Postsecondary Science and Math Programs Face Title IX Review
This summer, the US Department of Education (ED) will conduct in-depth investigations of how colleges and universities are treating women and men students and faculty in their science and mathematics departments. Title IX, the 1972 law prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs, is best known for its effects on federally funded athletic opportunities. "This reminds educators and students that Title IX is designed to protect against much more than sex discrimination in athletics," said Dr. Sue Klein, Education Equity Director at the Feminist Majority Foundation.
The current push to apply Title IX to academic departments stems in part from a July 2004 study by the Government Accountability Office that found that Title-IX compliance reviews in the sciences "have largely been neglected," reports the National Journal. The compliance reviews of university math and science programs will look for policies that may result in women "feeling unwelcome in pursuing advanced degrees or tenured positions," said Stephanie Monroe, assistant education secretary for civil rights, in Inside Higher Ed. The National Science Foundation is working with ED to create the review process, focusing in part on whether engineering and computer science departments offer as much support to women students as to men. Jocelyn Samuels of the National Women's Law Center applauded the inquiries to Inside Higher Ed, but warned that "the devil will be in the details," because "Discrimination is much broader than explicitly saying 'we don't want you here because you are a woman.' There can be all forms of discrimination."
Klein added that "This broadened attention to compliance should be accompanied by reminders to all institutions to involve their Title IX Coordinators in collecting, analyzing, and publishing sex and race statistics on students, staff, faculty, and administrators in science and related fields."
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .