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Feds spend $548K for monitoring male engineering students’ sexist “microagressions”

April 11, 2016

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum

It’s a microaggression to joke about women drivers.

The National Science Foundation–that’s our tax dollars, dear reader–is spending $548,459 to videotape male engineering students in their labs  to find out whether they are causing female engineering students to experience “microaggressions,” the Washington Free Beacon reports. A microaggression, by the way, is a sexist slight that is so minuscule that the male perp often doesn’t realize he’s perpetrating it–but the female “victim” feels a big hurt because a safe space has been violated, or whatever. For example, a man’s opening a door for a woman would definitely be a microaggression on many a college campus. As would making a joke about women drivers.

So the NSA is shelling out half a million bucks to a female researcher (natch), Denise Sekaquaptewa, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in studying “stereotype threat”: the idea that women don’t perform as well as men in certain fields because men think they don’t perform as well, and these negative perceptions somehow rub off on the women.

Stereotype threat is one of the standard feminist explanations for why there are relatively few female engineers or other STEM professionals–as opposed to the theory that most women just aren’t that interested in STEM or that their brains might be built differently.

As Sekaquaptewa explained in her 2014 grant application submitted to the NSA:

“Because engineering is cast as a masculine field, women engineering students can experience subtle yet pervasive stereotypic messages in their learning environments that can negatively influence their experiences. This early stage research project will identify specific behavioral manifestations of gender stereotypes–microaggressions–and their cumulative effect on learning, performance, and persistence in introductory engineering course teamwork. Such microaggressions may cause the climate of the team to become less welcoming to women.”

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen
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One Comment
  1. Lastango permalink

    There are two certainties here:

    (1) The research will discover microaggressions everywhere it looks, and

    (2) Women will not be asking for separate labs or lab teams. The control-group measurability would be unacceptable.

    Note the study will observe only incoming engineering students. Evidently, the school cannot coerce or bait existing students into agreeing. Imagine what will happen to the educational paths and career prospects of the male students discovered to be “guilty”.

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