New York Times allows misrepresentation of data by staff writer bent on denigrating Title IX.

Is There an Editor in the House? Anywhere??

Evidently not in the Science section of the New York Times on July 15th. This is the day that John Tierney lived up to his name and used the TYRANNY of his office to dissemble to the masses.

His abuse of power, and blatantly poor journalism, should have been corrected under the check and balance system of writer and editor, but….it seems these days everyone is immune to sexist meanderings.

Under the false rubric of “Findings” rather than “Opinion,” John-Boy Tyranny railed against women’s equality in the sciences and the use of Title IX to prevent discrimination. He bashed readers over and over with his theme of: women are not discriminated against in science –they just have “different interests from men.”

J-Boy repeatedly used the P word (preference) to say: “…there is far better research showing that on average, women’s interest in some fields isn’t the same as men’s.”

The P-word is used to explain all sorts of Preferences women have—you know, the Preference to make less money, be promoted less, have less power, be stuck in non-combat roles in war so we can be taken out of contention for power-track advancement in the military, stay home FOREVER to suckle our young, not run Fortune 500 companies, not get Op/ed space in major newspapers…geez this could get lengthy so I’ll quit here.

Now, if silly J-Boy had stuck to the field of physics to make his point, the interest factor might have, at least by some metrics, held some weight. (P.S to the folks with penises reading this, please substitute the word MASS for Weight, as only u men folk will be interested in that word And…for the lush breasted women folk, please substitute the word MEASURE for METRICS, as befitting a lady’s interests and sensibilities. )

But John-Boy got tempted with the apple-in-Eden allure of life-science data to show women are just NOT discriminated against in science. JOHN Boy trotted out the data to show that women receive the majority of Ph.D.s in the Life Sciences. (Also the majority of social science degrees, and a near-majority of medical degrees.) So he, as they saw in Law—opened the door. (EDITOR of Science Section, take note!)

Sadly, for his argument, he also just took a whiz on his whole argument—that women and science don’t mix—and if one attempts to make it happen with Title IX the result will be…hmmm, how DID John-Boy say it?? Oh yeah… “Devastating to American Science…”

Yet, evidently, per the DATA, women LOVE biology, and other sciences. Of course this was not always the case, and I shall get back to that later. For Now, let’s look at the woman problem in science. The same problem that happens universally to women nowadays—that is, women have no problem competing with men at school but in the world of perks women get the short end of the stick. For example, in LAW …. They graduate from Law school en mass (48 % of new lawyers) but make partner at their firms at paltry rates (18%). Now the key to this aghmm, Metric is that women have made up 48% of new law classes for a decade. This means they’ve been in the pipeline of partner contenders at high numbers for long enough that we should expect to see the perks of high achievement in their field start to climb as their MASS does. I eat a cookie a day I gain not much MASS. I eat 200, I gain mass. So unless, we want to accept that women are stupid lawyers, or opt out because of preference, then Houston, We’ve got a problem! (Oh that pesky but soo soso so convenient P word. Btw, if I work 60 hours a week with little hope of partner, then maybe I will opt out if my hubby puts in the same 60 and gets smoozed into the corner office. Or if women are so hostile to one another in the work force that daily life is Hell, maybe I will opt to take a saner route. Or if Respect is something saved for and doled out to the men I work with then maybe…Or if I get a fraction of the budget and undergrads to run my lab, then maybe I will not bang my head on the ceiling until I bleed…oh how we could go on here. )

But…back to John-BoY who opened the door to assessing women’s progress in science with Life Science data but…then forgot all about those # to focus on the smallest percentage of women in science—physics and engineering.
NOT SO FAST, Johnny, my Boy.

In 2006 women earned 52% of doctorate degrees in the Life Sciences.
In 1997 women earned 45% of such degrees. So we have a lengthy pipeline of contenders for High-Office Perks in the Life Science Pipeline of Women.
Did they gain Mass in Perks??
Well in 2006, 26% of those with full professor status in the Life Sciences are women.
(This is up from 16% in 1997.) So in roughly 10 years women crept upward, gaining ground.
But FAR from the parity one would expect. Remember, this means that men, who earn the minority of PhDs in Life Sciences represent 74% of full-professors in this field. Man these guys must be SMART!!

There are some important things to note from these numbers. First, obviously women have interest in science, so we can DISMISS John’s, they just aren’t interested dribble.

Second, contrary to John Boy’s misleading title (A NEW Frontier for Title IX: Science) and the utter nonsense of his first graf (Title IX has only recently been applied to women in science), Title IX has been in working (not perfect but working) order since its passage in 1972. The law reads: “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."[1]

From Wikipedia: “Although the most prominent "public face" of Title IX is its impact on high school and collegiate athletics, the original statute made no reference to athletics.
The legislation covers all educational activities.

Excerpt from an
Op/ed written by By Janet Bandows Koster (executive director of the Association for Women in Science) and Betty Shanahan (executive director of the Society of Women Engineers) in response to John Boy’s column.

“Some claim Title IX compliance reviews are a "new" way to apply the law to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), but this law has been applicable to all educational programs receiving federal funds for 36 years.
… Title IX compliance reviews can help to confirm that academic institutions receiving federal funding establish a climate that ensures a representation of women in STEM disciplines that reflects their level of interest. Any difference in participation, then, is a result of the personal interests of women and not due to environmental factors that discourage them from entering or remaining in these fields.”

So in using Title IX to monitor science programs that receive federal $, women have seen their numbers of representation creep upward. In 1972 women received 15% if PhDs in Life Sciences. Now we are at 52%, and guess what DEAR JOHN. American life science has dominated the Globe. Should you get a nasty disease, chances are a woman helped develop the treatment, be it in mice-on-to-human or in clinical trials. Right now a key figure in combining physical and biological science to ferret out cures for cancer is a woman. (BTW, John-Boy, something you should know about science these days…the fields are blending, the lines between the physical and life sciences are blurring in both clinic and research.)
In 1972 only 6% of physical science PhDs went to women, that # is now an impressive 29%. DO YOU THINK SILLY JOHN that in 30 some years, women’s brains have evolved to such a degree? That of course flies in the face of all scientific inquiry. So perhaps, encouraging women via environment and Title IX has produced some good?

BUT…a 52 to 26 split (btw Life Science PhDs to women and full tenure to such women) is still a massive problem and one that CAN in NO appreciable way be attributed to disinterest in science.

John-Boy wanted to razzle-dazzle readers with his cherry-picked data: physics data--a 20 to 10 split ( 20% women with physics PhDs to 10% full-time women faculty). Wonder why he chose those #s????

This is where the Editor was either sleeping or willfully looking away. Any editor worth his or her salt would need to see the pipeline data on translation from doctoral holder to full-tenure in the field where women dominate and have had very strong #s for well over a decade!

Letting John get away with citing the physics PhD to tenure data without a comparison to Life Science or Social Science PhD/tenure rates was just plain Hack!

From John-Boy’s website :
About TierneyLab
John Tierney always wanted to be a scientist but went into journalism because its peer-review process was a great deal easier to sneak through.
E-mail tierneylab@nytimes.com.

So it is no wonder that John didn’t pursue his science career b/c of the rigorous peer-review. Because such review would weed out contrived bias!
PS. John.
Women graduate from Journalism School in record #s as well and have for some time, but guess what???? We get 15% of power bylines at major publications. That is the same percentage as women on faculty at MITs engineering department. Guess we don’t have interest in journalism bylines as well? Or is it just power we gals eschew?

Stats on women in science from National Science Foundation
"Thirty-Three Years of Women in S&E Faculty Positions"
http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf08308/

The op/ed by By janet bandows koster and betty shanahan:
NATIONAL VIEW: Title IX ensures equality in educationMs. Bandows Koster is executive director of the Association for Women in Science, and Ms. Shanahan is executive director of the Society of Women Engineers.
July 31, 2008 6:00 AM
link:
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080731/OPINI...


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