I am oft irked when politicians use the the term “equality”. All too often I get a sick feeling in my gut that what they are really advocating is homogeneity. Allow me to use Title IX as an example. In strict letter, Title IX insists on equality. No one should be favored or disfavored because of sex. However, the suggestion too often is that because there are less women in Math and Engineering, they should receive more grants, scholarships and “encouragement” to participate. Offering a disproportionate amount of support for women, in my mind, is against the equality and fairness explicit in Title IX, but rather pushes for homogeneity.
I’ve realized over the years that as a white male I am excluded from many opportunities. I try not to complain, as my opportunities are still great, but I cringe at the idea that in order to give the appearance of equality, schools and businesses must fill a quota of minority positions. With the ideal of equality, the best applicants should be hired, even if all of them are Hispanic, Buddhist, female, or (heaven forbid) white men. If 1 out of 100 applicants is a woman, her chances should be 1 : 100.
I insist that men and women are different. People from different cultures value different things. I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be in the hard sciences. I am saying let people compete in their desired field on level ground, even if it makes the demographics less diverse. We need to stop imposing a quota on how many people in a workplace or university department must come from a particular background. The numbers never will balance out perfectly, but perhaps we can finally achieve our goal of equality.