Conference Preview: Keynote Speaker Christina Hoff Sommers on Gender Bias

May 27, 2010 | NeW Staff

NeW is privileged to have Christina Hoff Sommers as our Keynote Speaker at this year’s National Conference on June 25.  Dr. Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of two popular NeW Book Club books: Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys.

Today, Dr. Sommers wrote on “STEMinars,” a concerted effort to reduce gender bias in STEM careers and education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  On April 28, The Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Sciences and Engineering Amendment passed in the House Science Committee.  As Sommers explains, members of Congress will have little choice of whether or not to vote for it.  Anyone voting against such an amendment would run the risk of being labeled a sexist.  So what could be so wrong about this amendment?  According to Sommers,

The “Fulfilling Potential” amendment directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to organize gender-bias-awareness workshops and specifies that “attitudinal surveys [be] conducted on workshop participants before and after the workshops. . . . Activities shall include research presentations, and interactive discussions or other activities that increase the awareness of gender bias.” 

The proponents of this amendment argue that interactive skits and workshops will help erase gender bias in the STEM classes and careers.  But, as Sommers points out, the so-called bias in the classroom aren’t so biased after all.  Today’s feminists will tell you that women aren’t given the same opportunities to achieve in the sciences.  Let’s get the facts straight.  Sommers writes,

Today, about 50 percent of M.D.s and biology Ph.D.s are awarded to women. More than two-thirds of the doctoral degrees for psychology, veterinary medicine, and health professions go to women. If statistical disparity is evidence of discrimination, then there should be a congressional investigation into why men are scarcer than hens’ teeth in fields such as sociology, health professions, and education. Perhaps we need “SHEminars.”

The sad truth is that today America’s advancement in the STEM careers is at risk.  By working to favor women in these professions, our advancements and achievements inevitably suffer.  Sommers argues,

Many would argue that America’s preeminence in science is owed, in large measure, to its uncompromising meritocratic culture. The STEM activists disagree. And the House of Representatives is poised to grant them unprecedented power to refashion the culture of academic science according to their unscientific agenda.

Stay tuned for more previews about the Conference and keynote speaker.  Dr. Sommers has spoken to NeW chapters in the past and is a favorite among NeW members.  In 2008, NeW at ASU hosted Dr. Sommers to challenge The Vagina Monologues, as pictured below.

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