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Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]
C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific
Research Institute [go
to Pipes index]
Strife at Harvard
[Sally C. Pipes] 2/8/05
that venerated institution of higher education, now offers
a post-grad course in feminist hostility. Consider the
reaction to recent remarks by president Lawrence H. Summers.
January 14, at a session on the progress of women in academia,
by the National Bureau of Economic Research
(NBER) in Cambridge, MA, president Summers said that the shortage
of elite female scientists might be due to "innate differences" between
men and women.
As most people realize, there are indeed many innate differences
between men and women. Therefore, this is a legitimate point
of inquiry. Summers alluded to research showing that while median
scores of both sexes are the same, girls are less likely than
boys to score top marks in standardized math and science tests.
He said he did not know the reason for this but offered a number
of hypotheses, including the innate differences concept.
professor Claudia Goldin told reporters she was elated at Summers's
ideas and "proud that the president
of my university retains the inquisitiveness of an academic." But
professor Goldin’s remarks were drowned out by shouts from
the feminist benches.
professor Nancy Hopkins, a Harvard grad, said, "I
felt I was going to be sick" and stormed out in a huff.
Others found it offensive that the president of Harvard would
suggest that women's propensity to have children and devote time
to them, an observable phenomenon, had anything to do with it.
The feminist critics, of course, assume that if there are fewer
women than men in any field it means women are "underrepresented." This
proceeds from the idea that, in jargon that George Orwell would
have loved, women and men are "not undifferentiated." They
are the same, in other words.
The dogma also includes the notion that, in every endeavor,
job, school, and government department, men and women, along
with ethnic groups, must be represented in equal numbers. Just
where this assumption of political correctness is actually codified
has yet to be established. If women are not so represented, according
to the theory, the cause must be discrimination. Of course, this
must be remedied by government action.
The discrimination charge was led by Denice D. Denton, chancellor-designate
of the University of California at Santa Cruz, every bit as politically
correct as Berkeley. She pointed out that four of the 10 UC campuses
were run by women who are all at the top of their profession.
So maybe there is not, after all, rampant gender discrimination
knows with this crowd. The Harvard president found out the
hard way that
the "diversity" he is supposed
to promote does not include statements, or people, at odds with
prevailing campus orthodoxy.
Summers wound up apologizing to a group of angry feminist professors.
This is a group seldom, if ever, called
to account, much less apologize, for their own gender dogmas.
Press reports even hinted that Summers might be fired. That threat
underscored a remark by David Goldston of the House Science Committee,
who was present for Summers's January 14 speech. He told reporters
that "there ought to be some place in America where you
can have a thoughtful, non-ideological private discussion."
should be such a place. And sadly, academia doesn’t
seem to be it. tRO
2005 Pacific Research Institute