had shop for several years, but not the girls. Thus, the girls did badly. She said the principal used this as "proof" girls at that school shouldn't take Physics.... and girls didn't for several years, until a parent threatened to sue.
She would have loved to have taken shop instead of Home Ec -- she was the oldest of four, and my grandfather was in the Navy and away alot, and my grandmother worked, so she cleaned, cooked, sewed, changed diapers, shopped, etc. She said she didn't need to learn any of that!
I graduated in 1982, and would have loved to have taken shop... girls STILL weren't "allowed" -- unwritten rule. The shop teacher would embarrass them and tell dirty jokes and call them "dyke"... this was the same high school, btw...
242. If This Isn't Reason Enough to Keep Pushing On
I was in 8th grade in 1977, by then girls were allowed to take shop class. And thank God for it. It was a horrible time in my life and I excelled at shop. The shop instructor was impressed, I finished all the required projects and went on to make five optional ones! I still have the bookshelf and curio shelf that I made almost 30 years ago! Shop was the ONLY thing that got me through that time in my life. Home Ec just didn't offer me the same satisfaction, of crafting something beautiful with my own hands. I shudder to think of what I would have done without that opportunity.
The situation for girls' athletics wasn't so good back then, however. I am so pleased to see girls' sports progressing. After Junior High, any girl who remained in sports was considered a "dyke." For whatever social-pressured reasons, I stopped playing. And I had excelled volleyball, basketball, and soccer. Not to be conceited. Go Figure.
This man didn't have right instructor when he took CHE101.
In our CHM class, we studied unified ideal gas law (PV=nRT), but didn't learn any other "laws" under this topic because the ideal gas law made all other little discovery redundant, and the scientists who did the discovering of little laws are "sexist a**holes" (this is exact quote of our instructor's word).
Our instructor actively encourage female to speak in our classes, and picks male student to answer only if there is no other female student with her hands up, or he is actively being a * and ignoring her lecture.
It might have had a slight effect on this crown's opinion about women if he was taught science by our instructor whom I am so proud of and everyone is so in love with.
109. actually, there are differences in men's and women's brains
and how they process information. Generally speaking, and there are always exceptions, men process spatial information better (hunter instincts) and women process communications (family raising) better. It has a lot to do with testosterone production in the body. There was a TV program I saw a few years back called "Brain Sex" that outlined the results of studies undertaken over many many years. In fact a woman's brain in its resting state processes more information than a man's in its active state! For this guy, however, to suggest that any difference is caused by social influence rather than biological is a bit much. Pox on him!!
130. To which I'd add that the differences aren't individual-level;
it's a question of where the averages lie, and how probable rank order matches up with ability.
It's possible for women overall to not manipulate geometrical shapes "in their head" as well as men do, but that says nothing about how any individual man and woman compare, nor does it rule out the top 10 people in a field that involves heavy mental minipulation of figures being women.
123. my point is, that we not sink to the level of generalizing and insulting
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 08:39 PM by superconnected
I believe women are descriminated against far more than anyone else in this country, and that it's the most accepted form of discrimination.
I've been told to my face, many many times, from men, that they believe women should not be in law enforcement, the army, fire fighters etc. and that they cannot do these kind of jobs as well as men. Would they tell a black man that?
I am of the opnion that many men do not like large women because they are not pleasing to *them* the male, as their preference to look at, sleep with etc., as if women have to look pleasing to men.
I could go on and write a book here.
My point is, if we sink to their level, here, like in the offices many of us work in, we will have no stool to stand on, when pointing it out.
252. I realize that... especially given the fact that you are a man...
she was pointing out your post as an example of man-bashing, and I simply pointed out that it was written by a man, ergo, not men-bashing... she was implying that this thread is full of male-bashing, which I find hilarious... especially since she pointed to your post as an example (having apparently assumed you were a woman insulting men)... I loved your post.
and, btw... only one poster, that one, "read you the riot act" ... seems to me everyone else was supportive.
If he had said that "(fill in ethnic group here) can't do math or science" he would already have been asked to resign. But because it is still (somewhat) okay to belittle women, he won't be (at least that is what I predict).
163. Unfortunately for the arguments of many here...
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 10:29 PM by Spider Jerusalem
there ARE, in fact, innate neurological and cognitive differences between the sexes, ON AVERAGE. However, thwe "average" does not speak to the individual. Studies have shown that males tend to be more detail- and process-oriented, while women tend to favour a more holistic and results-oriented approach (note: "tend to", not "are"). To acknowledge that this may to some extent affect choice of academic discipline does not seem necessarily sexist, although the phrasing used is unfortunate...("lacking in natural abilities"? Ouch).
174. This comment by a president from this school is so pathetic.
It shows the ERA should have been passed years ago. It shows the incredible persistence of sexism in this society by even the very educated. It shows he has his head up his rear end and he should be bounced out of his job on that same dumb rear end.
It is demoralizing in that no matter how many degrees we get and how many millions of times we prove ourselves, we still are being looked at as not as good as men.
180. yes, and we are the one group that it's still "OK" to demean.
If Any other group had been targeted like this, the ESS-AYCH-doo-doo would be all over the fan.
Comments like this are publicly considered, at worst, ill-chosen, and we ladies who protest are told to untwist our panties. If a groundswell of MEN protested, the problem might be taken more seriously.
This sexism crap is everywhere--try and point it out and you're a shrill prude, a woman who should do as gawd intended and go focus your life on catering to men and breeding. :puke:
184. Hi there! Of course you are completely right and it is one
of those things that if you said this about an ethnic, racial or other group, you wouldn't get away with it. Say it about women and it will be twisted back to the women ...why are we getting ourselves in a tizzy? Now, now, honey, settle down. Can you imagine saying this to a Black person?
I was the victim of a horrible sexist pig at work who screwed up my career...he was a very powerful person. I filed an EEOC complaint for sex harassment and sex discrimination. This guy and company fought me every step of the way rather than treat me as a human being and equal to the men, even though they knew what the guy was doing. Gotta show women their place. This EEOC thing has followed me everywhere, like being a whistleblower. Sexism does hurt. It is everywhere. The glass ceiling is totally intact.
Today a woman was telling me about her sister and the sister's MD was telling her to get a hysterectomy as she was done having children and the uterus could develop cancer. Duh. SO when he was he having his "stuff" removed as he also was done having children and his organs could get cancer? It happens everywhere, it is so ingrained, it is so universal in our society, it is below and above the surface in all assumptions, "thinking" patterns, etc. Even so-called non-sexist men will use the phrase "girl" for a 50 year old woman in the workplace as in "have your girl set up a lunch" and they don't see it as being sexist. Can you imagine if a black person were called "boy" in the workplace. And when you tell the perpetrators about this, they give a nagging look to you, like you are a pain in their asses, like you are attacking thier intelligence. Will they change?
Shirley Chisholm or one of the 60s radical women liberationists said something about discrimination against women not ever ending when you're sleeping with the aggressors every day or living with them or providing children to them. I have all the books (including the first MS Mag) but damned if I can remember the exact quote or the context.
225. The bit where men call grown women "girls" drives me absolutely apeshit.
They never refer to men as "boys".
Or using the word "ladies" and never the word "women", while not referring to men as "gentleman" (which would be the parallel term to "ladies"). Calls up all those archaic notions as to what constitutes "ladylike" behavior. BLECCCCHHH!
256. being a child of the '80s, what I do doesn't matter, but
I use the companion terms for men as well. I wouldn't in a business setting, but I do in my more friendly interactions. No reason to use one and not the other, I say, and besides, it's more esthetically pleasing to use matched sets of terms.
*Oh, and I was a French and business major, but started out in chemistry. I left because they took all the joy of discovery out of the process and maed it all about pushing buttons and reading printouts. Boo!
257. yes, I absolutely agree. Sexism is so pernicious.
And the link with sexuality and titillation doesn't help clarify things.
"It happens everywhere, it is so ingrained, it is so universal in our society, it is below and above the surface in all assumptions, "thinking" patterns, etc."--it is defended in ways that other isms are not. Sexists love their sexism and don't want to give it up.
Interestingly, ageism and looksism are inextricably tied to sexim as well, at least it seems so from my observations. The media illustrate this well; old, plain or homely looking men are celebrated. Old or homely or even average looking women DON'T EXIST! (Except as contestants on "The Swan" Programming for women is so insulting I can't even find words to convey what I think)
Sure are alot of interesting threads on sexism and Paternalism lately.
182. Harvard... Isn't that the diploma mill that gave GW Bush an MBA? You know
You know what the first thing GW Bush did when he returned to Midland with his Harvard MBA to try to start his own oil company? He enrolled in a junior college course on how to start your own business. He had to drop out of it, too.
I'm having a lot of trouble taking that school seriously anymore. Bush couldn't even get into U Texas law school because his grades were too bad, but Harvard let him in with a low C average, and with his highest grade in college being an 88, in history (a course where research papers make up a lot of your grade and can be written by other people).
Now the head of the university is buying into half-baked theories that sound like the same 19th century "science" that justified slavery and the superiority of the white Germanic male.
Hmmm, Bob Jones U, or Harvard. Now Republicans have two choices.
He doesn't know what ugliness he's stepping in. There is a long history of people using a perceived "disability" to justify treating people poorly. For example, homosexuality was a diagnosis for a very long time. Women have been categorized as "more emotional." There was an argument that our brains were smaller, etc. Blacks and immigrants were categorized as having a natural tendency towards "feeblemindedness." This is just another example. I hope somone points it out. I think there is a better way to frame this. Yes "frames" again. I have done some reading by Helen Fisher, who is an Anthropologist. She suggests that there are real biological sex differences. These differences, however are complementary. They exist so that we are more successful in cooperation and have a better chance of survival. Thus, each sex has talents that allow us to contribute to our survival. The beauty of the ease of our survival is that we can experiment with developing strengths beyond our "natural talents." Since we are flexible we are quite capable of doing so. One advantage women have is that they are well connected neurologically, allowing for a great deal of mental flexibility. Men can use one side of their brain without interference. I like that viewpoint, because values both sexes and considers both equally capable. It hopefully makes it okay to be a feminist again for some women.
When I was at college in Electrical Engineering, I was in the National Honor Society for EE's. About 40% of the people in there were women, even though women were about 20% of the engineering population. Also we went though the drive though at a fast food restaurant and she wanted the fire truck toy instead of the doll toy. My son was the one when he was little that wanted a doll to take care of. He has grown up fine and just loves children. My daughter is indifferent to babies. If his daughter wanted a doll, it may not had to do with her being a female. He is an idiot and does not seem very scientific minded. If he was he would know that to come up with a conclusion based on only one variable is not smart.
Any university that would not only admit but give Dumbya an advanced degree is not necessarily the authority on "natural ability" as far as I'm concerned. No offense to anyone who attended Harvard on their own merits, of course, but clearly something is horribly awry in the system if a guy like Summers has made it to the level of president and a guy like Dumbya was allowed in the door.
200. **UPDATE - Harvard President Says Comments About Women Misconstrued
Harvard President Says Comments About Women Misconstrued
POSTED: 10:58 am EST January 18, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard University's president said remarks he made about women at a recent conference were misconstrued and he's "deeply committed" to seeing women advance in the field of science.
snip... Summers was criticized Monday for allegedly saying that women lack the "natural ability" to do as well as men in science and engineering. People who attended a conference with Lawrence Summers last week said he also questioned how great a role discrimination plays in keeping female scientists and engineers from advancing.
At one point, Summers was trying to explain why so few women have high-level positions in science and engineering. Some people who attended the conference said Summers said women do not have the same "innate ability" or "natural ability" as men in some fields.
Summers told the Globe that he may have made a reference to "innate differences" but he was trying to make that point that one must be careful in attributing things to socialization.
202. The scientific lab I work in where most of us have BS degrees
in some life science there are 6 women and 2 men. The lab next door has 4 women and 1 man. If we're so unable in science how come it's not all men? Were all of our degrees bought or awarded improperly? I don't think any of us have rich dads to get us an unearned degree from his alma mater. Oh, and my sister has a masters degree in electrical engineerng.
the Yale Precision Marching Band is gonna have some fun with this at the Harvard game next year, believe you me.
They could work it into the E-L-I: "Clearly Summers' remarks demonstrate Extremely Low Intelligence, or E-L-I!", or just go whole hog and do a piece about how research indicates that Harvard professors lack the "natural ability" to walk and chew gum at the same time.
Factoid: Our very own Plaid Adder is, it turns out, a YPMB alumna. Maybe she can help...
215. anyone who is defending him PLEASE read this!
I posted this in another thread, so apologize for not rewording. The language used, "innate/biological differences" is verbatim from 19th C evolutionists such as Spencer, Tylor, LH Morgan, whose work was used to justify British colonial "escapades" of exploitation. Now it's being "fashionably" resurrected to justify/explain the gender gap in academia. Before you spew out some naive uninformed defense of this piece of intellectually devolved swine, read those authors I mentioned. You will see that the language is not randomly chosen, but reflects a centuries-old meme that is conveniently trotted out to debase blacks, women, native americans, WHOEVER is the target of the times, which ever group is getting too uppity for its own good and threatening the hegemony of rich white men. I IMPLORE you! Educate yourself! /rant off/
...they're 'kept down' when they're there, disregarded, disrespected, left out, given shit assignments, their ideas stolen and credit given to a male in the department, denied training and other opportunities, first laid off, last hired back. Not that they're incompetent - many I know are brilliant! But, they don't have a penis to keep their brain in and therein lies the problem. It's a pervasive attitude and pr*cks like Mr. Harvard President are not helping any....someone needs to slam that man's d*ck in a really, really heavy door. Might wake him up or at least get him to pay attention, bruise that tiny brain cell of his.
Oh. And George Bu$$$h could use the same shock treatment as well.
Women need to make a damned living, they're at least as competent as men (which is why men are threatened enough by them to try to keep them out) and they don't deserve this shitty treatment in the male-dominated (insert your favourite math or science or technology related field here) field.
is what in hell REASON did he have for making these statements in such a public forum? What possible outcome was he attempting to bring about? It's one thing to say there's differences between men and women - well duh, I figured that out the first time I took a bath with my brothers when I was a baby. It's quite another to then postulate that one gender is automatically lacking in natural abilities. It's nonsense.
Universities shouldn't be making any determinations based on gender any more than they should on eye color. It's totally irrelevant. Determinations should be made on the basis of INDIVIDUALS. And individuals vary. I'm a female who's non-nurturing, no good at social shit, very good at analytical thinking, has been working in a very senior high-tech position for more than two decades, and who swiped Hot Wheels and performed operations on all my dolls.
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