Gender inequality in colleges unacceptable

    Various studies, reports and data released recently on the issue of gender equity within higher education fields of science and technology highlight causes for concern for academic communities that pride themselves on diversity and equal opportunity.

    The findings, based on data from the Office of the Registrar, the Office of Academic Affirmative Action and UCSD Health Sciences Task Force, among others, show uneven gender distribution across academic departments. UCSD undergraduates and faculty are overwhelmingly male in the science and technology fields, and every academic department has a majority of male faculty, save one.

    UCSD’s newly appointed chancellor (the first female chancellor at UCSD), Marye Anne Fox, emphasized the lack of progress made in incorporating more women into the chemistry department at the University of Texas-Austin. “It was discouraging to know that when I was sent to Texas in 1976, I was the second woman in a faculty of about 50, and when I left in 1998, they were again hiring a second woman,” Fox said.

    American universities will not realize their full potential in science and technology if nothing is done to expand the pool of graduates in these disciplines to include more equal numbers of men and women. While some argue underrepresentation is simply the result of natural occupational choice, it is imperative that women are provided with the tools and encouragement necessary to excel and compete in scientific and technological fields with equal opportunity.

    Academic departments should act upon long-standing inequality by combating the problem through the recruitment and retention of women undergraduates and faculty.

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