| 03.18.2018

So much for gender neutrality


The University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene campus will host a Women in Science Day Oct. 1-2. The event will bring approximately 200 high school sophomores together in the hopes of encouraging young women to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers.

That’s fine. If you want to encourage young people to pursue careers in STEM, good for you. However, rather than having this event aimed at encouraging all young people to pursue STEM careers, for some reason the focus has to be on recruiting women. According to Associate Dean of UI College of Science Mark Nielsen, more young women need to be motivated to choose STEM careers as their gender is underrepresented in STEM majors. However, there are currently more women in college than men, and women tend to score higher than men in math and science.

I shudder to think what the reaction would be if this were a Men in Science Day. In any case, why not turn this event into People in Science Day? With the push of modern feminism, gender-neutral ideals and politically correct terminology, why is it appropriate to hold a science day centered on women? How can people complain against groups, organizations and corporations for being too old, white and male, but accept an event benefiting only women? Young men might be just as interested as young women in pursuing a STEM career, so why are only women being targeted? Rather unfair, isn’t it?

This isn’t the only event specified towards women. UI also has Women in Engineering Day and Women Outdoors with Science. There’s even an entire center devoted to women and women’s issues. I’m sure these are fine programs, but where is the focus on programs incorporating both sexes — even if only in name? It would be a fault to assume that regular programs are dominated by males.

Where is the gender neutrality here?

To be honest, I’m not against celebrating women in science. In fact, I would encourage students to go to Women in Science Day. It seems like a good opportunity to learn more about STEM careers and see if it’s something worth pursuing.

I just find it strange that we think we have to make women feel equal to the big, powerful, overbearing man — as if women weren’t equal in the first place. These different UI programs and centers are treating women as if they need to do certain things to be on the same level as men, which is wrong.

At the same time, if the feminists and political correctness police want to ensure gender-neutrality, where are they on this?

Andrew Jenson can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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