Female-Only Scholarships Under Fire In Higher Ed

August 20, 2019
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Female-Only Scholarships Under Fire In Higher Ed

Female-only college and university STEM programs are coming under fire for male discrimination as they attempt to "redress gender imbalance" in fields such as computer science and engineering. The U.S. Department of Education launched more than two dozen investigations into higher education institutions nationwide - including UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC as well as Yale, Princeton and Rice - which offer female-only scholarships, awards and professional development workshops.

Under Title IX, sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding is prohibited at both the private and public level. A new study that recently came out revealed that 84% of roughly 220 universities "lopsidedly benefited women" by offering single-gender scholarships, many of which are in STEM fields; permitted under Title IX only if the "overall effect" of scholarships is equitable.

According to the president of a group titled Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, "the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction". The group plans to file federal complaints against about 185 campuses if they do not "sufficiently respond to questions about the scholarship practices." In California, for example, it was reported that 11 colleges and universities offered 117 scholarships for females and four scholarships for men. On the other hand, a representative of the National Women's Law Center argued that female-focused programs are permitted under Title IX as affirmative action to "overcome conditions that resulted in 'limited participation' of one gender in a particular educational program." A Title IX expert believes that "we need to be skeptical...of any segregation projects" because "the risk of treating people unequally on the basis of sex is promoting stereotypes." In your opinion, should schools be doling out single-gender scholarships for a given field?

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