Amid bad-faith and ignorant attacks from an organization dead set on protecting male privilege, Georgetown University must continue to promote the achievement and success of women.
Women face societal discrimination both within and beyond Georgetown’s front gates. To help combat this bias, the university supports an array of programs focused on promoting women’s success.
The National Coalition for Men filed a Title IX complaint against Georgetown on Oct. 3. The complaint was premised on a belief that the university is discriminating against men by offering “resources, funding, fellowships, and scholarships that are available to women only.”
The complaint calls for the dissolution of 18 groups meant to support women, such as the women’s and gender studies program, the Georgetown Women’s Center and Women Who Code. These programs have provided a space for women to be supported and empowered; the university must stand strong behind them.
Aside from denigrating an important group of resources, the complaint fundamentally misunderstands the intent of Title IX.
Title IX was created to protect individuals from discrimination based on sex in federally funded educational institutions. At the time — and still today — most victims of sex-based discrimination are female. The organizations the NCM names in its complaint are not merely protected under Title IX: Their mission of promoting equity across sex aligns perfectly with Title IX’s purpose.
The goals of Title IX are especially important at Georgetown: Although women make up 56 percent of Georgetown undergraduates, they are severely underrepresented in both administrative and student leadership.
Only six of 27 senators in the Georgetown University Student Association are women; the freshman class does not have any female senators, and only one woman emerged victorious from GUSA’s most recent elections. Georgetown’s board of directors showcases similarly uneven representation: Only 10 of the board’s 39 members are women.
On a campus run almost entirely by men, spaces meant to support women are especially important. The university must continue to lend its support.
For example, the Women’s Center aims to combat discrimination against women “through a commitment to educate, advocate and care for the whole person,” according to its website. One of the program’s most important recent efforts toward this goal is the Biondi Copeland Lecture Series, which began in March 2016 to promote female leaders speaking on topics such as women in leadership, education and academia. This kind of programming is essential for a campus dominated by men and a country biased against high-achieving women.
The NCM’s complaint also ignores the effects of gender discrimination on employment.
Although women make up 54 percent of the U.S. labor force, only 2 percent of CEOs in the S&P 500 company index are women, and only 29 percent are executive or senior-level managers, according to think tank Center for American Progress. Furthermore, a 2017 report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which researches women’s status in the United States, found that female full-time, year-round workers are paid 80.5 percent of what their male counterparts make.
Georgetown must make every effort to support female students as they enter a general workforce with built-in hostility toward their success.
The NCM’s complaint also displays a profound misunderstanding of the institutions the organization seeks to destroy.
Counter to the coalition’s apparent beliefs, the programs it derides are inclusive of all genders. No one is barred from participating in their advocacy work because of their gender, nor is anyone at Georgetown prohibited from reaping the external benefits of a campus community in which women feel valued and supported.
Societal bias against women manifests itself on Georgetown’s campus and far beyond. This hostility toward female success necessitates resources that focus specifically on women and women’s issues without barring anyone from entry. The NCM’s complaint flatly ignores this reality, choosing instead to blind itself to both historical and current contexts in a quest to perpetuate misogyny.
Georgetown’s women’s and gender studies program helps students develop their “knowledge about women, men, gender, and sexuality in all their diversity and encourages the critical interrogation of traditional academic disciplines,” according to its website.
Perhaps the NCM would benefit from a course or two.
The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and is chaired by the Opinion Editor. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.