Friday, October 22, 2010

the right to discriminate

I couldn't agree more with the sentiments expressed in this editorial about the Boy Scouts of America choosing to discriminate which people can and cannot be affiliated.

As a private organization it is their right to choose who can and cannot participate in Boy Scouts, but as an American who supports diversity, and equality, I can choose not to support their bigotry.
"But if someone willingly joins a private club that discriminates against a particular segment of the population, then each time that person pays dues or attends a meeting, he or she is indirectly expressing agreement with the discriminatory policy."
I don't know the history previous, but finally, five years after I suggested it (and it was unceremoniously shot down), some turnover in leadership, and the efforts of several other people, the mission of the Graduate Women in Science, GWIS, are now gender neutral. As a woman in Science I think that working towards gender equity should be the primary goal, not inadvertently (or purposefully) discriminating against men. Further, we also now open membership to anyone who has a Bachelor's degree in a STEM-related field and supports the mission of our organization.

While I can understand that discrimination against women has left a huge scar on the collective psyche of women scientists, even those just 5 or 10 years more advanced than myself, I really do believe that the only way to move forward is to be inclusive, to not fall prey to an "us versus them" mentality. We need to listen to and genuinely consider the viewpoints of both men and women (and transgender individuals) when working towards policy changes, and having active participation from all parties can only make us stronger.

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