Minggu, 27 Oktober 2013

Gender issues at West Point and beyond

Gender barriers have fallen (or are falling) in many areas of US society. But nationwide gender equity nirvana remains elusive. Physics and engineering appear to be areas in which progress is slow compared to other academic fields. And evidence shows that "scientists prefer gentlemen."

So does West Point. The Army academy admits men over women by a 6 to 1 ratio. Some insiders worry that this is intentional.

"I spoke to a number of faculty members who said that there's an explicit class composition goal at West Point that actually functions as a ceiling, and that women haven't risen above 16 percent because the academy only wants 16 percent."

Read and/or listen to the report here: West Point Women: A Natural Pattern Or A Camouflage Ceiling?

By dragging its heels on gender-blindness in admissions, West Point is placing the Army at a disadvantage in terms of attracting and preparing the best military leadership America has to offer.

There is a proud West Point graduate at my school. He authors a blog called Right on the Left Coast, and he is not bashful about expressing his opinions. Whether or not he, as a West Point grad, harbors any gender bias is not for me to say. To the best of my knowledge, he teaches his subject well and is well-regarded by students.

When a West Point classmate went public with her account of sexual harassment and rape at the academy, he quickly called her story into question.

When an obscure academic attempted to show—statistically—that males are superior to females in mathematical aptitude, he found room to promote this biased and misleading analysis on his blog. The study did not appear in learned (peer-reviewed) journals, but rather as a post on a Libertarian website.

Though I offered a counterpoint to that post as a comment, he elected not to publish it. And that is entirely his right as owner of that blog.

In any case, I look forward to the day when gender equity is the norm, and the incidents of sexual harassment and gender bias in the military seem as out of place as the now-unacceptable sexist behavior exhibited on AMC's Mad Men.

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