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Diversity Technology

Caltech: Glimmer and Glomming

Susan Kitchens points out that the number of women in the freshmen class at Caltech has increased from 28.5 last year to 37 percent this year. That’s a significant rise, even though it doesn’t match other tech colleges (42 to 47 percent), or colleges in general (with 57 percent women).

Interesting how Caltech increased the enrollment of women:

Caltech officials said the school did not lower its admission standards, but did more actively and shrewdly recruit women this year.

For example, Caltech made its female applicants more aware that they could be physics majors but also study music and literature, said Rick Bischoff, director of undergraduate admissions.

“That’s not to say men are not interested in those issues,” but those seem to resonate more with women, Bischoff said.

In other words, Caltech made a specific decision to increase women’s participation, pursued such actively and was successful. In some circles hereabouts, the feelings seem to be that actively recruiting women as participants is equivalent to ‘lowering’ the overall quality of the participants.

Susan, and the article, both mention the concept of ‘glomming’, where groups of young men at Caltech will follow a young woman around, lie in wait for her, and sit staring at her.

Personally, everyone participating in this should be expelled from school. Such juvenile behavior belongs in Kindergarten, not college. Perhaps if these boys would be encouraged to take literature and music, they might act like well-rounded and healthy men.

The only issue I have with all of this is that I hope that bringing more women into Caltech isn’t seen as a way of making the educational experience better for the men–you know, more dates for the poor geeks. We do not exist to keep you guys from feeling lonely.

We don’t exist for you guys at all.