Sunday, June 02, 2002

Thoughts on Title IX For once, the Times has an editorial that I can partially agree with on the topic of Title IX. There is of course still some residual idiocy:

There has been a mechanistic, by-the-numbers quality to the way some colleges and universities have chosen to abide by the law to make themselves lawsuit-proof. That has helped lead to the dismantling of several hundred men's teams in sports like wrestling and gymnastics. But the demise of those teams need not be attributed to Title IX. Bloated football budgets could easily take cuts so the money for men's sports could be distributed more equitably. And under the law, an institution can prove compliance simply by showing that it has been improving opportunities for women - without proving proportionality with men.

The last line is simply nonsense. "Improving opportunities" doesn't make you lawsuit-proof, but percentile manipulation does. It's also unquestionable that men's programs that were not in the spotlight (e.g. wrestling) have been cut to make room for women's programs. This is a zero-sum allocation, and pretending that it's not caused by Title IX is very different from acknowledging that some will lose funds so that others can gain funds. That said, I agree with Title IX's desirability in the broad sense. I think that if football was eliminated from the calculations and if the percentages were not quotas that led to male team elimination, then Title IX would be fine. I'd bet that the vastly improved female physiques we see in the 2000's and the 90's (vs. the 80s and before) are in large part due to Title IX and its effect on women's sports. That alone should be enough of a benefit to convince the more lecherous of us. There's no reason why women shouldn't have the option to play sports, just as there's no reason that they shouldn't have the option to go into science/engineering. The problem is when people expect every ratio to be 50/50 male/female, when all the data indicates that the ratios will never approach this value in most fields. We shouldn't let our antipathy to percentile manipulation inure us to the real benefits of Title IX.

posted by godlesscapitalist | 6/02/2002 05:41:00 PM | |

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