He mocks Donna Shalala (the committee chair) for beginning the report with the story of how she was denied tenure three decades ago and then burying the news that women in science and engineering today are just as likely to get tenure as men.
You can get a sense of its spirit of inquiry from “findings” like this one: “The academic success of girls now equals or exceeds that of boys at the high school and college levels, rendering moot all discussions of the biological and social factors that once produced sex differences in achievement at these levels.”There's a really obvious joke -- just asking to be made -- attributing the lack of scientific rigor to the fact that the panel had so many women on it. But that's just a bad joke. The serious point is that it never was a scientific project. That they let that show is also a joke, but a good one. It saves us the trouble of taking the report seriously, which really isn't a joke at all. There may very well be a real problem in the way women are treated in science and engineering, and they've just encouraged us to shrug it off.
It may seem moot to the Shalala committee, composed mainly of university administrators and scientists who don’t study sex differences (or are hostile to the idea that they exist). But it’s not moot to the scientists who’ve documented persistent differences.
I consulted half a dozen of these experts about the report, and they all dismissed it as a triumph of politics over science. It’s classic rent-seeking by a special-interest group that stands to get more money and jobs if the recommendations are adopted.
“I am embarrassed,” said Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware, “that this female-dominated panel of scientists would ignore decades of scientific evidence to justify an already disproved conclusion, namely, that the sexes do not differ in career-relevant interests and abilities.”