The leaders of eleven women’s organizations in Michigan issued a statement yesterday opposing equal treatment of men and women, blacks and whites — opposing, that is, what they termed ” “the deceptively titled” Michigan Civil Rights Initiative — and supporting preferences for themselves and their members.
“Oftentimes, affirmative action is viewed as a tool that solely benefits people of color. However, it is important to remember that affirmative action benefits women as well — regardless of race or color,” concluded Anita Bowden of the Michigan Council of the YWCA. “In fact, women are the most frequent beneficiaries of and will lose most if affirmative action is lost.”
“We stand in opposition to Ward Connerly’s deceptively titled “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative,” said Diane Neth Covel, Director of Public Policy, Michigan AAUW. “We will continue to support policies that increase the diversity of Michigan’s educational institutions and workplaces.”
Fern Ettinger of the National Council of Jewish Women emphasized the importance of diversity, stating, “The case for diversity in higher education is indeed compelling. Our country cannot afford to ignore equal opportunity and access for women in education. Our future leaders must be educated in a classroom as diverse as the challenges we face.”
I’ve not seen recent figures, nor taken the trouble to find them, but as recently as 1997 women were certainly not underrepresented at the University of Michigan. That year, “the incoming freshman class was evenly split between men and women … with 2,762 entering freshmen who are women and 2,772 men. Overall, the student body includes 17,435 women and 19,560 men.”