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Scott Yenor’s Comments are Not Just Sexist, They are an Epidemic of a Larger Problem

Scott Yenor, a political science professor at Boise State University, recently made statements at the National Conservatism Conference about women belonging in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. These comments have sparked lots of controversy on social media, in which a viral speech records of him saying that “women are more medicated, meddlesome, and quarrelsome than women need to be,” and “Every effort must be made not to recruit women into engineering, but rather to recruit and demand more of men who become engineers. Ditto for med school, and the law, and every trade.”

These comments are not unique to Yenor, but they are a show of the misogyny that still exists within higher education. This is especially true within fields that traditionally women were not a part of, or a field in which men are the majority. The field that Yenor is in and the fields that he is speaking on are all male dominated, but are rapidly becoming more equal. Yenor is clearly displeased with this change as he states several times that we should not be recruiting women so that they can focus on more “feminine goals such as homemaking and having children.” 

There is of course no problem with women wanting to be homemakers and have children, but allowing women the choice to pursue higher education in non-women dominated fields is a vital part of asking for equality in society. It is allowing women the choice to become engineers, scientists, biologists, teachers, homemakers or anything else that they want. The main thing that matters is allowing us to have the choice to do what we want with our life. 

This is not the first time that a professor at a public state-funded university has made controversial statements, and it won’t be the last time. It’s just a consideration that when a professor is representing a public university, we need to be mindful of how this shows the free thought of a university. 

A public university should be a place of free thinking, but also a place of encouragement for people to pursue higher learning. This shouldn’t involve discrimination. A student shouldn’t have to fear not passing a class because of the fact that a professor feels that a woman doesn’t belong in the field that they teach in. It also shouldn’t be a place where people aren’t welcomed into a major because of their sex. That is where the problem of misogyny lies in higher education. 

The comments that Yenor has made have not been without controversy. This is especially true with the comments that he has posted on his Twitter. This includes things such as a post on Twitter on December 1st, where he uses the classic “angry feminist” meme along with voicemails that he has received in response to his speech. This shows many things, including a lack of maturity that he possesses and his inability to take any forms of criticism. 

This is not the only controversial statement that Yenor has made, especially about women, “When men are overrepresented in disciplines such as engineering or physics, university leaders consider it a diversity crisis. Males are increasingly homeless and clueless in this female-­oriented world. They will not be leaders of families, much less of a great country.” 

Why do women’s accomplishments need to be viewed in detriment to men? 

I decided to ask women in my local university, who were studying stem fields, how they felt about the comments that Yenor made. I asked Gabriella Perez, a freshman studying biology, how she felt about the quotes mentioned above. In response to the statement about needing to recruit less women into engineering, she said “This quote makes me feel that he does not fully see how much work women put into getting where they are today. Women have to fight more than men to get the same place that men are. He believes that women should be housewives.”

I also asked Amber Diaz, a sophomore studying mechanical and aerospace engineering how she felt about the quote Yenor made in reference to men being overrepresented in disciplines such as engineering or psychics. “For the quote given above, I would highly disagree that the world is female-oriented because when you look at world leaders and leaders in science and medicine, there’s very few women to be found.” 

Overall, Yenor’s comments are not to be made lightly. In a place where we value higher education, we need to place strong values of equality as well. This is especially true in a public university, such as Boise State University. He is just a bigger symptom of sexism in higher education, in every field, not just STEM fields.

Holmes, A. B. (2021, December 3). Boise State alumna and a tenured professor react to Scott Yenor’s controversial statements. ktvb.com. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/local/208/boise-state-students-professors-react-scott-yenor-controversial-statements/277-4d53a6bb-d473-4c13-9f9e-900247073046.

Dionne, K. Y. (2019, August 19). Analysis | there’s a gender gap in political science. our series examines the problem – and looks at some solutions. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2021, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/19/theres-gender-gap-political-science-our-series-examines-problem-looks-some-solutions/. 

 Poonia, G. (2021, December 03). Boise State professor says women shouldn’t be taking                    spots from men in competitive fields. Retrieved from https://www.deseret.com/2021/12/3/22815879/professor-comments-about-women-saying-they-shouldnt-be-taking-spots-from-men-in-competitive-fields

Women Dominate College Majors That Lead to Lower-Paying Work. (2017, September 20). Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2017/04/women-dominate-college-majors-that-lead-to-lower-paying-work

Yenor’s work that was featured in this article:

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2021/11/sexual-counter-revolution

Hello! I am the social media editor for NMSU Hercampus! I am currently majoring in History Secondary Education and minoring in Spanish, Music and Religious Studies.
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