01. 18. 2005
Harvard president says women suck at science
Harvard University's president, Lawrence Summers, told a conference audience last Friday that he believed it was genetics, not discrimination, that holds women back in the fields of science and engineering. Additionally, the enlightened Dr. Summers seemed to think it was a good thing anyway, since the child-rearing that women have to do makes them unable to work the long hours necessary to make significant professional contributions.
When questioned by the Boston Globe, Summers admitted that he may have made references to "innate differences" and that people merely "prefer to believe" that social factors play a part in why so few women pursue careers in science. Now however, Larry is not just backtracking, he claims it was all a misunderstanding. From his statement:
My remarks have been misconstrued as suggesting that women lack the ability to succeed at the highest levels of math and science. I did not say that, nor do I believe it. I am deeply committed to the advancement of women in science, and all of us have a crucial stake in accelerating progress toward that end.
Several people walked out of the conference, including MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins. In the three years that Summers has been president at Harvard, the number of senior positions offered to women has decreased annually.