Let me begin with a simple question—a survey, if you will:
What percentage of college students are female?
40%? 45%? 50%?
What would be your guess?
What if I told you that women now make up nearly 60% of all college students and have been the majority on college campuses for nearly a quarter of a century?
(Source: PostSecondary Education Opportunity)
Most people, women as well as men, would be surprised by that fact. The female predominance in college has been an open secret to the public at large—but not to the people who run our colleges and universities. “While female students are the majority, males continue to hold more decision-making administration positions.” (PBS NewsHour 10/02/02) This predominantly-male group of administrators at our colleges and universities is “alarmed” at the trend they’ve seen develop over the last 25 years.
And what has their response been?
Affirmative action, which was decried by “angry” conservative males as a “crutch” and “an excuse” used by women and minorities, is now being used to help men in college take the place of better-qualified women. Evidently, when it comes to helping minorities and women, affirmative action is beyond taboo—it’s already been struck down by the highest courts in the land. Now, the same thing is being practiced on behalf of men in order to “address” the gender imbalance in higher education. How rich. How hypocritical. What’s even more insidious and frightening is that it is being done covertly in colleges throughout the nation. No open dialogue has brought this about or made this apparent. The practice is being engaged in “quietly,” behind the scenes, in order to not draw attention to the fact of this hypocrisy.
This is not a limited development. This is not an isolated incident.
It has been going on in secret for at least 10 years now and smart, motivated young women have been paying the price.
Let me make clear that I believe that affirmative action helped—and was right to help—women and minorities achieve equality in colleges and universities, but most Americans have spoken out that giving advantage to anyone because of race or gender is not to their liking. Whether we agree with that or not, it’s the law of the land now.
Well, then. Fine. As they say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If women and minorities (who have been discriminated against for centuries) don’t deserve special treatment, then the same should not be true for less-qualified men—yet, now it is allowed for men, while being denied for women and minorities. Only it’s being done with a nudge and a wink, in secret, in the dark, from one man to another, while women go blithely on, unable to attend the colleges they deserve based on their merit.
For years now, the question of what women have left to fight for has been central to discussions women have had with each other when the subject of women’s rights has arisen. Many women believe that we’ve achieved all the rights that we’ve asked for and that there is nothing else that need be done. Those of us who think otherwise have pointed out that as long as men continue to dominate and control all the reigns of power women cannot truly be equal. Still, those women who disagree look around and say they see all as well and that women have access and privileges like never before. We answer, “Beware,” because when freedom is given to you but power is not taken, your liberties are never secure.
I hope and pray that those of you in this community will have the same response of anger and alarm as I did when I discovered this information.
Let me present the proof behind why we continue to fight:
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
With laws enacted to prevent gender discrimination, women have had unparalleled access to education over the last 30 years. We have made enormous strides—so enormous that we have surpassed men by a large margin.
As you can see from the above chart, since 1969 (which just happens to correspond to the height of the feminist movement in America and the institution of laws protecting equal treatment of gender in education) women have made up the majority of students in U.S. colleges and universities. Instead of being excited by this information, by proof that when women are given equal opportunity, we not only excel, but exceed, those in power (men) are worried.
And let’s get this straight. This is not an issue confined to particular racial or ethnic groups as some have tried to contend. Some have tried to make this a “minority” issue and, thereby, dismiss it as the problems of particular cultures (even if these problems are real and should be addressed). Well, pretending this is an ethnic issue is a lie—moreover it’s not minority men who mostly benefit from this. White males are far behind white females in educational attainment, not just black and Latino males. This issue affects women in all ethnic groups:
(Source: Postsecondary Education Opportunity)
So how is this insidiousness being played out? What is the proof?
First, let me refer you to an extensive and (seemingly) unheard of article exposing this practice. I will refer this article below:
In this article, 1,006 co-ed colleges and universities were examined for their admissions policies, and at a substantial minority of these schools men were admitted at higher rates than women. Though, as the article points out, this is not proof of male affirmative action, it’s a strong indication. But even stronger evidence is given later in the article from admissions officers at schools who openly admit to biasing their admissions in favor of men for the sake of “gender balance.” Their chief concern is that their schools will not be as appealing to men or women if there are too many women there. Funny, this wasn’t too much of a concern when men dominated colleges.
They often cite women’s social life being affected. Evidently, men could always find a way to meet women when they were in the majority at school, but women have no other options but to give up their place to less-qualified men if they are to hope to find a date. Somehow, this doesn’t wash.
For these advocates of male-bias, gender diversity is of a social benefit to schools. Funny, isn’t that what women and minorities said with respect to diversity for all those years? Now, diversity matters now that men aren’t measuring up to women academically.
Again, I believe diversity and programs for diversity are important, but if their not considered “fair” when they “hurt” men, then they should not be considered fair when they hurt more-qualified, more-motivated women.
This fact is played out in the case of one particular woman mentioned in the article. I quote directly from it:
“Like a lot of high-achievers, Jennifer Johnson thought she knew how college admissions worked. Step 1: Take tough classes, get good grades and test scores in high school. Step 2: Get into a top college.
Ms. Johnson did the first step well. But soon after she applied in 1998 to the University of Georgia at Athens, the flagship campus, Johnson discovered she was wrong about Step 2: it mattered to the school that she was not a man.
If Johnson had been a young `Mr. Johnson,’ the university would have added .25 to a ‘Total Student Index’ score. She also would have gotten points if she had been a racial or ethnic minority. It was enough to tip the balance against her, her lawyers say. Johnson was rejected.
In response, she filed a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing the university of gender bias in its admissions process. The August 1999 suit also alleged race bias.
"College admission should be based on academics," Johnson says. "I just kept wondering, Why should a boy get any extra help getting in?’”
How true a statement. If you wish to verify this case, just do an Internet search to find her. (Interestingly, there was very little coverage of this case—hmm… I wonder why.)
This article exposes something that no one wishes to admit to: qualified women are being denied access to education in favor of less-qualified men for no other reason than the fact that female educational dominance and achievement is worrisome to those in power.
As further reference to this offensive and always covert practice I site these articles:
NPR Covered this issue and the secret, “quiet” nature of the practice is mentioned here:
The story is in audio form, so you can either download it to your computer or run the file from the link.
PBS NewsHour also discusses this issue here:
You can view the video broadcast or read the transcript.
I cite these articles in the interest of time. I know that most of you don’t come to Live Journal to read a tome. I just want to get the salient points across and make a plea to you all to do something about this.
I hope that no woman who reads this is under any delusion that the concern about this “gender gap” is for any reason other than the maintenance of male dominance in society and culture. When the gap was against women, women were told that this was just “nature” (See the false arguments about women in math and science that erupted recently—tons of so-called experts weighed in that men and women were just “different” and we should accept and celebrate those differences. Evidently, where the gap favors men it’s nature, where it favors women it’s a national crisis and a social issue.)
PREMEDITATED ATTACK ON WOMEN
As these reports show, this reverse discrimination against women in college has been going on for a decade now. That’s an entire generation of women who have lost opportunities to less-qualified men. An entire generation of women has once again become victim to the “boys club” that runs our culture.
This generation is also losing the psychological edge that women need to empower themselves in all realms of our culture. As long as women go through life assuming men are better educated and intellectually dominant they will continue to see themselves as “the second sex.” In fact, men have become the second sex in terms of educational attainment and achievement, but women being kept in the dark about their success allows men to maintain cultural stereotypes which weaken women. We need to maintain and promote our success in order to maintain the psychological edge that we need to make a change in the perceptions of gender roles.
This practice favoring men must be stopped.
These new initiatives favoring men are nothing less than a premeditated attack on women’s ascension. Given equal opportunity, women have proven that we can outpace men academically. This is a danger to the powers-that-be. The centuries of myths of our intellectual inferiority are crumbling before their eyes and they’re not going to let it happen on their watch.
WHAT WE MUST DO
My question to you is, “Are we women going to let them roll back our hard-earned gains on our watch?”
What I want to come of this post is some real action. I’m looking to set up a grass-roots response to this. I’m calling on women, especially those who are in college or are applying to college to organize and fight back. There are some who think we should just “do our own thing” and let what happens happen. I don’t agree. We must organize and fight.
I’m going to start organizing a collective response to this issue by contacting administrators, the press, anyone and everyone to make this issue known. I’m also interested in hearing from women who feel they may have been discriminated against based on their gender.
If you’re interested in doing something, please reply to this post. If you do not wish to reply publicly, please contact me privately via my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we don’t do something soon, we will lose another generation and all the strides and gains that we have made will turn to dust.
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