March 29, 2007

The Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative: is it illegal because it's only for men?

The National Organization for Women thinks so.
[They say the initiative] violates Title IX, the law that prevents sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and is best known for forcing universities to offer comparable sports programs for men and women.

"What we're asking them to do is to make sure that the grantees provide equal services to women and men," said Kathy Rodgers, president of Legal Momentum. "It should be a parenthood initiative."...

"If a woman says she wants to apply and it's not happening, we want to know about it," said Tara Walker, at the Administration for Children and Families, the HHS agency that oversees the grants. "Yes, fathers are the target group, but at the same time allowing equal access is required."

Problem solved? Not exactly, said NOW President Kim Gandy: "The proposals they received and funded clearly indicate that they only intend to serve fathers."

52 comments:

peter hoh said...

I totally remember NOW dissing on those federal grants to help encourage girls in science.

Gahrie said...

Yeah..they oppose WIC too...right?

Timothy K. Morris said...

I seem to have slipped through a looking glass without noticing. Can an organization/institution be insane? Apparently.

George said...

NOW is one of the national members of "United for Peace & Justice," (UPJ) an umbrella group that opposes the Iraq War.

Go to the UPJ website and click on the "share our goals" link near the top center. You'll get a downloaded file that lists NOW with other groups like, oh, the Communist Party USA, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, the International Socialist Organization, Young Koreans United (a N. Korean front group), National Network on Cuba, and the Young Communist League. Probably just like the Boy Scouts...

http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?list=type&type=27

Al Maviva said...

NOW and the old-line (second generation) feminist groups have a really bass-ackwards way of looking at the world. I think they are more interested in enforcing equality of outcomes, rather than equality of opportunity.

NOW's approach to olympic powerlifting wouldn't be to encourage women to compete against women, it would be to limit how much men could lift, so everybody could be equal. It's a particularly oppressive view of equality that NOW espouses - not advocating equal freedom for people to fly as high as their abilities and desire can take them, but a more Soviet vision of cutting down all the trees so they are at the same equal level.

As for this particular initiative, as soon as we have huge societal problem stemming from women going around and impregnating men and then running off, NOW will have a point. As it is, they should probably oppose funding for ovarian cancer research, since that doesn't benefit men at all, and it's equality we're after, right?

Simon said...

I only have time for a quick pass, but title IX, codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. provides, inter alia, that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, ... be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance," unless they meet certain exceptions. I don't know the details of this program, but according to the WaPo story, the "HHS agency that oversees the grants ... [says that] fathers are the target group, but at the same time allowing equal access is required." If that's right, the operative question would seem to be whether there operation of the program creates a disparate impact (are mothers functionally, if not de jure, discriminated against or denied the benefit of), whether the Supreme Court has recognized a disparate impact test for Title IX (a very quick search-and-glance expedition doesn't seem to turn up any cases applying Title IX to comparable facts, but it was a very quick pass), and whether this program actually falls as squarely into the § 1681(a)(8) exception ("this section shall not preclude father-son or mother-daughter activities at an educational institution, but if such activities are provided for students of one sex, opportunities for reasonably comparable activities shall be provided for students of the other sex"). Interesting story.

DaveG said...

I join NOW as a male? How about MADD? Not that I want to, mind you, but how exactly would the feel about it if I did? Just curious.

dbp said...

Hi Ann,

Net-net, I am pretty sure NOW hurts the feminist cause. They are the most well-known feminist group and whenever they come to the attention of the wider public, they come across as shrill and completly lacking in sense.

dbp

The Drill SGT said...

And I guess all those federally supported "take your daughter to work days" are prima facia evidence of Federal workplace discrimination as well. Impeach Bush Now!!

Every idiot should recognize that the most important thing that could be done for minority (and of course all) mothers and children would be to get fathers involved. but not NOW. The agenda is more important than outcomes.

paul a'barge said...

The agenda is more important than outcomes

The NOW agenda and the NOW outcomes are completely in sync... the promotion of the irrelevance of men/fathers.

Jack Shaftoe said...

Does this mean that federal funding for breast cancer research is illegal?

Zeb Quinn said...

There is nothing unusual, odd, or even surprising going on here. NOW doesn't want fathers involved, and keeping them uninvolved serves several purposes for them. And they get to scream discrimination too. Win-win.

Simon said...

Jack Shaftoe said...
"Does this mean that federal funding for breast cancer research is illegal?

DaveG said...
"I join NOW as a male? How about MADD?"

What do either of those have to do with what Title IX does and doesn't prohibit? I realize the urge to castigate and belittle NOW is strong (and I share it - "stop souter or women will die!") but I had thought they were making a specific allegation about a specific program under a specific law. I think the debate would be healthier if we contemplated whether they actually have a point in this case, instead of generalizing and abstracting to the perceived principal that animates their action.

Bruce Hayden said...

It shouldn't be that hard to rephrase the initiative to promote responsible parenting, but retaining the emphasis on deadbeat parents. And if 5% of the deadbeat parents are women, then fine. Preach to them and teach them responsibility too. But keep the sexes separate, so that you don't get two deadbeats joining up to raise a family even more irresponsibly.

Kirk Parker said...

"federally supported 'take your daughter to work days'"

Drill, are you serious? My tax dollars are being spent in furtherance of this? Gack....

Fen said...

NOW doesn't want fathers involved, and keeping them uninvolved serves several purposes for them.

Meanwhile, the African-American community devolves into chaos, with 80% born out of wedlock, and no partriarchal influence to reign in young males destined for prison.

Mark the Pundit said...

Then what to make of the WIC program - Women, Infants and Children?

Mortimer Brezny said...

I don't see why this case, but not the case involving wrestling programs, should make it.

Fen said...

I made a mistake in attacking the obvious. Simon is right:

I think the debate would be healthier if we contemplated whether they actually have a point in this case, instead of generalizing and abstracting to the perceived principal that animates their action.

Al Maviva said...

Simon, generally speaking, Title IX doesn't compel stupidity. For instance, a free clinic supported in part by HHS block grants doesn't have to offer vasectomies to women patients. It probably does have to offer tubal ligation, the female more-or-less equivalent medical service. Disparate impact? Sure. But at some point, even the dumbest ideologue realizes certain arguments are too breathtakingly stupid to make.

If the problem is men impregnating women and ditching the family (70%+ of the African American community is now born out of wedlock, with no male parent to be found) then it seems to me Title IX would countenance a program that addresses what appears to be a male problem - bad daddy syndrome or whatever you want to call it. Study after study makes clear the impact, especially on young boys, of an absent father who does not support the family or the child in any way. Making the program open to women who want to attend grants equal access, as a legal matter - in this way it is comparable to an African-American studies course that allows white students to register. What's the problem?

Otherwise, if you take the literalist interpretation of Title IX, you get into the business of trying to counsel women to stop getting men pregnant, running off and failing to pay child support after the man gives birth.

If you think that's what the law dictates, then you probably think that men ought to be given free tubal ligations too...

And BTW, disparate impact is only applicable as a cause of action in the employment law context. Outside of that context it *may* be considered, if relevant, as evidence of discrimination, but it is not a stand-alone clause. Otherwise any racial or ethnic (or perhaps gender) disparity in any sphere of life would constitute a cause of action for discrimination. For instance the lack of short white women of Swedish descent in the NBA would be prima facie evidence of race, sex and ethnic discrimination on the part of the NBA....

SteveR said...

Sometimes when I've seen Kim Gandy interviewed, she has come across to me as kinda cute in a way. Do you think she would like that?

Fitz said...

Although the posts above have salient remarks regarding the presence of gender exclusive, pro-female government initiatives that NOW supports regardless of their reading of the equal protection statute: That really missies the point.

Notice how they are quoted as saying it should support ”parenting”

The real reason behind attacking such programs is they are designed to strengthen the archaic and patriarchal institution of marriage. This institution, the ultimate Bourgeoisie institution…is public enemy #1 for feminism. (always has been)

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I join NOW as a male? How about MADD?

NOW and MADD both accept male members (NOW probably with a eunique status {pun intended}), and as a private club would not be subject to Federal equality laws under Title IX.

Does this mean that federal funding for breast cancer research is illegal?

Reasearch, no, but any Federal dolars spent on EDUCATION about breast cancer, ovarian cancer or testicular cancer has to be open to both men and women, under Title IX, or at least my interpretaion of it.

Al Maviva said...

You are of course correct, Fitz, that the neo-Marxist goal underlying a lot of gender / sexual preference radicalism, at least for the leaders of the movement, is the breakdown of traditional social ordering. (Hey, don't blame me, House & Lunch, it's right there in Marcuse' turgid books). The battlespace for this particular argument in the KulturKampf is Title IX, so I kind of restricted my arguments to that arena. Yes, the larger argument applies, but if you link Kim Gandy to Antonio Gramsci, people will accuse you of thinking like Stanley Kurtz, and then you won't get invited to any good cocktail parties any longer.

A good neo-Marxist, of course, would revel in the absurd results produced by Title IX so long as it led in turn to a devaluation of the rule of law. ("We had to cut all the men's sports except hoops and football, so that we could gin up an equal number of female athletes from our mostly disinterested female students, in order to enforce equality.") A lot of social wedge issues are like that, at least for the people on the leading edge of the movements.

Elizabeth said...

so that we could gin up an equal number of female athletes from our mostly disinterested female students, in order to enforce equality

Do you pay any attention to college women's sports? Apparently not. "Disinterested" is pure bullshit. All the women's sports scholarships where I teach are sought after, and the competition for them is heavy.

Fen said...

Do you pay any attention to college women's sports? Apparently not. "Disinterested" is pure bullshit. All the women's sports scholarships where I teach are sought after, and the competition for them is heavy.

But how is the attendence?

I'm not bashing women's sports, I'm just pointing out that college's treat women's sports unequally due to revenue, not prejudice. That speaks more to the problem of colleges acting as "talent farms" for the NFL and NBA than anything else.

Jacques Albert said...

Best solution to the Title IX sports equality issue is altogether to abolish intercollegiate sports, which have absolutely nothing to do with higher education and promote corruption and criminality on campuses everywhere. But for now, perhaps a compromise may be struck, limiting intercollegiate competitions to chess, Scrabble, cribbage and croquet. . . .

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

This is off topic, but I have alwys maintained that colleges should spin off their 'farm teams' and use them like they do campus radio stations.

Let the pros play on the farm team & pay them with real cash instead of scholarships, then form a team of real students who can use the facilities when the semipros are on the road to represent the school.

The semi pro team can then become a cash cow for the school and they can remove these sports from the Title IX guidelines. A win-win for everybody but NOW, which does not make it a bad thing!

Thorley Winston said...

Best solution to the Title IX sports equality issue is altogether to abolish intercollegiate sports, which have absolutely nothing to do with higher education

You mean other than the fact that they’re usually a source of revenue for the university and without that revenue stream, higher education would be even more expensive than it already is.

Pastor_Jeff said...

There are conflciting reports on whether the classes are open to women. Let's agree that under Title IX they should be.

So if the classes were to be open to women, what's the problem?

Is it that NOW doesn't want the government sponsoring anything that addresses challenges or needs unique to men? Is the ultimate goal to use Title IX to enforce the ERA without having to ask the people if that's what they want?

MadisonMan said...

You mean other than the fact that they’re usually a source of revenue for the university and without that revenue stream, higher education would be even more expensive than it already is.

That's nonsense. At least at the UW, Athletic Monies are jealously guarded by the Athletic Department. I have no reason to believe things are different at any other campus. It's not like Football Ticket sales are supporting the salary of any English Instructors.

Jacques Albert said...

To Thorley Wilson:
Intercollegiate sports are NOT a source of revenues for colleges and universities, according to a thorough AAUP study several years ago; quite the contrary--they're a financial drain.
And even if they were, that still leaves the question of their connexion with taxpayer-financed higher education unexplained, for, rather than gladiatorial combats such as American football, basketball and wrestling, why not the more pacific, lucrative, metaphorical and perhaps even more reputable combats taking place in casinos and brothels? Isn't it disgraceful that semi-literate major sports capos who "run" their gladiators and gladiatrices (attended by hundreds of sports-programme drones, all of whose snouts are in the public trough) are often paid several times more than our nation's president to operate a seedy and wasteful public entertainment industry?

Jeff said...

NOW is the National Organization for Women, not the National Organization for Equality. Their interest is in advancing the (perceived) interests of women, period. They don't want a level playing field, they want preferential treatment for women as befits their "vulnerable minority" status while retaining select privileges accorded to women by traditional Western chivalry.

Pogo said...

NOW's position hasn't changed at all.

"Down with the patriarchy" means exactly that.

blake said...

Fen,

I believe Jacques is right about the financial drain part.

I remember a scandal at CSUN where women's sports programs had been canceled due to lack of funding and the argument was made that they weren't profitable--but the books showed that men's sports were also not profitable. (Actually, the amount of money lost made me wonder why they did sports at all.)

If you think about it, it's not really all that surprising that there'd be an "old boys' club" mentality in what are among the oldest boys' clubs, after all.

Anyone remember the Nike "If you let me play sports" commercial? I got choked up every single damn time I saw it. (Never bought a pair of Nikes, tho'.)

MrBuddwing said...

For what it's worth, it's no longer referred to as "Take Our Daughters to Work Day," it's now "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day." And I'm not convinced that it's federally funded.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take_our_daughters_and_sons_to_work_day

Thorley Winston said...

Intercollegiate sports are NOT a source of revenues for colleges and universities, according to a thorough AAUP study several years ago; quite the contrary--they're a financial drain.

My understanding is that generally football, basketball, and hockey are net revenue generators but other sports tend to lose money (although the revenue generated by the money-makers may exceed the losses). Plus having a sports team provides financial benefits in the form of publicity for the university and in fundraising. In which case, get rid of Title IX (or at least amend it) and let the universities decide which sports to have or not and they can retain the profitable ones without having the ones that lose money.

Richard Fagin said...

so is the WIC (women, infants and children) program illegal because it does not include men? Huh? Huh? Jeez. Thanks, gahrie you stole my thunder.

Beth said...

Fen, that's a good point about NFL/NBA talent farms. Our attendance is low for all sports, men's and women's, because we're an urban university, a "commuter school" with a high percentage of non-traditional students. But when our more popular men's or women's teams (basketball for both, men's baseball and women's volleyball) make it to playoffs, we do okay. Our big sister down the road, LSU, sells out its women's basketball season, so disinterest certainly doesn't apply there.

peter hoh said...

I know a certain two year old girl who would like to register a complaint that she is not able to pee outside the way her four year old brother can. Can we make a federal case out of this?

tiffany said...

Gandy is right, just the name would put off any woman wanting to apply. I would not as I assumed that it was for men. I completely support the changing of these aspects.

tiffany said...

As to WIC it specifically applies to pregnant and nursing women. should any man decide to nurses a child (this is completely biologically and currently medically possible) i encourage them to take on the system. Until /one/ man decides to do this why should they be included?

Mortimer Brezny said...

Until /one/ man decides to do this why should they be included?

Because equality means equality and it is not a matter of deciding. You are saying that women's distinct biological capacities privilege them to receive federal funds that men cannot, which is discriminating against men because they are men.

Richard Fagin said...

Tiffany, men should be included in WIC for the same reason women should be included in the responsible fatherhood initiative, which is to say they shouldn't. Men can nurse infants with a bottle, and women can be sperm implanters with suitable medical instruments.

NOW reminds me so much of the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII - they vent their extreme hostility at perceived second class status in any way they can get away with. If NOW member soldiers, pity the other side's POW's (if they were white men).

Mortimer Brezny said...

Men can nurse infants with a bottle, and women can be sperm implanters with suitable medical instruments.

And yet there is exclusion. That is why both programs are unconstitutional.

From Inwood said...

To paraphrase Hill:

"And men are going to have to take better care of themselves. We cannot afford all the illness that men are bringing on themselves."

Al Maviva said...

Do you pay any attention to college women's sports? Apparently not.

Nice way to throw out a factoid to call BS, Elizabeth. Well reasoned, too.

I actually represented some male athletes in a Title IX matter a number of years ago, and used to be counsel to a couple semi-pro sports teams. I know a lot about sports business, and know a little about collegiate sports business. I know for a fact that female interest in playing intercollegiate sports is much lower than male interest in playing intercollegiate sports, and I also know that revenue-generating women's sports are pretty much non-existent outside of pro tennis and golf; forget about women's collegiate sports. I also know that in schools that enforce based on 50/50 division of athletic scholarships (rather than allocating scholarships proportionally based on periodically measured student interest), men who don't play football or basketball are out of luck. Buh-bye men's gymnastics, track, swimming, hockey, baseball, and most of all wrestling. My clients and I found it somewhat ironic that a number of schools that eliminated the non-revenue men's sports in order to achieve equality, were unable to give away all their athletic scholarships for the many female teams, because there just wasn't the interest in a fair percentage of the women's sports. Yep, soccer and hoops are popular, but women's crew? Great sport, hard to fill up a squad, even with scholarships.

I also know for a fact that men's D-I basketball and football, especially the major (BCS) programs, are typically the funding source for most of the other sports programs in the university. Stat of the day - Duke women's basketball, which is one of the most successful programs in the country, a team where most games have good home attendance, loses $3 million per year. Men's hoop funds the women's teams opportunities. Yet at the same time the lucky few men who play the right sports and who are possessed of freakish genetic ability (which you pretty much have to have, to play D-I football or roundball on a BCS caliber team) subsidize all the women's teams. Anything strike you as inequitable about that, E? Does the racial breakdown of the male athletes whose efforts support the female programs ever concern you?

As for Men's basketball and football not being a money maker, it depends on how you define "money maker." In terms of value to the university, admissions counselors will tell you that a final four run or a national football championship will improve the quality of applicants considerably, and can double or quadruple the number of applicants to a school - especially out of state students at the elite public institutions, who are an important source of much-higher-then-in-state tuition payments. The marketing value of successful Men's football and basketball teams to is not a nullity.

So I think you are a little bit off base, Elizabeth. I do pay attention to a lot of Title IX issues. More importantly than the boutique Title IX issue of sports, I'm concerned that the percentage of males attending college looks about ready to slip under 40% - and it only stays that high because colleges are applying affirmative action in favor of boys. What is happening to boys in the elementary and secondary school systems is the real Title IX issue. But I guess it's more fun to moan about women's hoops coaches at BCS schools don't get paid as much as, say, Roy Brown or Mike Krzyzewski, rather than worry about why education is apparently turning into a hostile environment for boys.

Elizabeth said...

Al,

You toss out the term "disinterested" and then want to move the goalposts, as it were. Less interest in women's sports? No one's denying it. Disinterest? Nothing you write here upholds that term, which is exactly what I replied to.

You also shift the argument at the end, from Title IX and sports to a "hostile" environment in education for males. Why is that a zero sum game? I can't moan about coaches' salaries (which of course I haven't done here, so that was, to quote, well-reasoned of you), and also be concerned about boys in junior high and high school? I don't see any dilemma there.

And no, it doesn't bother me that revenue-generating men's sports finance women's in college. Sports are a side business in college; why are we supporting them at all with taxes and tuition? If we choose to, and have to move money around to keep some balance going, that's fine with me. Nor do I see any relevance to your reference to black men being part of the teams doing that financing. What does that matter? Does it matter to you that many of the women on the basketball, track, and volleyball teams being subsidized by male athletic programs are black?

It bothers me a whole lot that starting in junior high, maybe even earlier, black males are encouraged to aim for a sports scholarship rather than to become good scholars. That's a problem worth addressing. There's no reason that atheletes shouldn't achieve in both arenas.

Galvanized said...

Just wondering if there are any government-funded programs that serve strictly women -- shelters, job training programs, childcare. NOW has no problem with sexism working in their favor, then? I guess that organizations can target and serve specific groups, but the government no longer can. Otherwise, NOW would be NOP. So reverse discrimination is fine, then. I'm sure some very secure men probably belong to NOW, and they should be also represented in the name.

rafinlay said...

Actually, I think women shuold be actively recruited to the "better fathering" class. Men will be better fathers if the women demand it, and not acquiesce in becoming mothers without it.

TMink said...

Rafinlay wrote: "Men will be better fathers if the women demand it, and not acquiesce in becoming mothers without it."

Now that is some pro choice that I could really get behind.

Trey

TMink said...

Rafinlay wrote: "Men will be better fathers if the women demand it, and not acquiesce in becoming mothers without it."

Now that is some pro choice that I could really get behind.

Trey