Written by Phil Maggitti
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Topics: Science, Women

Saturday, 22 January 2005

image for Harvard Should Drop Math and Science for Women Says University's President
Sample page from "Lawrence H. Summers Math for Girls"

UTICA, N.Y. - Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers, who created a firestorm when he suggested two weeks ago that biological differences between the sexes may explain why fewer women succeed in math and science careers, now wants Harvard to stop offering "those kinds of degrees" to women altogether. Speaking at a Promise Keepers rally in Utica, New York, last night, Summers declared: "Women who pursue studies in math or science would be better served-and so would our nation-if they studied home economics or language arts instead. Therefore, I plan to recommend at the next faculty council meeting that Harvard take the lead in education once again by barring women from math and science programs beginning with the 2006-2007 academic year."

Summers, one of this country's senior economists, supported his contention that "women stink at math" by citing recent studies conducted by Hasbro toy manufacturers. These studies, he said, indicated that the frontal lobe of the cerebrum-the center of analytical thinking and problem solving-is actually a different color in males than it is in females.

"The male frontal lobe, like the plumage of many male birds, is colorful and attractive," said Summers. "The frontal lobe of females, by comparison, is a dull, dishwater gray. This difference clearly explains why few girls score above the 90th percentile in science and math tests during high school. It also explains why women would sooner be home nursing their babies than putting in eighty-hour weeks."

Summers further believes that the difference in frontal lobe coloration explains why his attempts to provide his daughters with a "gender-neutral upbringing" failed. According to Summers, he gave his daughters trucks rather than dolls to play with, but the children named the trucks "mommy truck" and "baby truck" and made dresses for them instead of using them to solve equations.

Not surprisingly, Summers' comments have provoked cries of outrage in academic circles. The American Association of University Women took out a full page ad in The Chronicle of Higher Education calling for Summers' immediate [execution]. The ad was signed by scores of women's educational and professional groups and by an equal number of male science and math students at Harvard.

Summers, for his part, cannot understand the maelstrom his remarks have engendered. "It isn't like there's no precedent for biological differences between the sexes," he maintained. "Genome mapping studies funded by Cattle Boyz Gourmet BBQ Sauce of Alberta, Canada, have revealed the presence of a barbecue gene in men that is simply not present in women. That's why all the great barbecue chefs from Al Roker on down are men."

In related news, President Bush said he is considering giving Summers, a former U.S. treasury secretary, the task of solving the nation's social security problem. "If it turns out that women are genetically ineligible for social security," said the president, "we could save this country a whole lot of money."

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