Female-only science programs, launched by many universities to redress gender imbalance in such fields as computer science and engineering, are coming under growing legal attack as sex discrimination against men.
The U.S. Department of Education has opened more than two dozen investigations into universities across the nation — UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC as well as Yale, Princeton and Rice — that offer female-only scholarships, awards, professional development workshops and even science and engineering camps for middle and high school girls. Sex discrimination in educational programs is banned under Title IX, a federal law that applies to all schools, both public and private, that receive federal funding.
A new study released Tuesday found that 84% of about 220 universities offer single-gender scholarships, many of them in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. That practice is permitted under Title IX only if the “overall effect” of scholarships is equitable. The study, by a Maryland-based nonprofit advocating gender equity on college campuses, showed the majority of campus awards lopsidedly benefited women.
In California, for instance, 11 colleges and universities reviewed offered 117 scholarships for women and four for men, according to the survey by Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. The group was originally founded to lobby for due process rights for those accused of campus sexual misconduct, who are overwhelmingly male — and launched the current project challenging single-gender programs in January.
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