By Ken Hanson
LANL is again offering a summer program aimed at giving young women the opportunity to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
In this program, involving over a hundred volunteer teachers/mentors, around 40 young women between 14 and 17 years old, will be immersed in a free, two-week intensive session covering physics, computer science, astrophysics, robotics, and machine learning. They will learn about the excitement of doing science and how to prepare for scientific careers.
What a wonderful experience for those young women! On the other hand, it is shameful that a similar program is not also offered to young men. After all, young men in that age bracket are also trying sort out their futures and could benefit from learning about what a scientific career entails.
Title IX, signed into law in 1972 by President Richard Nixon, stated: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” As we know, this law did much to promote women athletic programs at US universities, among other things.
It seems Title IX might apply to the LANL Summer Physics Camp for Young Women; it is educational in nature, it excludes people on the basis of gender and LANL receives Federal funding.
Why should the generous benefits made available to young women in the Summer Physics Camp not also be made available to young men to encourage them to consider a STEM career? In our country everyone wants, and deserves, to be treated fairly, without discrimination for any reason, including young men.