Is it gender discrimination to offer scholarships for women in STEM? Many men say yes

Jamie BallardData Journalist
August 29, 2019, 5:00 PM GMT+0

For years, there have been calls to get more women pursuing an education in fields like science, technology, engineering and math. But now, some are questioning whether colleges have violated gender discrimination laws as they worked to correct gender imbalances in the STEM fields.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the US Department of Education has opened investigations into several US universities that offer female-only scholarships, awards and other educational opportunities in science-related fields. The investigation is examining whether offering female-only opportunities is a violation of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally-funded education program or activity.

Recent research from YouGov finds that Americans are almost equally split: 39 percent believe that offering female-only scholarships is a violation of gender discrimination laws; 38 percent believe it’s not.

Men and women feel differently about this issue.

Roughly four in 10 (42%) women believe that offering female-only opportunities is not a violation of gender discrimination laws like Title IX. Another 34 percent of women believe that it is a violation.

Responses from men show almost the exact inverse: 44 percent believe that offering female-only educational opportunities is indeed a violation of Title IX; 34 percent disagree.

Additional YouGov research finds similar gender divides when Americans are asked more generally about initiatives to promote women.

When asked, “Do you support or oppose organizations like companies or colleges giving preferences to women in order to encourage gender equality?”, 40 percent of women – and 30 percent of men – said they supported this. 43 percent of men were opposed to this idea.

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Image: The Gender Spectrum Collection