Opinion

STEM-ming college gender quotas

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George Leef
Director of Research, The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy
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      George Leef

      George Leef is director of research at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy (www.popecenter.org), Raleigh, N.C.

But there are people who like to make an issue out of statistical “imbalances” and their efforts are damaging. Individual merit is subordinated to the mania over group equality.

Think about the consequences if anything like Title IX’s effect on sports is replicated in STEM as a result of guidelines that are supposed to “ensure participation of women and girls.”

College officials might decide to reject some male applicants with strong backgrounds for engineering school to avoid the appearance of bias against women, and admit some women with weaker academic profiles so they can show more “participation.”

Equalizing the number of men and women in the STEM fields will not make society any fairer or better.

We shouldn’t care about the sex of the people who research and design things, only that they are highly intelligent, have an affinity for the STEM disciplines, and are motivated to research and design. Gender quotas would change this dynamic, and not for the better.

George Leef is director of research at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy (www.popecenter.org), Raleigh, N.C.