An NCAA for the Sciences

| 10/23/2007 9:28:18 PM

Lawmakers and scientists met in Washington on Wednesday to discuss how to bring more women into science, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports (subscription required). Women are woefully underrepresented in so-called STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and some people have suggested that setting up an NCAA-style governing body for collegiate academics could help level the playing field.

Less than 5 percent of full professors in physics are female, according to Myron Campbell, chair of the physics department at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. And that could be considered a violation of Title IX, the 1972 law that sought to ensure equal distribution of federal academic funds for both men and women. While most people think of Title IX as a mandate to give more money to women’s soccer and field hockey teams, the law applies to educational programs, too.

“The original intent of Title IX was to ensure equal educational opportunity for both sexes,” said Gretchen Ritter, director of the Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, quoted in Inside Higher Ed. “Yet, relatively little has been done outside of the arena of athletics to make that mandate meaningful.” –Bennett Gordon

(Thanks to Science Progress for the tip.)


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