Over at City Journal, Heather MacDonald says don’t blame TV shows for the lack of women in science! It’s an entertaining read — check it out here.
On a serious note, MacDonald is correct that women’s groups are clamoring for action on the science issue — namely they want to use Title IX to boost the number of female science students and teachers — and that is a scary thing. IWF has been very vocal on this issue — see our research here and here. There are a variety of factors that affect one’s decision to pick a particular field of study or career. The push to use Title IX to intervene in science education and careers assumes that discrimination is the key factor. The data on the subject simply doesn’t support that premise. Further, even if there was a massive problem, Title IX wouldn’t be of much help in the situation. One needs simply look at it’s application in the athletic arena to see the myriad problems with its enforcement. For every good thing the law does for women, it seems to harm another constituency. Why would we want to expand a fundamentally flawed system? And if some action is required or desired, is the government really an appropriate actor? The private marketplace has already stepped up en mass — in the form of female-only science scholarships and programs, companies actively recruiting female scientists, etc.
To recap: it’s not clear that there is a problem, even if there is Title IX would be an ineffective way to solve it, and government action is not appropriate and/or needed because the marketplace is already busy at work.