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University Says Science is Sexist, Launches Feminist Biology Doctorate Program

Suggesting science research is too male dominated, this fall the University of Wisconsin-Madison will roll out a post-doctorate “feminist biology” program to counter the alleged sexism and get out from under “male, white, straight” viewpoints, organizers say.

The program will be under the school’s Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, rather than the biology department, as it strives to “uncover and reverse gender bias in biology,” the university states on its website.

Janet Hyde, director of the campus Center for Research on Gender & Women, said feminist biology “is raising new questions and suggesting novel solutions,” and described the new doctorate program as “the first in the nation – and probably the world.”

However, feminism and progressive science research have often crossed paths.

For example, a few years ago a female Duke University professor named a new fern genus she described as bisexual after popstar Lady Gaga, and said the different methods plants reproduce celebrate homosexuality in humans – a concept traced to the book “Evolution’s Rainbow” which detailed animals that show “odd behavior, homosexuality, or … human quirks.”

Feminist biology work also runs in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s past.

The late Dr. Ruth Bleier, a UW-Madison alumnus, physician and neuroscientist, is described as a founder of feminist biology who in 1984 wrote the book: “Science and Gender: A Critique of Biology and Its Theories on Women.”

“Feminist analysis in science has already revealed and challenged scientific errors resulting from gender bias on the part of scientists, including ways in which observer bias distorted our understanding of primate behavior,” Hyde said on the university’s website.

But this effort to push progressive science and feminist outlooks on research has met with criticism.

In an episode of The Factual Feminist, a weekly vlog by Christina Hoff Sommers through the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Sommers expressed skepticism about the University of Wisconsin-Madison program.

“Women are hardly ignored in biology. In fact, they have far surpassed men in earning biology degrees,” Sommers said.

She described the ways in which feminists have blown so-called sexist scientific discoveries out of proportion in the past, such as feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon who argued that “the male scientific approach was similar to that of a rapist who would take joy in violating Mother Nature and penetrating her secrets.”

“Make no mistake,” Sommers said, “this new program is not about getting more women into the field. It’s about promoting women with the right worldview.”

She added: “Memo to the women at the University of Wisconsin… we need good biologists, not agenda-driven politicized scientists.”

Nevertheless, the program is set to commence thanks in part to funding by the estate of Gertraude Wittig, who earned her doctorate in zoology and botany and worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture researching insect pathology and electron microscopy.

The program’s first post-doctoral fellow, Caroline VanSickle, begins her fellowship in September, when the program opens. VanSickle intends to continue her research on female human anatomy by exploring evolution in pelvis shapes and childbirth anatomy, according to the campus website.

“We aren’t doing science well if we ignore the ideas and research of people who aren’t male, white, straight, or rich,” VanSickle told Campus Reform,which first reported on the program. “Feminist science seeks to improve our understanding of the world by including people with different viewpoints. A more inclusive science means an opportunity to make new discoveries.”

College Fix contributor Claire E. Healey is a recent Grove City College graduate.

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IMAGE: Michael Porter / Flickr

Add to the Discussion

  • DaveHuberCF

    LOL. I’d turn in papers for this “program” similar to this guy’s: http://www.skepdic.com/sokal.html

  • Pence Gathright

    University of Wisconsin-Madison: never be surprised at the idiocy that prevails there.

  • MeMyselfandI

    Hmmm….I think it has more behind it than just Holder’s memo. Remember, this is the school where the faculty and President tried to railroad the lacrosse team over another non-existent rape.

    • Chapmac

      That was the Duke of Earl School of Criminal Justice.

  • Dynomutt

    Alumnus? Oh, I won’t correct you, it’s a trap.

  • RiseOfDivergents

    Science and Feminism are antonyms. I am confused!

  • Angela Rose Guerra

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  • Iluvguns

    The left loves science so much it is willing, even eager, to claim it all for themselves.

  • Celsius1939a

    As a former biologist I say to U of W at Madison — Pooh!

  • BaconLovingInfidel

    Hopefully, Mr. McLeod is awarded a hefty award out of Duke’s pocket. Duke is committed to abusing male students’ due process rights. They will only learn by being harshly punished in the courtroom.

  • BaconLovingInfidel

    This program appears to marginalize and devalue the transpersons narrative and its importance to objective biological science.

    Collegefix comments are screwed up. Same comment thread under multiple articles. Some sort of heteronormative cisgenderist white privilege oppressor conspiracy to control the commentary I’m sure.

  • jumper297

    The quote from Catharine MacKinnon should tell you everything you need to know, about her and the “movement.”

  • m

    This is what you get if you don’t need to hunt your food anymore (or doing the laundry by hand which was — thankfully — figured out by white male dominated technology lol.).

  • Whothehell Cares

    lol. Great Joke. Ha Ha

    What ? They’re serious ?

    LOL, HA HA

  • John Rew

    I know lets have a ministry of science and history to make sure that all discoveries are politically acceptable.If only George Orwell were here to see this. Stand to attention and wipe a tear from your eye big sister is here.

    • Ronald Munodawafa


  • Fraga123

    When will the Department of Lesbian Hydrodynamics be established?

  • Creationism included. LOL!! This proves that feminism is a cult for the mindless.