A crusade by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) to use Title IX to try to ensure that more women become plumbers or mechanics is misguided (not to mention sort of silly).

The NWLC filed a petition, charging that discrimination keeps women from entering male-dominated fields, with the Department of Education’s (DOE) Office for Civil Rights.

The NWLC petition charged that there are fewer women in traditionally male lines of work because of discrimination in vocational-technical schools (voc-tech), creating a so-called violation of Title IX.

With that in mind, we offer the following food for thought. It is an excerpt from The Women’s Quarterly‘s Autumn issue.

Marie’s Diary


Dear Diary — COOL! I’m starting Eugene V. Debs Vocational School and I’m going to meet with my career counselor tomorrow! Wonder who Eugene V. Debs is. Who cares? I am finally going to really learn how to do all my favorite things: HAIR! MAKEUP! NAILS! I am going to learn COSMETOLOGY! Like this is so perfect for me. Haven’t I been playing with makeup since I was five? Don’t I do all my friends’ hair? Can you believe how absolutely fabulous I made the bridesmaids look for Cousin Rita’s wedding? No more just hanging out at Aunt Rose’s Beau Monde Salon-that means Beautiful World-I’m gonna get good enough to work there! And it all starts tomorrow!


Dear Diary — No way! Like I went to see Miss Eagleton in the career office and everybody says she’s cool but you won’t believe what happened. OK, I sat down and she says Well, Marie, have you decided on a career? And I say, Yes, Ma’am. I want to learn cosmetology so I can work at my Aunt Rose’s shop and some day I want to be a great hairdresser and makeup artist and make rich and famous people beautiful. Like when they go to the Academy Awards! But Miss Eagleton only said well let’s just look at some of the other offerings here at Eugene V. Debs (whoever). Here is Auto Body for example and there’s also Electrical Construction and Engineering. I said like how’s that gonna help me for the Academy Awards? Marie she said, the law says that we must not discriminate on the basis of sex and young women must not be stereotyped (whatever). I asked her what do you mean? Well, she said, the Coalition to Eliminate all Traditions and Inequalities Between the Sexes found that sex segregation persists in high school vocational programs around the country and we at Eugene V. Debs (mystery man) don’t want to be sued for noncompliance (whatever). So Marie, I’d like you to read these course descriptions of the other career paths offered in the Trade and Industrial. Yes Ma’am I said.