- A review of some 200 colleges found more than half (57%) offer scholarships that discriminate on the basis of sex, according to the nonprofit Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), a group that advocates for those accused of sexual assault and domestic violence.
- SAVE is considering filing federal complaints against 185 institutions, the Los Angeles Times reported. It argues that these programs, many of which are gender-specific awards in STEM fields, discriminate against men.
- However, the National Women's Law Center (NWLC)'s Emily Martin told the Times that Title IX allows such scholarships to counter longtime conditions causing one gender's "limited participation" in an educational program.
Industry and academia have poured resources into solving STEM's gender diversity woes, with mixed results.
Although women account for slightly less than half (47%) of the U.S. workforce, they make up just 25% of information technology workers, according to a 2018 report from the International Data Corporation. An even smaller share have computer science (18%) or programming (13%) degrees.
The issue of gender diversity in STEM speaks to structural issues within those industries. Key elements include workplace culture, a lack of representation among senior leadership and the gender pay gap.
That imbalance could persist. For instance, men will likely make up the majority of the computer science field in 2100 unless a dramatic shift occurs, according to research from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence that examined trends in research paper authorship.
A possible challenge from SAVE could blunt colleges' efforts to address those inequities.
Already, institutions are batting back challenges from groups that say their current policies discriminate against men.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights launched investigations into complaints against women-only scholarships and organizations at a handful of colleges and universities. Some institutions are reconsidering their policies in light of the challenge, NBC reported.