While perusing through the fascinating links provided by our fantastic Head Valkyrie, I stumbled across this article discussing a new way to increase female participation in math contests. Well, the method isn’t new, exactly – affirmative action’s been around for years. But it’s working – and by working, I mean it’s bringing more girls into math competitions – so that’s good, I guess.
Now, I’m no stranger to math and science competitions. I competed in the Science Olympiad in high school and I helped organize the MathCounts competition a few years ago, and I didn’t notice a particular lack of girls, though I didn’t notice a lot of them, either. So I think that anything bringing more girls into the realm of math, science and tech contests is a good thing. However, I can’t help thinking that, if this policy had been in place when I was competing, and I’d won, I’d constantly be wondering if I won because I was really the best, or because they’re looking to fill the quota.
However, like I said before, if it’s bringing in more girls, then that’s good. And it should be noted that this program isn’t giving girls an unfair advantage – it merely favors them if they’re on equal standing with the male competitors, and it’s promoting diversity, which I’m all for. I’m just hoping that it’ll be a temporary fix, and will become unnecessary later, when hopefully more girls will be interested in competing in these sorts of activities.