Title IX in Science and Engineering

Your university’s science and engineering programs might be “Titled nined” if Those That Care have their way.

Title IX, or the “Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act”, is one of those government programs that sounds like a good idea to busybodies: mandate diversity in college sports so that just as many females as males play.

It turns out, in our horrible past, some universities that received federal funding had more males engaged in sports than females. This led to ill feelings on the part of some females who wanted to join intermural competition but found that football was closed to them.

So was born the enlightened legislation Title IX, which more or less says that athletic opportunities by sex must be substantially proportionate to the student enrollment.

All evidence of Title IX “discrimination”, or disproportionality, is statistical. Count up the enrolled males and females, take that ratio, which must equal the ratio of male to female athletes. If these ratios don’t match, the university is guilty of discrimination, and a lawyer somewhere smiles.

Let’s be clear. If disproportionality exists (in favor of males of course), there are two ways to fix it.

  1. Increase the number of females engaged in athletics
  2. Decrease the number of males engaged in athletics

Large, wealthy schools, with fairness in mind, have a go at (1) first. But after a while they, and at a start the smaller schools, opt for (2), because it’s cheaper and easy. (Cut the men’s table tennis funding, for example.) Well, losing a program or two is OK, because universities probably spend too much on athletics anyway.

Now it’s obvious to everybody that more males than females opt for science and engineering degrees—for whatever reason. But it will not be easy to attain proportionality in these fields as it was in sports.

For sports, a college could create a new program, say volleyball for females, where none existed before, thus boosting the number of females in line with option (1).

But this ploy can’t be done in science and engineering because there is no way to create a new chemistry. Unless, for example—and I hesitate to prophecy—“feminist chemistry” is defined to be “science”. (Postmodernist humanities programs had a go at these kinds of redefinitions, but their investigations appear to be on the wane.)

You can’t force matriculating females to select science and engineering as a major. But you can limit the enrollment of males.

Most universities probably—but only probably—won’t be as daring as to say “No more males in mathematics!” But they will be able to, for example, cut the meteorology program, or limit enrollment of males in electrical engineering.

I’d prefer that, if forced to by law, universities opt for method (1) and redefine science and engineering. Call English “the systematic and scientific study of literature.” Such a move would probably not only balance the proportion of males to females in “science”, but even boost it in females’ favor.

Who cares what is called “science”? It’s just a label, and often a misleading one. You often read “the science shows this” and “the science shows that.” “Science” doesn’t show anything, and can’t. A physicist might create a useful, predictive model, or a mathematician might prove a theorem, or a biologist might show what happens when organism A meets chemical B.

But those are just facts of a similar nature gathered under a description. Odd thing is that the description gets the credit, “science” is what is said to cause the results. Far better to let the facts and the people that discovered them get the credit.

So call the study of how to shelve and catalog books “science” and Those That Care can go on to care about something else.


  1. SteveBrooklineMA

    Spot on. Schools need to start thinking of social science as science. Whenever a report on the science departments is made, include social science. Put social science programs in the same buildings as hard science. Blur the lines. Social science departments will like this, and get behind the effort. Express public disappointment with beaurocrats when they do not include social science with their reports. “How dare they not count Urbanology as science! Do they think it’s not science because it’s not dominated by men?”

  2. Aaron Matthews

    It’s a great thought, but unfortunately that would assume the universities are willing to make that change. If you look at how many times they just roll over for the Feminists pushing Title IX, I don’t see it happening. The only area of schools that defend boys is the athletic department, and they don’t defend boys as much as they defend the money brought in by football. Pretty much any non-rev male sport is an endangered species.

    What needs to be done is some one in congress needs to have the back bone to stand up and mandate schools apply Title IX evenly. If they’re going to use the quota rules for sports, then they should for fine arts, service, or other categories of extracurriculars and possibly general education as well. If they’re going to apply it to the hard sciences, then apply it to the social sciences as well.

    The amazing thing to me is that so many people fret over the gender gap in engineering but say nothing about the gender gap in elementary education. If anything, no one cares if a bridge is designed by a male or female CE, but students preform better with a varied teaching staff. Even more so, the boys do even better with male teachers and it’s the boys that are falling behind because of elementary school favoritism.

    But all of this would mean the women would have to accept equal rights and responsibilities – and the Feminists just won’t let that happen

  3. Joe Triscari

    If Title IX in the sciences comes, I don’t think the redefinition approach will work. The goal for people who want to implement Title IX in science and engineering education is a change. Status quo or – God forbid – results that favor men would be unacceptable and regarded as further evidence of sexism.

    Looking at the glass half-full (for me anyway), anything they do would increase the value of technical degrees obtained before Title IX since this kind of results based mucking will necessarily reduce the quality of science and engineering education.

    PS: I have a personal pet peeve about people who start sentences with,”Science says, …” or “Science tells us…” A person who starts sentences that way owes their third grade science teacher an apology.

  4. Larry T

    Title IX has reduced number of degrees for men into 55-45% disadvantage in 4 year schools, and 80-20% in 2 year schools.
    Males who do not graduate college are more likely to be involved in criminal or drug activities.
    To balance the scales we need to reduce number of women in college and move them into the sex industry.

  5. Ron C

    “So call the study of how to shelve and catalog books “science” and Those That Care can go on to care about something else.”

    It already is – Library Science. See, for example, http://www.lis.uiuc.edu/

    Also a heuristic that comes in handy is that “Anything named Science probably isn’t.”

  6. John

    Kinda hard to Title IX a class that is completely voluntary to enroll, and has no entry criteria other than prereq classes. If there are no female students desiring to take the class, it is what it is. It’s not like females are being denied access to BCHM551; I’m positive all 3 of them who enrolled were allowed to participate.

    Are you just predicting the future, or is there precident of this? I’ve not heard anything about this with any of the universities which I collaborate.

  7. Briggs


    Nope, just a forecast of a sort.

    What I think is more likely is that legislation of this type won’t pass, but that universities will be encouraged—or forced by social pressure, and perhaps by denial of federal funds—to institute programs that enroll increasing quantities of females in physics, math, etc. This is no bad thing, but if the universities are traditionally zealous they will push too hard and enroll too many females who would not have naturally chosen these fields. Which will lead to an increase in the rate of female drop outs, or changes in majors.

    Which will look worse for the university, so they will press harder to encourage more females, and…you get the idea.

  8. Doug M

    Don’t let the social scientists think they are hard scientists. Economists have convinced the world that they are practicing hard science and not social science. Equations don’t make it science. Similarly, “financial engineers” are not engineers. The illusion of science is largely responsible for the financial meltdown of the last 18 months.

    On the subject of Title IX:

    No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, except that: …

    There is nothing wrong with it on the face of it. I suppose, like many pieces of law, the problem lies in its execution. It never mentions athletics in the whole thing. I can see why a female athlete would get upset when their school repeatedly upgrades facilities for boy’s sports while the facilities for the girls decay. But, proportional representation is BS. However, since football seems to be the big sport that boys play and girls don’t play, we could start a national push for big-time girls ‘powder-puff’ flag football. Get ESPN on board, and be on the ground floor of the next sports-entertainment phenomenon. My alternate solution would be to make participation in sports mandatory for all students, with a possible exemption for scientists and engineers.

    In regards to science and engineering participation since Title IX, the big change that I have seen is in the enrolment ratios at engineering schools. Engineering schools have gone from 90% male enrollment to something approaching 50%. I am sure that qualified male applicants were rejected from MIT and CalTech in a sacrifice to the gods of diversity. But, they instead went to Boston University or UCLA, where they still received a fine education. While not necessarily fair, the nation still produced the technical people we needed.

  9. Aaron Matthews


    You have to be careful about Title IX.
    First, there are 2 clauses that were written into the law that do make it more troubling. First, it exempts pageants of any sort. For some reason they deem it desirable to protect the ‘integrity’ of pageants, but men’s wrestling is different. Maybe they thought it was always the pretty girls that are discriminated against. Next, there is a clause that schools are free to discriminate to make up for historical practices. So even though my son and my daughter share the same historical benefits, namely me and my wife, the schools are free to give my daughter more opportunities (or limit my sons) in math and science and free to give my son more opportunities (or limit my daughters) in English. Now, most schools press for equality in the sciences, they do little if anything about the gender gap in English

    Second, you have to remember where the males are pushed from MIT and Cal Tech to BU or UCLA, but the men under them were pushed .. out

    They are replaced by many girls that have grown up on a ‘flowery’ science path that leave the engineering profession within 5 years so in fact,… we are losing the technical people we need.

    Oh, and by the way, some states are offering girls’ flag football in high schools and crew in colleges to offset the numbers of football. Ohio State University was so desperate for girls to row, they were offering full scholarships just to show up with no previous athletic experience needed. Remember, if the girls don’t show up, they punish the boys by taking their sports away. If boys don’t show up for dance or choir.. nothing happens

  10. Briggs

    Aaron: pageants? Really? Hilarious.

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