In the push for gender equity, turnabout is not fair play

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By Petula Dvorak
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So, ladies, it appears that big boulder we've pushed uphill is rolling back down after all.

After decades of grinding it out in classrooms, working to get into college and expand our universe of career choices beyond teacher, nurse, secretary or well-educated wife, we've apparently done too well.

For the past few years, college admissions offices have been seeing far fewer Y chromosomes, and they've been flummoxed about how to the treat the new male minority.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has launched an investigation to determine whether universities have met this quandary by discriminating against qualified young women and lowering admissions standards for less-qualified male applicants.

All of this all sounds outrageous -- skewing admissions practices to create some kind of artificial, boy-girl-boy-girl hoedown formation on campuses and the idea that women are seen as a majority that needs its leash yanked before we take over.

I mean, if you're nervous, it certainly can seem that way looking at the numbers:

On U.S. college campuses, women are 57 percent of the student body. (Uh-huh. That was the case in my classrooms, too, when I was in school 20 years ago. Then on exam day, the rest of the boys finally showed up, and the class was about even.)

We receive 60 percent of the bachelor's degrees handed out every year.

We just became, for the first time in U.S. history, the majority of the nation's paid workforce.

And on Tiger Woods's cellphone contact list, women outnumbered men by . . . oh, never mind.

Society is changing dramatically when it comes to gender, and more young women are applying for college than ever.

But that doesn't mean that standards should be changed for anyone based on gender. College applicants should be judged on who they are when they arrive at a university's gates and how far they traveled to get there.


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