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|Excerpts from National Coverage (2005)|
Most recent articles are at the top.You've Come a Long Way, Baby, But Today ... I.T. Is It
The Roanoke Times, Roanoke, VA (Nov. 6, 2005)
It's the 21st century, and a woman doctor, lawyer, astronaut or CEO isn't news -- it's almost passé.
But a woman computer geek? It's downright unusual.
Compared to other white-collar professions, the number of women working in information technology pales in comparison to their male counterparts.
Everybody loses. American companies have to look overseas to fill their IT openings, while American women miss out on a growing and, let's be honest, potentially well-paying career.
It's getting worse. The Information Technology Association of America says the country needs more IT workers than ever, and it expects the trend to continue.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the only fields growing faster than software engineering are medical assistants and home health aides. In fact, the BLS reports that eight of the ten fastest-growing occupations between 2000 and 2010 will be in information technology.
Women are missing out.
Despite all this, the moment they enter college, women become dramatically underrepresented behind a keyboard. According to the Department of Commerce, while about 3.3 percent of undergraduate men choose an IT career, only 1.1 percent of undergraduate women do.
That's a lot of people. Would it make a difference if, say, three percent of women went into computer science?
The perception that a computer career means working alone is a turn-off to middle- and high-school girls who prefer to work in groups. More so than men, girls and women appreciate the social aspects of their jobs. They prefer to work together.
According to "Tech-Savvy," a report from the American Association of University Women, "[G]irls are concerned about the passivity of their interactions with the computer as a 'tool.' " When it comes to choosing a career, girls "assert a 'we can, but I don't want to' attitude toward computer technology."
Girls don't want to end up working alone. And that's what geeks do.
"They don't see the IT field as being a field where they can help people," said Meszaros.
The AAUW backs her up: "Girls tend to imagine that computer professionals live in a solitary, antisocial and sedentary world," it said in its report.
"This is an alienating — and incorrect — perception of careers that will rely heavily on computer technology."
Leaving a Mark
So last week, as I was reading some of the data that yielded the special report on our 2005 Salary Survey in this week's issue, I was bothered by the difference between the average total compensation for male and female IT professionals. For men, the figure is $89,437; for women, it's $80,528. Same jobs. But women are paid about 90 cents for every dollar that men are paid.
That there's a gender wage gap is, of course, news to no one. Nor is it news that the gap exists in the IT profession. A reluctance among women to advance their careers by means of relocation (primarily stemming from their partners' career aspirations) has long been cited as a major reason for the compensation disparity. I agree that's a factor.
But there has to be more to it than that. It's widely held that men work more hours than women do, because of family considerations, but that's not what our survey found. While the survey results show that women value things such as paid time off and a better work/life balance more than men do, the mean number of hours they work is statistically equal. So why the disparity?
Whatever the reasons, we shouldn't be content with the status quo. True, IT professionals fare better than college graduates in general. According to research conducted earlier this year by the American Association of University Women, college-educated women earn only 72 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.
No injustice is acceptable. Let that be the mark left on society by this generation of IT professionals.
On the face of it, this off-the-charts stress may seem surprising. More than a decade ago, several studies, including the American Association of University Women's landmark "How Schools Shortchange Girls," found that girls were disadvantaged in school compared with their male counterparts. Since then, however, girls have made so many advances that the positions have entirely shifted. In our poll, for example, 44 percent of girls reported making mostly A's, compared with just 26 percent of boys, a finding that is amplified in national statistics. According to a 2004 report issued by the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, high school girls now display higher educational aspirations than their male peers, and are more likely than boys to enroll in college immediately after high school.
But there is anxiety, and there is anxiety. Notably, the 2004 federal report also found that even as girls are performing better and better, their enjoyment of high school is plummeting. In what may be the dreariest evidence of gender parity, federal statistics show that girls, who back when they were being shortchanged liked high school more than boys did, now dislike it at least as much as boys do. "The percentages of both male and female seniors reporting positive feelings toward school sharply declined from 1980 to 2001, with female students' positive feelings toward school declining at a faster rate," the report notes. This finding is deeply felt by Katy, who despite how well she is doing, despite how great her school is, how diverse, how high-quality, says with conviction that "the sooner I can get out of high school, the happier I'll be."
In a way, Katy's comment strikes, for a girl, a rare note of optimism, a passing hope that somewhere after high school life might be easier. This is unusual: Our poll also found that girls, by and large, expect that life is going to get worse, not better. Across a broad range of measures, girls' views of the future tend to be more negative than boys'. Just 51 percent think the best years of the country are ahead of us, compared with 65 percent of boys. Only 36 percent of girls think that when they are adults, Americans will be more moral than they are now, compared with 47 percent of boys. And 62 percent of girls think there will be another major terrorist attack in their lifetime, compared with 53 percent of boys. Boys are split over whether children today have a harder time growing up than their parents did, while 60 percent of girls feel that growing up is harder today than it used to be.
College Gender Gap Widens: 57% Are Women
In May, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education posted the inevitable culmination of a trend: Last year for the first time, women earned more than half the degrees granted statewide in every category, be it associate, bachelor, master, doctoral or professional.
Cause for celebration -- or for concern?
As women march forward, more boys seem to be falling by the wayside, [Jim] McCorkell says. Not only do national statistics forecast a continued decline in the percentage of males on college campuses, but the drops are seen in all races, income groups and fields of study, says policy analyst Thomas Mortenson, publisher of the influential Postsecondary Education Opportunity newsletter in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Since 1995, he has been tracking -- and sounding the alarm about -- the dwindling presence of men in colleges.
The trends have developed in plain view -- not ignored exactly, but typically accompanied by some version of the question: Isn't this a sign of women's progress?
But even as evidence of a problem mounts, "there's a complacency about this topic," McCorkell says.
There has been no outcry, for example, on the scale of a highly publicized 1992 report by the American Association of University Women, How Schools Shortchange Girls, which compiled reams of research on gender inequities.
That study "really ... got people to focus on girls ... (but) there is no big network that protects the needs of boys," says family therapist Michael Gurian, author of the just-published The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life, which argues that elementary and secondary schools aren't meeting the developmental needs of boys.
Talk of gender is fraught with social, legal and political minefields. Witness the outcry after Harvard President Lawrence Summers remarked in January that women might be underrepresented in sciences because of innate differences in abilities. For one thing, female inequities persist. There's still a pay gap. According to the Census Bureau, women on average earned 77 cents to each dollar paid to male counterparts in 2004.
So it's perhaps no surprise that most educators exploring the issue have an eye toward equilibrium.
Foxx on Board With Plan to Cut Programs
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, and several congressional leaders have recommended eliminating various programs that they say are outdated and duplicative. It's estimated that the cuts would save $246 million a year.
Included in the proposed cuts are programs geared toward arts in education, community technology centers, education programs for jailed youth, and financing for the Women's Educational Equity Act, or WEEA.
"Anytime a program does not get funding it should just go away. We fund programs year after year that are no longer necessary," Foxx said.
But some women's groups are concerned about the proposed elimination of the women's educational-equity program, which was established in the 1970s to make sure that women received opportunities equal to those of men.
She added that WEEA - a program she supported in the late 1970s when she sat on its advisory council - has run its course.
Financing for the program was $3 million in 2005, according to the House Education Committee.
The program also helps with Title IX enforcement and sexual-harassment education, among other issues.
Jean-Marie Navetta, a spokeswoman for the American Association of University Women, said that the program has been a favorite target of Republicans and the Bush administration, but that the money has always been restored at the last minute with the help of the Senate.
This year, however, with Katrina costs mounting, she was not so sure that the money - or the program itself - could still be restored.
"It might be tougher (to save) this year," she said.
Do the Right Thing: Young Males Get a Lesson About Facing the Future
The theme for the daylong workshop was "Manpower: It's Time to Stand Up," so the boys and young men did just that, standing in the dappled shade of a grove of trees in Martin Luther King Jr. park.
According to recent studies, boys are more likely than girls to experience a wide variety of problems as adolescents. Although the juvenile crime rate has been falling, boys are still more likely to be arrested. Nationally, 77 percent of juveniles arrested in 2003 were male.
Najeyah Sultan, Planned Parenthood's director of community programs, said that similar programs have been held for girls for years, including the "Sister to Sister" summit sponsored by the American Association of University Women.
"I've heard young men say, 'You have it for the girls,' and they're right," Sultan said. "We don't often give our boys the same attention we give our girls in non-sporting situations. So our emphasis today is getting them some information they can use."
The challenge, of course, was getting the young men to talk. "The girls love it; they're talkative and they love to share and hear what everybody else has to say," said Sultan. "With boys . . . it's different."
EE Schools: Where are the Girls?
It's not on most Americans' radar, but U.S. technical education is in crisis. The country graduates, in a good year, 50,000 engineers; China and India each graduate two to three times as many. Few scientists are found among America's political class; the opposite is true in India and China. U.S. popular culture still stigmatizes tech-track kids as misfits, and EE Times' 2005 State of the Engineer survey found respondents distressed about the state of K-12 science programs.
There is some positive news. During the past 30 years, the number of women getting engineering degrees has increased every year, said Elena Silva, research director for the American Association of University Women, which promotes education and equity for females.
But the fact remains that engineering classrooms and workplaces are still overwhelmingly male, said Silva. No one is saying women can't make it under those circumstances, only that it makes things more difficult and that it might discourage some potential engineers from the very beginning.
"The leap it might take a young girl to enter the field of engineering [in the first place] is a big one," Silva said. "If that occurs, there then is the added struggle of being a woman in a traditionally male field."
Campus Survey: Sexual Assaults Still Big Problem
When Elizabeth Armstrong started conducting focus groups with female undergrads she was expecting to get general comments about college life at a time of burgeoning sexuality.
Instead, she started receiving first-hand accounts of nonconsensual sex.
"I kept getting narratives of actual sexual assaults when I wasn't really expecting them," said Armstrong, an assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington. "It was kind of coming out of the blue."
Armstrong talked with more than 100 IU women last school year and found that about one-fourth of them had been victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault while in college. The women ranged from about age 18 to 22.
Although it was not a systematic survey, the findings serve as a reminder of college women's risk of sexual assault.
Sexual assault "remains a very big issue for college campuses," said Leslie Annexstein, director of the American Association of University Women Legal Advocacy Fund in Washington, D.C.
Yet many collegiate women don't seem to know they're in danger.
If you're a parent or student who's concerned about security on campus, here are some questions you might ask:
Primary source: Leslie Annexstein, American Association of University Women Legal Advocacy Fund.
Where Does Judge Stand on Title IX?
Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles, CA (Sept. 11, 2005)
In June 2003, Kimberly Howard, a student at Bishop State Community College in Mobile, Ala., found herself confronting a daunting dilemma. After reporting incidents of severe sexual harassment by one of her professors, Howard was given two options: face her harasser in class or enter a different degree program.
Confined to these unacceptable choices, Howard chose instead to leave the school without completing her degree and filed a Title IX lawsuit in federal court. In 2004, a jury found that the college had violated her civil rights by failing to adequately address her complaints of sexual harassment, and awarded Howard monetary damages.
Without Title IX, Howard could not have sought justice when her educational plans were thwarted by sex discrimination. Now, the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be chief justice of the Supreme Court may very well put future Kimberly Howards at grave risk.
Single-Sex Classes a Work in Progress
Several national women's rights and civil rights groups agree and have gone on the offensive to fight the national trend toward single-sex classes in public schools.
Last year, the Bush administration announced plans to amend federal regulations on sex discrimination dating to 1972, making it easier for public schools to create single-sex classes. That rubbed the American Association of University Women the wrong way.
"Girls and boys certainly do have different behavioral patterns in the classroom, but is the solution to dealing with these differences separation?" said Jean-Marie Navetta, a spokeswoman for the AAUW. "We know what improves performance, and you don't need a single-sex environment to do it."
Complicating the issue, experimentation with single-sex education in the public sector has produced different results across the country. In some schools, the boys' classes became unmanageable and scores dropped. Other schools experienced increases in standardized test scores for both boys and girls.
In Fight to Confirm New Justice, Two Field Generals Rally Their Troops Again
The last time Ralph G. Neas and C. Boyden Gray went head to head as commanding generals in a war over a Supreme Court confirmation was in 1991, when Clarence Thomas was the nominee. Now, with the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, they are adversaries again.
Mr. Gray, who was White House counsel for President George Bush, won the Thomas battle.
After learning of the O'Connor resignation Friday, Mr. Neas joined Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, and representatives from three dozen groups — including the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the American Association of University Women and the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights — at a Capitol news conference to call for a 'consensus nominee.'
The Wages of Work
The typical college-educated, full-time woman worker earns $17,600 less a year than does a full-time male worker with a college degree, reports the American Association of University Women. Female pay 'cuts' vary by state — check out yours at http://www.aauw.org/research/statedata/index.cfm.
Girls who are aiming for college should be reassured that getting a degree still makes a big difference — women with a college degree earned 80% more than women with a high-school degree, the report notes. But while women are increasingly earning degrees in nontraditional (and often higher-paying) fields such as science, business, and math, females still earn fewer degrees in areas such as engineering and computer science.
We can help girls explore all of their potential early on by encouraging them to try more lucrative childhood jobs, such as lawn-mowing over babysitting. And when girls try out jobs in high school, help them look beyond the usual fare of clerical and clerk jobs. A recent University of Washington survey found that high-school girls still predominate in "pink-collar" jobs such as secretary and child-care assistant.
Ozkan Receives 2005 Recognition Award for Emerging Scholars in US
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation presented Dr. Mihri Ozkan, assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Riverside, with its 2005 Recognition Award for Emerging Scholars during the AAUW national convention in Washington, D.C
The award, presented annually, recognizes the early professional achievement of an untenured woman scholar who has a record of exceptional accomplishments and shows promise of future distinction. Selection is based on demonstrated excellence in teaching, a documented and active research record and evidence of potentially significant contributions to the recipient's field of study
Professor Ozkan received her award at the convention banquet on Monday. She also received an honorarium of $ 5,000 and travel expenses to the convention. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was among the attendees. Professor Ozkan delivered a speech and thanked Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk for stressing women's education.
Ozkan quoted Ataturk's phrases on world peace and women's rights, adding: "When I was a student at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkey, half of the class was female. But when I came to the States for a master's degree, I was confused because I was the only girl in class." Ozkan is has been recognized for her research on cancer and nanotechnology
PFLAG Returns to NPTA Convention for Workshop on Safe Schools
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is pleased to return to the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) Convention in Columbus, Ohio next week.
PFLAG believes that all students are entitled to a safe learning environment. At a time when 84 percent of gay students are verbally harassed and 39 percent are physically harassed, PFLAG is thankful that the NPTA recognizes the need to combat this epidemic of hostility.
PFLAG is also aware that a copy-cat group called "Parents, Families and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays" (PFOX) was denied participation in the NPTA Convention. While PFLAG is not privy to the NPTA's reasons for rejecting PFOX, we know they are in good company. Workshops by PFOX have been rejected by the National Mental Health Association, National Education Association and the American Association of University Women.
School Bus Sex Assault a Rising Risk
Although many school systems don't identify bus assaults independently of all school violence, administrators, teachers and bus drivers say the nature and frequency of the attacks are increasing, and at younger ages. The incident involving the Germantown girl was one of four alleged sexual assaults on Montgomery County's school buses this school year; the alleged attackers in Virginia were as young as 8.
A 2001 report commissioned by the American Association of University Women found that eight of every 10 students in grades 8 through 11 report having been sexually harassed at school, most often by peers. One-third of students surveyed said they were first harassed in grade school.
"Sexual harassment is a much more serious issue in public schools than most people have been willing to admit," said Robert Shoop, a professor at Kansas State University. "And it's much more likely to occur in unsupervised venues — like buses or bathrooms."
The Gender Pay Gap Still Exists
The U.S. Census Bureau reports U.S. women on average earn only 76 percent of what men earn. And Asian, black and Latina women earn even less.
There have been many explanations for the gender gap, but the blame for its continued existence is attributed by workers themselves to "employers' assumptions about women's attitudes about work and family," according to the American Association of University Women, based in New York.
The association, a nonprofit national network, advocates for equality. Its research indicates people are pretty savvy about why the pay gap continues to haunt female workers.
The explanations, which a majority of the 1,200 people polled believe are behind the wage gap, include:
"Employers won't promote young women because they assume the women will leave their jobs if they have children."
"Women put family before work and are less committed to their careers."
And, "In hiring and promotion, employers discriminate against women because of their gender."
Sadly, discrimination is even older than the Association of University Women, which was founded in 1881.
Onus Is on Educators to Protect Students From Anti-Gay Bullying
Labels such as "fag" and "lesbian" remain popular weapons against students in Canadian and U.S. schools, according to McGill University researcher Elizabeth Meyer.
"Students are being violently and repeatedly harassed in schools with anti-gay comments, jokes and behaviors," cautioned Meyer, a doctoral student in the department of integrated studies in education, who was among 80 McGill researchers presenting at the American Educational Research Association's (AERA) annual meeting in Montreal.
Yet educators still turn blind eyes and deaf ears to harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) and gender-nonconforming students. "In many cases teachers are not intervening and that lack of intervention allows these behaviors to continue," said Meyer. "All students suffer when prejudices go unchecked. By accepting such antisocial behaviors, educators send the message prejudices are appropriate to our culture."
Despite an apparent increase in acceptance of homosexuals in North America, based on a study conducted by the American Association of University Women, Meyer found that boys are twice as likely as girls to report being called gay. Using data from the 2003 National School Climate Survey - prepared by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) - Meyer also found that:
For Women, a Failure to Negotiate
Although women have certainly made plenty of progress in the workplace over the past three decades, the glass ceiling remains firmly in place at many companies -- especially when it comes to compensation. But some experts now suggest that the wage imbalance between the sexes could have as much to do with women's failure to negotiate well as any other factor.
Indeed, while women now represent more than 47% of full-time executives and managers, their wages continue to lag far behind. College-educated women still earn only 72% as much as their male counterparts -- a gap of 28 cents on the dollar, according to the American Association of University Women.
A number of potential causes account for the disparity, of course -- some women work part-time, pursue lower-paying careers on the whole, or take time away from the workforce to raise families. But executive coach Lee E. Miller says the problem may be more basic and more easily remedied -- a lack of negotiating skills.
Sen. Clinton, Rep. DeLauro Introduce Paycheck Fairness Act
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced companion legislation today, Equal Pay Day, in both houses of Congress to address the pay gap between men and women. Advocates from the National Partnership for Women and Families, the National Committee on Pay Equity, the American Association of University Women, the National Women's Law Center and others kicked-off a rally on Capitol Hill to bring attention to this ongoing issue.
Even though the Equal Pay Act was passed more than 40 years ago, women working full time, year-round, still make only 76 cents for every dollar that a man makes. April 19th marks the day when women's wages "catch up" with men's wages from 2004. Equal Pay Day reminds us that millions of American families lose out because equal pay is still not a reality.
CU plaintiff Receives $5,000 Donation
Simpson Legal Fund Gets Help American Association of University Women Donates $5,000
Lisa Simpson asked for, and received, a $5,000 check from a group sympathetic to her legal battle against the University of Colorado.
The American Association of University Women kicked in the contribution after being approached by Simpson for financial help.
"I'm very pleased that AAUW is supporting my case," Simpson said in a written statement. "It's truly an honor."
Simpson filed a lawsuit against the university under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools. The lawsuit claims that the school fostered an environment that led to her rape by football players at a December 2003 party.
The trial is set to begin May 31 in Denver federal court.
"Schools must understand that they have a legal responsibility under Title IX to foster a learning environment for students that is free from sexual harassment and assault," said Leslie Annexstein, director of the Association of University Women's legal fund. "Believing that this is simply 'boys will be boys' behavior and perpetuating the harassment by doing nothing to address the problem is illegal.
"CU's interest in maintaining a competitive sports recruiting program does not trump the rights of its female students to a nondiscriminatory educational environment."
The association, which has been promoting equity in education for women and girls since 1881, also has offered legal and emotional support for Simpson.
"This is just another opportunity for us to try and make a change in the 'business as usual' that's been going on," said Jean-Marie Navetta, the association's spokeswoman.
Navetta said that since July, the organization has awarded about $37,500 for support in legal cases across the country, ranging from tenure battles for female professors to sexual harassment of students by male instructors.
The organization was aware of Simpson's case before she asked for help because of the national media coverage the case has received, Navetta said.
"When you read some of the documents and see the extent of problems at Colorado and the extent of how far this goes back, it is more shocking and all the more reason to get involved," Navetta said.
Simpson attorney Baine Kerr said he was pleased to have the organization's support.
"We welcome their help," Kerr said. "They are a wonderful organization."
Title IX Web Surveys Criticized by NCAA
Advocacy groups and NCAA officials are criticizing new federal guidelines that make it easier for colleges to demonstrate compliance with the Title IX anti-discrimination law credited by some for dramatically boosting women's participation in athletics.
Schools can now use a new e-mail survey to demonstrate that they are fulfilling the requirements of the law, according to the new guidelines, which were posted with little fanfare on the Department of Education's Web site late last week. Schools will be considered in compliance with Title IX legislation, which forces all schools that receive public funding to provide equal opportunities for men and women, if survey responses suggest there is insufficient interest among women students to support a particular sport.
Schools are considered in compliance with Title IX if the number of female athletes is proportional to the number of women in the school's student population. Another way of complying with the law is for a school to show that it is "fully and effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex."
Exactly how a school proves that has been left somewhat vague in the past.
Leslie Annexstein, director of the legal advocacy fund for the American Association of University Women, said e-mail surveys would provide a far "too narrow" gauge of interest in women's sports. "If you only talk to existing students, and ignore the interests of prospective students, then your college will become stagnant," she said.
Report: Boys’ and Girls’ ‘Well-Being’ Tracks Closely
The differences between boys and girls — in school, in the careers they choose, and in the very structure of their brains — is one of the hottest research topics around.
But a group of Duke University researchers suggests that when it comes to boys and girls, there’s not much difference at all, at least when considering the youths’ overall well-being.
The Duke scholars, led by Kenneth C. Land, a professor of demographic studies and sociology at the Durham, N.C., university, have broken down well-being into 28 social indicators, then used statistical data to track those indicators over time. Their paper is titled “Assessing Gilligan vs. Sommers: Gender Specific Trends in Child and Youth Well-Being in the United States, 1985-2001.”
The index created by the Duke researchers shows that the well-being of girls and boys has tracked fairly closely. Among the indicators studied were poverty rates, the percentage of children in single-parent homes, suicide rates, reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the percentage of students who receive high school diplomas, and the percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds enrolled in school and 3- to 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool.
Elena Silva, the director of research at the Washington-based American Association of University Women , suggests that the report’s findings are not surprising. The association’s widely discussed 1992 report “How Schools Shortchange Girls” is mentioned in the Duke study.
“That report came out 13 years ago, based on data that’s at least 15 years old,” Ms. Silva said. “We’ve seen changes since then,” many of which can be credited to awareness raised by the AAUW report, she said.
But other social scientists contend that by averaging all boys and all girls together, the Duke researchers are smoothing over serious problems, like the differences among boys and girls.
Once elements such as race or socioeconomic background are broken out, the differences, especially in educational achievement, are particularly stark, they suggest.
“Do you really think white upper-class boys in Bethesda are having the same experience as black middle-class boys in Southeast?” said education professor David M. Sadker, contrasting a wealthy community in Washington’s Maryland suburbs with a poor neighborhood in the capital. “You can’t really group wealthy and poor.”
The report “plays to the American bias in favor of numbers, and seeing numbers as objective,” Mr. Sadker said. “It’s nice to try and be objective, but it’s not nice to have the illusion of objectivity.”
Report Finds Women Are 56 Percent of Undergrad Students
Gender inequality still exists in higher education, though not in the way many might expect. Women now represent more of the U.S. undergraduate population than men, according to a report released by the National Center for Education Statistics. The center's study found that over the last three decades, women went from being the minority to the majority in the U.S. undergraduate student population.
The University of California's admissions and enrollment data reflects the nationwide trend of women's increasing presence in higher education. According to UC admissions rates, the number of women admitted to the university rose from 30,224 in 1999 to 35,858 in 2004. Throughout this period, women represented a greater portion of the undergraduate population than did men. Of the upward trend in women in undergraduate education, American Association of University Women spokeswoman Jean-Marie Navetta said, "It's fantastic."
"It's very much a product of a lot of hard work and legislation," she said.
Navetta also stressed the influence that Title IX – legislation passed in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in federally assisted education programs – has had in promoting gender equity in higher education. But despite her enthusiasm about the rise in the number of women in undergraduate education, Navetta said that inequality in the workplace is still a reality.
"When women get into the workforce, they continue to earn less than men," Navetta said.
The data provided in the report affirmed this observation. The difference between salary earnings of men and women actually grew between 1994 and 2001, from $5,100 to $6,800, on average. The fields of study that saw the greatest increase in the difference between men's and women's salaries were engineering, math and sciences, and humanities and social/behavioral sciences, while in education and business the earnings gap narrowed.
125 Years of Working for Rights of Women
York Daily Record, York, PA (Sunday, March 13, 2005)
BY JEAN-MARIE NAVETTA
In the midst of news about war, domestic debate and congressional battles, Jim McClure’s column last Sunday, “Ripples become waves with women’s history series,” was truly a bright spot in a sea of stressful news stories.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit my primary reason for reading the article: As press secretary for the American Association of University Women, I read nearly every news clipping that mentions us, and initially, this story was no different. But when I actually started reading, I realized that the article referenced ideas that are outside the pale of business as usual. He was onto something powerful that can’t be said enough: Many of our actions (and in some cases, our inactions) do create ripples that become much more than their original act. And in terms of women’s history, this is incredibly true.
Ivies Are Criticized for Lack of Diversity
Ivy League colleges have made few strides in hiring women and members of minority groups, according to a report released last week by a group of Yale University graduate students who are seeking to form a union. Data in the report, compiled from existing statistics at the U.S. Department of Education, show that of 433 new professors hired into tenure-track positions at Ivy League institutions in 2003, only 150 were women, 14 were black, and 8 were Hispanic.
The report, "The (Un)Changing Face of the Ivy League," was produced by the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, with the help of graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. It blames the nation's most elite colleges, including Yale, Harvard University, and Princeton University, for failing in what the report calls "one of their primary missions as institutions in higher education: the promotion of social equality."
The report is endorsed by several organizations, including the American Association of University Women, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.
Rights-US: A Broad Coalition Opposes 'Faith-Based' Hiring
The Job Training Improvement Act sounds like legislation designed to increase employment and improve economic wellbeing -- and most of it is.
But the bill passed Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives contains one provision that is generating all-out opposition by a large number of religious, civil rights, labour, educational, and other advocacy groups.
The provision allows religious organisations involved in federal job training programmes to discriminate according to religion when hiring staff for taxpayer-funded services.
The Coalition Against Religious Discrimination charges that such discrimination -- which many see as part of the George W. Bush administration's broad support of a "faith-based initiative" -- breaches the Constitutional separation of church and state, and explicitly contradicts legislation previously signed into law.
The coalition includes such groups as the AFL-CIO, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the American Association of University Women, the American Federation Teachers, the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Episcopal Church, USA, Catholics for a Free Choice, the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and many others.
The coalition has been lobbying for an amendment to ban such discrimination.
"Current law prohibits participants in federal job training programmes from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or political affiliation or belief," it says.
"President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Job Training Partnership Act, which contains the very same civil rights provision that (the current proposal) now seeks to repeal as it applies to religious organisations," the coalition said in a letter to Congress.
Last year, the Senate passed its version of the faith-based initiative after stripping out any provisions that could have created special advantages for federally-funded religious organisations.
The House, divided largely along party lines, passed the bill 224-200, defeating an amendment by Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia and six other Democrats to restore existing civil rights protections.
A Moment in Howard's History: Rape Crisis Seminar
According to the American Association of University Women, there were 198,850 reported rapes in 2003 of which 70 percent were committed by acquaintances. This problem has occurred for many years and has been addressed by Howard students on several occasions.
On April 5, 1991, The Hilltop reported that the Alpha Sweetheart Court of Howard University sponsored a rape crisis seminar.
Organized by freshman Lakisha Brown, the purpose was to discuss date, gang and fraternity rape. Brown was disappointed that few males attended the event.
"I wanted a lot of men to attend because, in many cases of date rape, the guy doesn't think he's doing anything wrong," she said.
The only seven males to attend were all members of the Beta Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to face far more opposition.
A "Friend" Tried to Assault Me When I Was Drunk
Last January, one of my close friends (I shall call him M) tried to sexually assault me. I, drunk and passed out, awoke to find him removing my bra. Needless to say, we have not been friends since. I tried to confront him about his behavior, but he blew me off. I have been pretty successful at avoiding him in social situations (we attend the same college and have many mutual friends), and I'm pretty certain that, once we graduate in June, I will never have to see him again.
Boys vs. Girls - Round Two
In the early 1990s, educators were abuzz about girls. Girls had low math and science scores. Girls had low self-esteem. Girls weren't given a fair shake.
Studies were done, books written, and programs launched. In the last 15 years, girls not only closed the gap, they moved past their male classmates, leaving them in the dust.
In the last month, Skagit County high schools posted their honor rolls. The lists, the pride of many parents, include three times as many Julies and Janets than Josephs and Jeremys.
The Skagit County numbers are part of a national trend in areas that range from high school government to standardized test scores. Earlier fears about girls dropping behind have been reversed, and teenage girls are pulling ahead of boys faster than you can say "girl power."
Girls are making strides in leadership positions as well. Half of the student body presidents at Skagit County high schools are girls, and two-thirds of the individual class presidents are female.
Boys make up about 70 percent of special education students in the county. They're more likely to drop out of high school than girls, and they're more likely to commit suicide.
So, what's happening to the boys? No one seems to have an answer.
Some pundits, like Christina Hoff Sommers, author of "The War Against Boys," have pointed to a so-called "war on boys" that they say came with the push to boost girls' self-esteem and their math and science scores.
But Jean-Marie Navetta, senior communications associate with the American Association of University Women, said girls doing better has nothing to do with boys doing more poorly.
"The success of one group does not come at the expense of another," Navetta said. "We concentrated on helping girls."
Navetta said educators ought to start looking at boys' test scores and grades in the same way they scrutinized the performance of teenage girls in the early 1990s.
Looking at the differences in achievement is very important, both in terms of addressing the gap between races and genders, Navetta said. Back in the 1990s, girls improved when interest groups like the university women started paying attention to the differences between boys' scores and girls' scores, she said.
In the United States, however, the gender gap issue has just started getting a trickle of attention from the press in the past few years.
That may be because the divide between boys and girls reverses once they become men and women.
In the workplace nationally, women earn 75 percent of men's pay, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
On average, men with bachelor's degrees earn more money than women with master's degrees.
"Girls and women have made incredible strides when it comes to getting their education. They've really caught up in a lot of ways," said the AAUW's Navetta. "However, we're seeing that when they graduate, there is still this gap."
The salary gap between men and women is partly due to continued gender discrimination in the workplace, she said.
Women Find Tenure Elusive; Despite Other Gains, a Gender Gap Persists
As a young computer scientist at Wesleyan University in the 1980s, Susan Landau, like many aspiring female professors, knew her pursuit of a tenured faculty job would not be easy.
Although she found academic life appealing, the demands of family life and the difficulty of finding jobs for both herself and her husband kept Landau from becoming a tenured faculty member. Similar stories abound on campuses across the nation. Tenure, for many women, remains an elusive goal.
The issue surfaced again in January with provocative remarks by Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers about the relative scarcity of women in university jobs in sciences and engineering.
In addition to citing social and cultural factors that contribute to the disparity, Summers generated angry protests when he suggested there may be differences in ``intrinsic aptitude' between the sexes. At Yale University, for example, graduate students denounced President Richard C. Levin's silence on Summers' comments and criticized Yale's own record on hiring women, citing figures showing that women hold 19 percent of tenured faculty jobs.
Summers later apologized for his remarks, but some have credited him with rekindling a nationwide debate on the treatment of women in academia, including the longstanding gaps between women and men in faculty salaries, rank and tenure.
In recent years, women have made striking gains in enrolling in college, earning degrees and getting faculty jobs, but they still are substantially outnumbered and outranked by men on most college faculties.
Across the nation, women account for slightly less than one in three tenured faculty jobs, according to the American Association of University Professors.
Women hold more than half the low-level jobs as instructors and lecturers but represent only one in five full professors, the American Association of University Women said in a report last fall.
``We believe women continue to face significant barriers,' said Leslie T. Annexstein, director of the association's Legal Advocacy Fund and one of the authors of that report.
``While we'd all like to think higher education is leaps and bounds ahead of other workplaces, Larry Summers' comments point to the fact that higher education has the same problems as other workplaces,' she said.
Tenure, which carries with it a promise of long-term job security, generally is awarded to newly hired professors after a review period, usually about seven years. Those are often the same years when many professors, usually in their late 20s and early 30s, start thinking about raising families.
Although women have made significant gains in earning doctoral degrees -- 37 percent of all doctoral degrees in science and engineering in 2001, compared with 8 percent in 1966, national figures show -- those gains are not fully reflected in hiring of new faculty, some studies show.
Besides family pressures, other factors, including outright discrimination, play into the tenure disparity between men and women, experts say, but proving discrimination is both costly and difficult, the American Association of University Women said in a study of 19 legal cases by women who challenged tenure decisions.
Some schools have policies that make the tenure process more flexible. Wesleyan, for example, has a longstanding policy of allowing parents -- men or women -- to take time off for the birth of a child and to extend the time for completion of the tenure process.
In a policy statement in 2001, the American Association of University Professors recommended several steps to make the tenure process more flexible, including paid pregnancy leave and family care leave, long-term leaves for child rearing, modified teaching schedules for faculty members with newborns and extensions of the tenure time clock to accommodate family needs.
At What Point To Weight The Odds?
Women outnumber men on campus on both sides of the Atlantic. Is such an imbalance a threat to diversity and, if so, is affirmative action the answer?
A lack of male students worries US institutions, but positive discrimination is a minefield, says [article author] Stephen Phillips
Men comprised 44 percent of US undergraduates and 42 percent of graduate students in 2000, the most recent year tracked, although they make up 51 percent of the general population. Among minorities, the deficit is more pronounced. An American Council on Education study found that just one third of black students were male in 2000.
It's a dramatic reverse from a generation ago. In 1970, men represented 58 percent of US undergraduates and 61 percent of graduate students.
Leslie Annexstein of the American Association of University Women says talk about declining male enrolment needs to be qualified. She notes that men outnumber women at many Ivy League campuses.
Suggestions that boys' problems are evidence of innate cognitive differences between the sexes have raised hackles. The president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers, provoked outcry and a confrontation with staff when he suggested that greater male success in science was genetically hard-wired.
Sensitivities surrounding this issue make some academics cautious about discussing how shifting gender dynamics may be affecting subjects.
Nevertheless, Myra Strober, a professor of education at Stanford University, says there have been many positive results of increased female enrolment. An influx of women into Stanford's Graduate School of Business has profoundly altered the field, she says, by leading to the introduction of courses in non-profit leadership, for example.
She adds that female students are now less reticent to speak out. "The importance of numbers cannot be overestimated."
Study Shows Where Halls of Academia Are Crumbling
Long Island Business News, Long Island, NY (Feb. 11, 2005)
It's an old refrain but it never fades: "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" Those words are part of a song called "Hymn to Him" from the great 1950s musical "My Fair Lady." There's a lot more in the play about women's irrationality, maddening illogic and general failure to measure up.
Half a century later, the question is not only still alive but is being posed with a lot less wit and charm.
The president of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers, recently stated at an economics conference that one reason women were not succeeding in the upper echelons of science is... are you ready for this?...innate differences between the sexes.
Since the early 1990s, when the American Association of University Women released a landmark study called "How Schools Shortchange Girls," there's been a growing consciousness of the subtle ways that girls can be discouraged from an interest in math, science and computers. Nor have they been encouraged to feel confident in these capabilities.
"Women at every step of the way are held back a little, and the cumulative effects are massive," said Stony Brook University Chair of Psychology Nancy Squires. "They do a little less in high school courses, tend not to take the courses in college, then they're hired less, paid less." The concept of genetic disparity is an open question, Squires said, "but whether it's true or not, it doesn't justify bias against talented women being successful."
In a way, the most extraordinary result of Summers' remarks is the spotlight it has shed on the highest level of education, elite colleges and universities. Making it in academia is "a tough haul for women," said Jean-Marie Navetta of the AAUW's Washington headquarters. "Academia is an insular world and slow to change. Progress is absolutely not on a par with how many qualified women there are," she said.
Tenure is the name of the game in academia, and the numbers show that of those granted tenure by four-year schools, 73 percent are men. Though women make up more than half of instructors and lecturers, and nearly one-half of assistant professors, they represent only one-fifth of full professors.
But does it matter what happens in academia?
College is the intellectual training camp for both men and women, including those who enter the business world, Navetta points out. "When women are shut out of influential roles, this sends messages," she said. "Does it reinforce the idea that some areas and paths of study are still mostly for men? Does it reinforce stereotypes about gender roles? Well, yes."
Nat'l Women's Organizations Address Bush Social Security & Budget Plans
Leaders of the nation's largest women's organizations will discuss President Bush's Social Security and Budget proposals and the impact on women.
NCWO is a non-partisan network of more than 200 women's organizations representing more than ten million women.
Members of the coalition include the National Organization for Women, American Association of University Women, Business and Professional Women/USA, Center for Advancement of Public Policy, The Feminist Majority Foundation, Institute for Women's Policy Research, Legal Momentum, MANA - A National Latina Organization, National Association of Commissions on Women, National Committee on Pay Equity, National Research Center for Women and Families, National Women's Law Center, National Women's Political Caucus, OWL - The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, Women's Action for New Directions/Women's Legislators' Lobby, Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, among others.
Working Women Strive for Pay Equity
It can be argued that women have made immense advancements in education during the past three decades, but pay equity has not been reached, according to research by the American Association of University Women.
In Texas, 21 percent of women have a four-year college degree or more compared with a national average of 28 percent, according to www.aauw.org. The earnings ratio between women and men with four-year degrees or more is 69.4 percent, which is a greater disparity than the national value of 71.5 percent.
Charlotte Dunham, director of women's studies, was part of a committee that met last year to examine gender issues at Texas Tech University.
The Gender Issues Committee looked at hiring practices, salary and climate, Dunham said.
According to the committee's final report, female faculty make less than men at all ranks, and the salary gaps increase with rank.
"If you just look at the general salaries, men make more than women at every grade," Dunham said.
The gaps in earnings can be explained partly by the teaching discipline and length of time at Tech, Dunham said.
"Tech is not atypical," she said. "What goes on at Tech is pretty much what you see at ... other major universities. This is a change you want to see across the country for women in academia."
Lane Powell , assistant chairwoman in the human development and family studies department, is the president of the local AAUW group. She said the gaps in pay between men and women are troubling.
"We feel that women have a very unique gift to give and ... do a lot of the substantive work in a department, and they should be rewarded for that," she said.
Women in education need to focus on the issue to bring about change, Powell said.
"It's easy for is to fall back into old habits and old stereotypes," she said.
Tech has a number of women in important positions, Powell said.
"I'm very pleased that we have some prominent women on our campus," she said.
New Gender Wage Gap Research from AAUW
College-educated women are earning only 72 percent as much as college-educated men, showing a national wage gap of 28 cents on the dollar, according to research from the American Association of University Women. The report, prepared in partnership with the Institute for Women's Policy Research, lists the following states as having the largest gender earnings gap for college-educated women and men: Utah, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Mississippi and Puerto Rico.
College Degrees Help Close Wyoming Gender Wage Gap
The wage gap between men and women in Wyoming narrows when women hold college degrees, a new study by the American Association of University Women shows.
The earnings ratio between college-educated women and college-educated men in Wyoming was calculated at 69.7 percent, which ranks 28th in the nation. This compares to 67 percent for the state's work force overall.
At the same time, Wyoming women with a college degree eliminate the wage disparity entirely when their earnings are compared to Wyoming men with high school diplomas, according to the study. Women with college degrees have the same median income, or $33,100, as Wyoming men with only high school diplomas.
Marianne North , president of the Wyoming Association of University Women, said some of the wage gap in Wyoming results from the differences in the work men and women do. Education, which attracts more women, is lower paying than mining, which attracts mainly men.
Another factor is how the culture perceives the importance of work traditionally done by women.
"I think a lot of it is basically undervaluing the type of work women have chosen to do," North said. She cited child care as one female-dominated field that is especially underpaid.
Frequently, women also leave their careers for extended periods to care for children or elderly parents. Such caregiving and associated absences from the traditional work force can have a profound impact on a woman's pension or retirement funds, North said, and those consequences are often reflected in later Medicaid costs for nursing home care.
Wyoming ranks 40th among all states in the percentage of women - 19.3 percent - who have college degrees. At the same time, 22.7 percent of Wyoming men have college degrees, which ranks 39th nationally.
The AAUW study, entitled "Gains in Learning, Gaps in Earnings for Women: A Guide to State and National Data," used U.S. Census economic data from 1999 and education data from 2000 for the basis of the study.
Feminist Leaders and Their Critics Agree: Times Are Tough for the Women's Movement
The Associated Press (Jan. 9, 2005)
America's feminist leaders and their critics agree on at least one current political fact: These are daunting times for the women's movement as it braces for another term of an administration it desperately wanted to topple.
"The next four years are going to be tough, so we must be tougher," National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy recently told supporters. "Our health, our rights, and our democracy are teetering on the brink."
NOW, the Feminist Majority Foundation and numerous like-minded groups campaigned zealously against President Bush, contending that his economic agenda would inflict disproportionate harm on women and that his potential judicial appointments could jeopardize abortion rights.
To the feminists' dismay, Bush not only won - but he sharply reduced the Democrats' "gender gap" edge among women voters. Republicans also increased their majorities in Congress; new GOP senators include several staunch foes of abortion.
Among the movement's biggest worries are that Bush might appoint federal judges who favor outlawing abortion, that family-planning programs will lose crucial funding, and that the president's proposed changes to Social Security would harm many widows and low-income women.
"Social security privatization is a bad deal for women," said Lisa Maatz, public policy director for the American Association of University Women. "It's not just a retirement program, it's a family insurance program that protects a lot of women who earn less then men throughout their lifetime and are less likely to have a pension of their own."
Maatz and her colleagues at AAUW also feel the government should do more to help low-income women gain access to colleges and vocational schools, and to crack down on sexual harassment throughout the educational system.
Looking ahead, feminists say one of their most crucial tasks is drawing more women into politics. Though the number of women in Congress increased slightly in the Nov. 2 election, the number of female state legislators has been stagnant for six years at about 22 percent of the total.
Justice Department Assailed for Omitting Mention of Emergency Contraceptives in Rape Treatment Guidelines
Scores of advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, assailed new Justice Department guidelines for treating rape victims Thursday because the detailed procedures make no mention of emergency contraception as an option that could spare some women an unwanted pregnancy.
The result is "a glaring omission in an otherwise thorough document," the groups said in a letter sent to Diane Stuart, director of the Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women.
Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the omission "a blatant example of politics taking precedence over the emotional and physical health needs of women." Her organization, and other groups, contend that information about emergency contraception was included in an early draft of the guidelines, then removed from the final version because of political concerns.
Among the 205 groups signing the letter were the American Association of University Women, Catholics for a Free Choice, the Episcopal Church USA, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Council of Jewish Women and the National Organization for Women.