Against Gender-Based Affirmative Action in the Contemporary Sciences
G. Stolyarov II
Note from the Author: This essay was originally written in 2004 and published on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007, where it earned over 500 page views. To preserve a record of my writings following the shutdown of Yahoo! Voices in 2014, I have given this article a permanent presence on this page.
Discrimination against women in the sciences may have been prevalent fifty years ago, but it is not the case today. If anything, the trend has shifted in the opposite direction: an equally unjustified, equally harmful discrimination against males.
Though Rosalind Franklin, one of the co-discoverers of the DNA molecule, had been discriminated against in the 1950s, the culture of fifty years later displays a startling inversion of that trend, which may be even more devastating to scientific progress and individual opportunity. Far from being discriminated against in the sciences, women today have obtained an institutionally privileged position while males are steadily becoming the new underclass.
From the earliest years of school, girls are given plentiful opportunities to attend "Women in Science" conferences barred to males, no matter what the merits or the curiosity of the latter. Colleges practice gender-basedwith great rigor in the medical schools and science departments, as if gender was at all relevant to one's performance in a scientific field, and as if females' "gender identity" were somehow more desirable than that of males.
In the meantime, the intellectual paradigm of today seeks further to entrench the matriarchal society. Feminists like Katharine McKinnon deride Classical science and Newtonian objectivity as "a male attempt to rape nature" and seek to bring about a more "feminine" approach, which they define as a state of passive submission to natural cataclysms and the uncertainty of the ecosystem.
Aside from the budding Isaac Newtons who are detested and denied college educations under this paradigm, the best of female thinkers also encounter great hardships, as their group identity comes to be seen as more important than their individual strengths. It ceases to be relevant how self-sufficient or prominent a female scientist is; she is still the member of the "victim group" and is treated with demeaning condescension by the feminist paradigm and suspicious scorn by those who think that she is a typical product of affirmative action and would not have deserved her position on her merits alone.
Science's historic "domination" by the male gender had its roots in a stale traditionalist dogma that viewed a woman's role to be confined to the home and generally discouraged female education. In the meantime, this paradigm encouraged females to delve into extensive contacts with the church, which stood in the way of many females' abilities to embrace reason undiluted by faith and dogma.
Science has been accessible to those women who defied that cultural mold, including Sophie Germain and Marie Curie. As society became freer, a woman's affinity for science came to depend almost entirely on her individual willingness and the skill of her mind. The intelligent women entered the field eagerly, but a large mass of females remained voluntarily subservient to their traditional roles (they would become the feminists of the 1960s, complaining of their "victim status").
Those women who were truly devoted to science functioned in it and succeeded despite stigma from reactionary elements in the general culture. Thus, scientific progress benefited from the contributions of all willing individuals, regardless of gender. Since the gender of the scientist plays no role in the content of scientific investigation, science has not been harmed by any disproportional gender participation. The greater harm comes from stereotypes for or against any gender within the scientific community itself.
A female scientist, like Rosalind Franklin, who had rejected traditional gender roles, may have been stigmatized by her male colleagues and found an unsuitable environment to function in. Because the traditional mentality persists in some scientists as well, it prevents them from interacting with and developing the discoveries of their mistakenly perceived inferiors. Patriarchy in the sciences (like matriarchy) may also deter ambitious women from disclosing their findings, as they would not expect a satisfactory reward to ensue. But the proper solution is not to shift to the other extreme and place obstacles to males in the sciences. Rather, individuals in the sciencesshould be evaluated purely on the basis of their personal merit, rather than their gender.
Gennady Stolyarov II (G. Stolyarov II) is an actuary, science-fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress.
In December 2013, Mr. Stolyarov published Death is Wrong, an ambitious children’s book on life extension illustrated by his wife Wendy. Death is Wrong can be found on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
Mr. Stolyarov has contributed articles to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET), The Wave Chronicle, Le Quebecois Libre, Brighter Brains Institute, Immortal Life, Enter Stage Right, Rebirth of Reason, The Liberal Institute, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
In an effort to assist the spread of rational ideas,
Mr. Stolyarov published his articles on Associated Content (subsequently
the Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Voices) from 2007 until
Yahoo! closed this venue in 2014. Mr. Stolyarov held the highest Clout
Level (10) possible on the Yahoo! Contributor Network and was one of its
Page View Millionaires, with over 3,175,000 views. Mr. Stolyarov’s
selected writings from that era have been preserved on this page.
Mr. Stolyarov holds the professional insurance designations of Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS), Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA), Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Reinsurance (ARe), Associate in Regulation and Compliance (ARC), Associate in Personal Insurance (API), Associate in Insurance Services (AIS), Accredited Insurance Examiner (AIE), and Associate in Insurance Accounting and Finance (AIAF).
Mr. Stolyarov has written a science fiction novel, Eden against the Colossus, a philosophical treatise, A Rational Cosmology, a play, Implied Consent, and a free self-help treatise, The Best Self-Help is Free. You can watch his YouTube Videos.Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at email@example.com.Statement of Policy.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.