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Christina Hoff Sommers: ‘Women are the Privileged Sex in Education’

In an interview with The Dartmouth Review, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Christina Hoff Sommers, spoke about feminism, political correctness, and the state of free expression on college campuses.

In the interview, Sommers argued that girls and women are the privileged sex when it comes to educational status.

Girls and women are the privileged sex in education. From preschool to graduate school, and across ethnic and class lines, women get better grades, they win most of the honors and prizes, and they’re far more likely to go to college. Today women earn a majority of bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees. Latino girls are now slightly more likely to attend college than white boys. When an education policy analyst looked at current trends in higher education he quipped, only half in jest, “The last male will graduate from college in 2068.” Our schools have offered untold number of admirable and effective programs to strengthen girls in areas where they languished—in sports, math, and science. Where are the programs to help boys in areas where they falter: reading, writing, grades, school engagement and college matriculation? So far Congress, schools of education, school boards and the Department of Education have looked the other way.

She also argued that universities must move away from identity politics if they are to return to a place where all ideas are welcome to be explored.

To save themselves universities must overcome their obsession with identity politics. There are too many classes focused on narrow topics: too few on transcendent works of genius. Students complain, “I don’t see myself in the curriculum.” You are not supposed to. The purpose of education is to take you outside yourself into a larger world. Conservative scholars can’t do much to turn things around. They have all but disappeared from campus. So it’s up to liberal academics to restore sanity. Will they do it? I’m not so sure. Anyone who challenges the identitarians will face a lot of hostility and be told the check their privilege. Who wants that? But there is one hopeful development. The University of Chicago has indicated that it will not be going the way of safe-space, trigger warnings and censorship. Some have suggested that universities need to be clear about their primary mission: They can pursue truth, at the expense of identity validation and emotional comfort–or they can choose comfort, and admit that they sometimes do so at the expense of truth. Either is fine, but at least students will have a choice.

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