Features, Feminism

The Great Diversity Scam

In recent years, Diversity in STEM has dominated debate in the media. STEM fields are an “old boys club,” we are assured, and we must take measures to bring equality and fairness to them. In particular, great focus has been put on achieving a “gender balance,” despite the fact that women actually make up a majority in four out of eight STEM fields. Academics will spend hours collecting data and analysing gender ratios at different levels of education, and a lot of research grants are now contingent on an institution attaining a particular type of award, such as the Athena SWAN in the UK.

Many jobs have been created to tackle these “issues.” Most large organisations—certainly universities—now have Diversity Officers, Diversity Consultants and Women’s Officers. Many of these Officers and Consultants and the like have academic backgrounds in gender or women’s studies.

The point is, Diversity is just another industry now. And these people are rent-seekers who have a vested interest in solving nothing.

This isn’t an argument against diversity as such. By all means, Diversity can be valuable, but forced diversity implores us to see people by their status as member of a group, rather than their merits as individuals. Take, for instance, this recent article in the New York Post where it was declared that “Gay white guys are not diversity hires.” My response to this (myself, a “gay white guy”) is “Good, thank you,” though I will add, the idea that simply having more diversity adds value to an organisation is a baseless tautology.

Of course, this all came from gender and women’s studies departments in the late ’90s. Perhaps this is why diversity bosses have chosen to focus on the four areas in STEM where men still make up the majority, rather than education, where men make up less than 25% of undergraduate and post-graduate students. This is a much more alarming statistic, given that only one-in-four British primary schools have a single male teacher, and there are over a million children in the UK growing up without a father. With the possible detrimental effects of not having positive male role-models, this is a much more pressing issue than the concerns of middle-class academic women seeking special privileges in their career.

Nothing — other than a desire for work-life balance — is keeping women out of STEM industries. Recent evidence indicates that women applying for positions in STEM are now favoured over men when all else is held equal. There is certainly no problem with equality of opportunity for women. But there are a number of social factors actively keeping men out of teaching, particularly the fear of being falsely accused of abuse and social attitudes to male gender roles. Decades of Institutional Feminism, right up to government level, has done nothing to encourage more men to become teachers. If anything, Institutional Feminism has reinforced problematic social attitudes about male gender roles. Today’s Feminism, the movement that claims to be about equality, is actually just a gynocentric lobby group preoccupied with the first-world concerns of a very small number of women.

Another field where women make up over 75% of the studentship is psychology. Most psychologists in the future will be women. What effect is this going to have when men seek mental health services? What effect is it going to have on the output of research? Given that men are three to seven times more likely to commit suicide, this seems like a real issue.

Curiously, I don’t ever recall seeing much concern about any of these “gender gaps.”

If the Diversity whingers were interested in solving problems, they’d have focused on these issues long ago. It’s time to kick the axe-grinding gynocentrism out of our societal institutions and bring forth a more egalitarian approach.

 

Stephen Beard is a freelance writer based in Liverpool. Follow him on Twitter @SMABSO

 

 

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24 Comments

  1. Alex John-Henry says

    “But there are a number of social factors actively keeping men out of teaching, particularly the fear of being falsely accused of abuse and social attitudes to male gender roles.”

    Do you have a source for this claim?

    “Today’s Feminism, the movement that claims to be about equality, is actually just a gynocentric lobby group preoccupied with the first-world concerns of a very small number of women.”

    This is an entertaining piece of prose, but what on earth are you getting at? People who describe themselves feminists do not all ascribe to a uniformed view of the world. At its most basic, the only requirement needed to call yourself a feminist is a belief in equal rights for women. So no, not all of ‘today’s feminists’ are gynocentric lobbyists looking out for the interests of a narrow group of women, and you undermine your overall point with such a lazy characterisation.

    • Ardy says

      Alex John-Henry: If you want to look for sources to claims regarding axiomatic statements, then why not the opposite? Why are men not becoming teachers at the same rate as women and why did this phenomenon occur?

      Or are you claiming there are no impediments to a male becoming a teacher?

      • Alex John-Henry says

        I’m asking for a source to the author’s claim that “…fear of being falsely accused of abuse and social attitudes to male gender roles” is the key (or a key) social reasons for the lack of male teachers.

        The authors statement is not “axiomatic”. It is a positive claim, which has evidential bearing.

        I’m asking out of genuine interest – what is the authour basing this claim on.

        • As a political phenom, there is always more than mere semantics in the definition of a group. I am not responding for the author, but I believe there is substantial evidence both inside feminist doctrines and in feminist political strategies of action that legitimize to say it became the last “gynocentrism”. Although feminism is not a homogeneous group, all different and relevant types of feminism shares the “patriarchy” theory of male privilege. That theory is dramaturgy with selective factual foundation employed to sell a romantic view of women suffering and victimization (which is the basis of gynocentric hysteria since Victorian era). Together with old women-hysteria, patriarchy theory sells a cultural target for discrimination and to be policed and patrolled: all aspects of male culture. It is a old Manichean world view, as poor as any conservative doctrine against Arabic culture. But it is also gynocentric, because relies in women hysteria and “fainting couch” values.

          • Geraldo, you deserve a slow clap for that comment, well said. People are always using the same tires old “Feminism is belief in equality” idea to goad people into support. Feminism achieved its primary goals before my birth and yet continues to shift the goalposts in order to stay relevant. I’m sure many a so called feminist truly believe that equality is what drives the whole but these aren’t the people close to politicians, they aren’t the ones making policy or writing the papers and books or giving the speeches at Universities.

        • Matt says

          Although I certainly agreed with the authors claim that there are stigmas attached to being a male teacher, some googling shows they may not be the stigmas he mentioned. http://cpre.org/sites/default/files/workingpapers/1506_7trendsapril2014.pdf This study and the NYT article that cited it state it may have something to do with teaching being seen as low status. That said, I do think there is pressure on a man entering the field, judging eyes if you would, worried he may be some sort of pervert. Weird to say, and the evidence points to the opposite (all the women being caught in relationships with students), but as a man, it has been my experience that men, or moustaches, get accused of being pedophilic much more often than women. All anecdotal of course.

    • Cassius says

      no true scotsman eh? these statements can be derived from the law and its bias and the news and media for theirs..couple that with rabid patriarchy theory and fake rape stats.

    • Matt says

      He said “Today’s Feminism”, not all feminists, and I would assume he’s referring to the agenda of Feminism as a movement today, which is quite narrow minded in its goals. It doesn’t seem to care much for people of color or women outside of the west. Maybe it needs further explanation or qualification, but you can find many women who are dissatisfied with how feminism is progressing today.

  2. Lucrece says

    You don’t need to overshadow your article with name calling and some questionable generalizations.

    There are some good points to be made here, but you turned this tribal real quick with some ad terms like “whingers” which verge on the immature.

    Just stick to speaking about the data. It can be hard not to sound bitter about all these upper class women going into elite colleges patting themselves on the back so constantly about struggle, but it will serve your writing better to run an emotional detox because as obnoxious as those people repeating that spiel may be, you’re only harming yourself with that resentment.

  3. Jack Hannigan says

    Ignore those other comments, I like your style. It’s not sterile + you make some really great points here that I’ve not heard before.

  4. ‘Diversity’ tends to reward the loudest campaigners and marginalise those who don’t make as much of a claim, often because some minority groups are very successful in certain fields of their own volition, for example, Indians in medicine.

    • Ardy says

      Correct Bilo: The more important question is WHY do those minorities get such a hearing in the first place? I thought a democracy was about the majority. It seems politicians hear far more of a clarion call to assist miniorites first and somewhere down the track ie when there is an election to be won, the majority are noticed – reluctantly…..

      It strikes me as if there are no other burning issues apart from minority causes, environmentalism and women’s rights. We have stopped building our society, now we are focused on smaller issues that are easier to deal with than the lack of jobs and building our nations wealth.

  5. Steven says

    This is what passes for “free thought” these days?

    “Nothing — other than a desire for work-life balance — is keeping women out of STEM industries.” Really? The studies you refer to certainly do not support this sweeping claim. You seem to attack a straw-man simplistic view in order to support your own simplistic view.

    What is a “baseless tautology”? Call it a tautology, or call it baseless, but it can’t be both.

  6. “feminists believe in equality!” people always turn out don’t they.
    The dictionary is right in this instance, but when it disagrees with a radical feminist, then the dictionary is not only wrong, but sexist!

    I’d give you guys more credit, if the actions of feminists in authority didn’t put the lie to EVERYTHING YOU SAY.
    The fact SOME feminists aren’t whining radicals with no appreciation of reality doesn’t invalidate the criticisms of feminism.

    Always the same double standard too.
    If there aren’t “enough” women, it’s evidence of misogyny.
    If there are SO few men that the field is DOMINATED by women, suddenly we need “evidence” that there is a problem. It must just be personal choice when men do it!

    Speaking from personal experience I was ACTIVELY discouraged from pursuing a teaching career by male ex-teachers. Sure, the system “wants” more men, but the work environment is still pretty hostile.
    Literally all it takes is an accusation.
    You want evidence for this?
    Try looking in the news. Try honestly examining your own reactions. The assumption of guilt seems standard these days, when a man is accused.

  7. Mark says

    Nice article. You are right about everything, and though you may not back everything up in the article, your comments are perfectly reasonable from my own experience.

    Looking forward to reading more

    • Josie says

      It’s a great opinion piece and includes excellent points – which agree with my experience of life. You seem to have a lot of failed journos coming after you because they see you as easy fodder. Ignore them all, and keep doing exactly what you’re dong.

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  9. Quite clearly you are illiterate to some degree.

    Tautology:
    a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form.

    Baseless:
    without foundation in fact.

    So yes, the assertion that “Diversity” as a free-standing factor “Adds value” is a baseless tautology. “Diversity” does not necessarily add value, for example if I am flipping burgers, who cares if I am a gay man and what exactly does it add to anything?

    Yet the term “Diversity” is universally seen as a +1

    • You seem to be neglecting the chronology of my terms. The assertion is baseless for the reasons above, yet it is presented as a free standing fact.

      • You’re grasping here.

        “Diversity” as an item does not have any intrinsic value. The value lies in the individuals that make it.

        And no, It doesn’t matter that x Is a k or that y is a g in the z community. They work well together and they get the job done.

  10. Mark says

    It is impossible to be over- represented in certain areas and proportionally represented in all others.

  11. I know of a female engineering officer who has never changed the oil in her own cars,no wonder our ships are buggered.

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  13. Speaking as a former-teacher and now current Teaching Assistant in a Primary School, I experience the stigma of being male every day. I also experience the constant looming spectre of tacit suspicion on the basis that I am a male choosing to be around young people all the time. I also have to take extra provision to safe guard myself from the children’s effection every day. That means standing frozen still when a child spontaneously lunges in for a hug (I can’t dart away in horror) and employ my ‘basic rules’ of ‘no hugging and no touching’ “please”, when such an event should occur. This, while other female teachers gleefully act like surrogate parents with seemingly no invisible barrier to contend with.

    I also have to be completely hyper aware at all times of how I interact in every single instance. “Am I being too friendly?” “Am I not being friendly enough?” “Does this make me look creepy?” “Should be more closed off to dissuade the children from liking me too much?”

    This just isn’t conducive thinking for a teachers mental health.

    This grievance is not built from a need to hug children of course (that pressure to over clarify again) but a wish to be treated the same as my female colleagues.

    Is this a personal fiction created out of some paranoid delusion? No.

    I’ve been in teacher training where spurious, agenda driven, Feminist co-signed statistics about child rape have been handed around as evidence of this constant threat of male predation for all to see. I’ve been through countless briefings and informal conversations where the suspicion of men is barely concealed as it is an axiomatic truth that men are only 3 bad decisions away from turning into monsters at any one time.

    What I also have to contend with is that some of this suspicion is justified by real, horrible events whereby men do groom and abuse children. I’m not here pretending they do not exist. But, women also commit these crimes and commit child abuse. We see it in the news all the time. But, we are by insinuation lead to believe that these instances are vanishingly rare.

    So, yes. I am considering leaving teaching, partly due to this overarching stigma, some of which is created by other gender phenomenon, sure. But, the main clincher is that men are tacitly and implicitly, on societal level, not meant to teach children anymore, lest they be hiding ‘something’. And, yes it’s also full of other vagaries and disappointment but the pay isn’t worth the net cost to my mental health to be honest.

    Anyway. That’s some, qualitative, heuristic info for you. Good article.

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