As the House of Representatives approaches a vote on the America Competes Reathorization Act, our long-time friend Christina Sommers takes note of an obscure section tucked deeply within the bill which could have major consequences for academic searches in the sciences or engineering. On the face of it, the act seems like a good thing, intended to maintain an American competitive advantage in the burgeoning global economy. But take a look, Sommers tells us, at that unheralded little section the, "Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Science and Engineering Amendment." If that provision becomes law as seems likely, Sommers argues, we can expect to see an explosion of "gender bias" and "gender equity" workshops intended to redress the "underutilization" of women in aeronautics, physics and mathematics, under the aggressive leadership, no less, of the White House Office of Science and Technology. "Gender Equity" in the sciences, of course, has long been chief among the perpetual discontents of academic feminists, a remaining citadel of entrenched sexism and male domination. Now, it seems, they are about to add substantial federal clout to their arsenal.
- May 28, 2010