Azara Blog: Harvard throws some money at women

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Date published: 2005/05/18

The BBC says:

Harvard University is to spend $50m (£27m) on women scientists over the next decade after its president sparked anger by questioning their aptitude.

Lawrence Summers said the money would be used to reform the way women in engineering and science are treated.

The recommendations came from two task forces set up by Dr Summers at the height of anger over his comments in January, for which he has apologised.

He suggested women had less "intrinsic aptitude" than men for science.

The recommendations include appointing a senior vice provost to promote diversity and faculty development, as well as mentoring, child care and late-night transport.

Dr Summer's office said reforms would be made for women "at every point along the pipeline", from undergraduates to faculty ranks.

"Universities like Harvard were designed a long time ago, in many respects, by men for men," he told a news conference.

"To fully succeed on these issues we're going to have to address issues of culture."

What an expensive goof his remarks have turned out to be. If only he had suggested that men had less "intrinsic aptitude" than women in some subject, or that more men than women should obviously be in prison, then nobody would have batted an eyelid. And how about child care and late-night transport for men, why is it that women deserve that kind of perk but not men? (Well hopefully it will be non-sexist in application, but you never know.) And the statement "universities were designed by men for men" is the kind of sexist drivel you would expect to come out of a second-rate gender (i.e. anti-male) studies department.

In academics, as in everything else in life (except for the presidency of the United States), the people who are going to come out on top are those who are most talented and put in the most hours. If you can do great work on thirty or forty hours a week then more power to you, otherwise you should not expect plaudits.

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