Lady-Business: The Birth Control Benefit and Affirmative Action

I have two posts up at RH Reality Check that may be of some interest to you.

One: The Decision in Fisher v. Texas: What’s at Stake for Women of Color

Two: The O’Brien Decision: A Gift to the Obama Administration From a Bush Appointee

That is all.

35 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Thank the Lord!

  2. 2
    ruemara says:

    I liked these. More detail than my ADD-WoW ruined brain can handle under stress, but well worth the read. Thanks for the analysis.

  3. 3
    John PM says:

    I found both articles very informative…and I did not mind having to follow the link! :)

    One thing about Fisher is that I wonder why the appeal isn’t moot because the plaintiff has graduated from another college. Also, how do you prove that you lost out on a spot in a school because a minority got in instead? I do not recall my Con Law from law school.

  4. 4
    Lee says:

    Austrian Economists admit they were wrong

    Say that austerity was a bad idea.

  5. 5
    Culture of Truth says:

    If mootness was all Roe v Wade would never have been decided.

    Having said that I’m not optimistic about Fisher.

  6. 6
    blingee says:

    Enthusiasm is building again and we are winning. How do I know? Because Faux is starting to say the polls are rigged again. Into the breach!

  7. 7
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Lee:

    “Nurse, this man is starving! Put him on a diet, stat!”

  8. 8
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: If that doesn’t work, try leeches!

  9. 9
    Anthony says:

    @Lee: The IMF has never really been Austrian, they’re more monetarist neo-liberal.

  10. 10
    catclub says:

    @Lee: who better to earn a hoocoodanode!

  11. 11
    Lee says:

    @Anthony:

    My bad I was thinking of World Bank/Wolfowitz.

  12. 12
    burnspbesq says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    If mootness was all Roe v Wade would never have been decided.

    The Roe court created a sort of special category for abortion cases because the time constraint would invariably mean that every case would be moot before it could get appellate review. That’s not necessarily the case on the facts of Fisher (four years is a lot longer than 40 weeks), so mootness is a way for the conservatives on the Court to dodge upholding the Fifth Circuit decision in favor of UT if the Court deadlocks 4-4 (Kagan is recused because of some involvement she had while she was SG).

  13. 13
    Drew says:

    @John PM: If they got class certification (I don’t know who the class would be-a bunch of other white people), and she was made the representative of the class, that would explain mootness.

    Roe was decided as a mootness exception. I forget the exact artsy fartsy legal language. There is precedent for affirmative action cases being tossed for mootness (graduating). I’m not a litigator, but my guess is the mighty whiteys behind Fisher’s side are savvy enough to have gotten class certification. Otherwise, the Supreme Court is free to toss it for mootness of course. There might be another way around mootness besides a class action, but I’m too lazy to search the federal rules of civil procedure

  14. 14
    Drew says:

    Oddly enough, the attorney who did oral argument for Texas was Clement’s (brief) replacement as solicitor general during the last year of the bad bush administration.

  15. 15
    burnspbesq says:

    In an otherwise good piece on Fisher, you ducked one important issue.

    The data on female and minority enrollment in particular programs and departments that you cite are interesting and perhaps disturbing, but you seem to think it’s so obvious that these data are the result of discrimination that you need not prove it.

    Nuh-uh. If you want me to believe it, prove it, because individual choice is just as plausible an explanation.

  16. 16
    Silver says:

    Surely Fisher could have moved to an area with a weaker performing high school student body and easily have gotten the 10% automatic transfer, no?

    After all, we expect poor kids to move to areas with good schools. Doesn’t that work in reverse for white people?

    I know, dumb question, this is America. Of course it doesn’t. It’s nice to dream though.

  17. 17
    burnspbesq says:

    @Drew:

    I don’t find that even a tiny bit odd. Garre’s a highly competent Supreme Court advocate. Not all highly competent appellate litigators are whack-job ideological zealots like Clement.

  18. 18
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’m just not a fan of mootness for avoiding a case.

  19. 19
    👽 Martin says:

    @burnspbesq: I agree.

    Women aren’t disadvantaged in the selection of STEM programs. Minorities are somewhat disadvantaged as selection into these programs tends to require competitive test scores and standardized test scores correlate strongly with income. As minorities are disproportionately at the lower end of the income scale, they lose out here.

    The problem lies with how men and women choose careers and how disciplines like STEM fields present themselves within our society. In the piece it’s noted that “fields that correspond to the social roles once formally assigned to them”. But that’s not entirely how it plays out. Women self select toward those fields because they are more likely to value the social benefits of participating in those fields over the economic benefits of going into finance or some other area that has a less apparent social benefit (or none at all). Men correspondingly are making similar decisions the other way. Eventually it may even out, but then gender roles are likely going to have to even out as well, and I don’t think you can force these things along.

    You can see this even within the STEM disciplines – engineering fields that are perceived to be more tightly bound to social benefits – like environmental engineering have much higher women participating – up to parity with men, where disciplines like computer engineering are almost entirely male-dominated. And education is hardly unique here – politically men are very economically and defense-welfare driven, where women are more social-welfare driven. That split between Democrat and Republicans for both men and women exist for understandable reason, and while we need to change Republican party attitudes about these things, we don’t necessarily need to do so by proactively boosting Republican women into office. Virginia Foxx and Jean Schmitt are hardly going to help balance the scale here.

    Attracting women into these disciplines through other means isn’t likely to change the perception of the fields any differently. Even marketing efforts within the fields aren’t going to do that either, and I don’t think this necessarily has anything to do with ‘social roles formally assigned to them’. It has everything to do with social roles that we willingly adopt – even when we’re actively knocking those artificial walls down. We’re already sending more women than men to college, and graduating more as well. I don’t think there’s a need to force any kind of internal balance within disciplines – particularly when acceptance rates match application rates illustrating that the problem isn’t a selection bias by the institutions but a selection bias by the applicants themselves. Perhaps that should be addressed, but factoring gender into selection isn’t going to do shit about it.

  20. 20
    Drew says:

    @burnspbesq: Odd wasn’t the right word. I just found it surprising much like his Thomas replaced Marshall. Two very different people.

  21. 21
    Drew says:

    @Culture of Truth: I don’t see it happening here. There was an interesting piece on Kennedy’s questions during oral argument, I forget where

  22. 22
    Interrobang says:

    Excuse me, women don’t “self-select” for non-STEM fields in the way you seem to indicate. Women grow up with a continual cultural drumbeat telling them they can’t be good at math and/or science, which restricts the pipeline of would-be postsecondary female STEM students right off the bat, from the early elementary years. Women don’t see positive role models in STEM fields (from that article, only 17 black women got CS PhDs in 2012), so they grow up with the subconscious idea that women “don’t/can’t go into those fields.”

    Because there aren’t a lot of women already in the fields, aspiring female scientists/mathematicians/engineers don’t have a lot of mentors to further them along the pipeline, and even if they do manage to get in, they’re often shunted into fields like biology and away from fields like physics. Not to mention they’re seen as less competent and hireable right from the outset. A lot of would-be female STEM students know there are often shortages of jobs in certain fields, so the temptation to give into the social pressure which says “I won’t get a good mentor, which means I won’t get a good reference, and I will have to work twice as hard to do 80% as well, and I suck at science anyway, apparently, so why bother?”

    On top of all that, every woman who has attended postsecondary education has heard horror stories of the kind of hazing and sexual harassment male students (and occasionally professors) routinely inflict on their female classmates/students, and we usually hear them well before we get to the point of declaring our major. (A university friend of mine was harassed so badly by a classmate she wound up having to change sections mid-year. Now before you go thinking that’s reasonable, ask yourself why wasn’t the harasser sanctioned? The obvious answer is that for whatever reason — which can be summed up as “boys will be boys” — the university thought she was the problem.) And then, if that isn’t overt enough, occasionally someone like Marc Lepine will come along and remind the world just exactly what the virulently misogynist faction thinks of female engineering students.

    But go on, keep on mansplaining about how our culture really isn’t broken, and that Imani has to prove discrimination (despite ample research already existing showing the existence of same). We love you, seriously. Don’t ever change.

  23. 23
    gene108 says:

    @Lee:

    How did those guys get saddled with the title Austrian economists?

    Austria is the last country on earth that’d adopt any ideas from the Austrian School of Economics.

    Austria is at 4% unemployment thanks to heavy government stimulus during the peak crisis period.

  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:

    @Interrobang:

    and that Imani has to prove discrimination (despite ample research already existing showing the existence of same)

    Oh, get a grip. In litigation, if you allege discrimination, you do have to prove it. You don’t get to simply infer causation from disparate impact, although that will get you part of the way there.

    Furthermore, even if I stipulate for purposes of discussion that you’re right about the existence of some vast male conspiracy to steer female undergrads into sociology and French lit, how do you propose to remedy it without a quota system which is both Constitutionally problematic and unlikely to work?

    mansplaining

    My, aren’t we clever.

  25. 25
    Jon O. says:

    OT (since it’s been 7 threads since an open thread at least):

    The Mansplaining Ryan Tumblr is already a thing. So glad that the turnaround time for meme generation is now about 4 hours.

  26. 26
    geg6 says:

    Just wanna say that it’s very rich indeed that ol’ Burnsie here is doing the exact thing that he claims another commenter is “my, aren’t we clever” about and that his church has based its entire existence upon.

    Mansplaining, Burnsie, look it up: http://www.urbandictionary.com.....=Mansplain

    And to remedy my irritation at his typical false sense of superiority, here’s a great video of our CoC today in FL:

    http://mediacast.realgravity.c.....57689.html

  27. 27
    SBJules says:

    How does Fisher prove she was passed over for a person of color? I heard her interviewed & she was so off-putting I’m hoping she loses her case…twice. She said she thought there were enough people of color at UT.

  28. 28
    KG says:

    the legal phrasing to get around the question of mootness is “moot but capable of repetition, yet evading review.” In the context of Roe it meant that by the time it got to an appellate court, the baby would have been born and the case moot, but then the woman could get pregnant again and face the same issue but it’d be moot again.

    The principle actually goes further back than Roe.

  29. 29
    Yutsano says:

    Way OT: we just did a total building evacuatiom drill. Bunch of us standing around doing nothing!!!

  30. 30
    👽 Martin says:

    @Interrobang:

    Excuse me, women don’t “self-select” for non-STEM fields in the way you seem to indicate. Women grow up with a continual cultural drumbeat telling them they can’t be good at math and/or science, which restricts the pipeline of would-be postsecondary female STEM students right off the bat, from the early elementary years. Women don’t see positive role models in STEM fields (from that article, only 17 black women got CS PhDs in 2012), so they grow up with the subconscious idea that women “don’t/can’t go into those fields.”

    I think you’re ascribing causation to the wrong things here.

    We know that most kids rule in/out science as a possible career path somewhere in the late elementary to middle school period. Trying to correct for that imbalance in college admissions is a wholly inappropriate place to do it.

    Further, disciplines like Chemical, Environmental, Biomedical, that have more apparent social relevance draw more women than other disciplines. They aren’t easier than other STEM programs or less math or less science intensive – rather they tend to be more intensive. And yet they draw proportionately significantly more women. Why is that? Shouldn’t they draw no differently from other engineering disciplines if self selection wasn’t part of the issue? A number of years ago Caltech graduated a class of Chemical Engineers that was 100% female. Anecdotal, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more math and science challenging academic program anywhere on earth.

    On top of all that, every woman who has attended postsecondary education has heard horror stories of the kind of hazing and sexual harassment male students (and occasionally professors) routinely inflict on their female classmates/students, and we usually hear them well before we get to the point of declaring our major.

    Is that a modern phenomena though? Or is that something mostly passed down now from previous generations? Every engineering program out there includes women in their underrepresented programs. Both women and minority participation rates are tracked and promoted all around the nation. Many offer workshops exclusively for women students to enhance their skills on the premise that many of them didn’t get to hang out with dad fixing the car like their brothers may have.

    Women don’t see positive role models in STEM fields (from that article, only 17 black women got CS PhDs in 2012), so they grow up with the subconscious idea that women “don’t/can’t go into those fields.”

    What you’re missing from that article is that it’s damn near impossible to get any domestic students into PhD programs now. So unless you’re going to argue that ‘everyone grew up with the subconscious idea that Americans “don’t/can’t go into those fields”‘ then your thesis doesn’t hold up. Most PhD STEM programs in the US are dominated by foreign students – particularly asian and middle eastern students. The lack of black PhD students is as much a measure of the lack of lack of a pipeline from universities in Africa to the US combined with the attitude in the US that high paying jobs right after a BS or MS is earned are a better opportunity than 5-7 years earning a PhD that unless you’re going into research or teaching isn’t going to provide significant new opportunities.

    In talking to girls about possible career paths, disciplines like CS routinely get shot down not because they’re hard, but why would they want to spend a career sitting behind a computer in a cubicle somewhere? They’re almost always looking at careers with a social benefit of some sort. But the social benefits of STEM disciplines are almost never emphasized in school at that level. Nobody in the 5th grade is talking about the benefit of a good sanitation infrastructure to public health – science tends to be very micro, and engineering is completely invisible. But when you talk about how civil engineers design public works to bring clean water to communities, their interest perks up significantly. If we want more women in CS, we should be talking more about software for medical devices than Angry Birds.

  31. 31
    👽 Martin says:

    @Yutsano:

    Bunch of us standing around doing nothing

    So, just another day as a government employee, eh?

    BOOM!

    /teatard

  32. 32
    Drew says:

    @KG: not that I’m a SCOTUS or con law scholar, but it seems to be pretty inconsistent. I remember reading in either torts or civ pro about a police brutality case being thrown out for mootness. I think it was because he couldn’t prove a likelihood of the same officer beating the piss out of him again. Don’t remember. With all our states and federal appellate courts I have no idea

  33. 33
    Drew says:

    I should add that I certainly understand the logic behind a case or controversy requirement and that its in Article III. I don’t think it’s abused, but I think when invoked it generally seems to mean “don’t feel like deciding this sort of issue now”

  34. 34
    sparrow says:

    @👽 Martin: I don’t think we’re arguing against each other, but let me chime in as a very recent female graduate of a Physics PhD program. Domestic students can EASILY get into a PhD program (outside of the top 20 or so), even if they totally bomb the physics GRE. The chair of my (ranked 20-something) school told me they take every domestic student “they dare to” because of the imbalance. The US students are simply not prepared. I was the only domestic in my class to make it without failing out. Meanwhile the chinese kids are killing themselves to get a perfect GRE and win the lottery to come to the US. It’s very rare for them to fail out of the program.

  35. 35
    AHH onna Droid says:

    @Interrobang: Women are also the victims of biased tracking in the primary school system. Period. So there is a need for affirmative action and recruiting to hold the door open while self esteem and maturity and autonomy belated ly catch up.

    I have a good friend working at Mit Lincoln Labs who switched majors from history to physics in junior year of college.

    Her elementary math teacher told her mom she was retarded.

Comments are closed.