Women barred from Harvard presidency by “genetic predisposition,” study finds
CAMBRIDGE, MA (AP)– Researchers unveiled today a startling new study that suggests women are “extremely unlikely” to become president of Harvard University, and that women’s “distinctive genetic makeup” plays “a decisive role” in preventing them from becoming top-level administrators at the nation’s oldest college.
“Traditionally, presidents of Harvard have been men,” said Harvard geneticist Charles Kinbote, the study’s designer and principal investigator. “Now, after almost 400 years, we know why. To coin a phrase, it’s in the genes.”
According to Kinbote, the presidency of Harvard University requires a unique array of talents and dispositions which, statistically, only a small handful of women possess. “For one thing,” noted Kinbote, “it has long been one of the president’s tasks to deny tenure to promising female scholars– personally, without stated cause, and after a department, a college, and a battery of external referees has approved her. My study shows that the X chromosome contains material that, in combination with another X chromosome, inhibits a person’s ability to do this.”
Men are also more adept than women at mentally rotating three-dimensional shapes on aptitude tests, Kinbote added. “You’d be surprised how often a university president needs to do this, and at Harvard the pressure is especially intense.” Kinbote estimated that the president of Harvard spends roughly one-quarter of the working may mentally rotating complex, hypothetical three-dimensional shapes, “and that’s not even counting all the time he needs to try to figure out why women aren’t as skilled at abstract mathematical thought.”
The X chromosome also seems to play a role in suppressing the ability to make fatuous remarks in public forums. “If you want to be president of Harvard,” Kinbote said, “you have to be willing to get up there and just let it fly, no matter what the facts are and no matter what the consequences may be. Not just in off-the-cuff remarks– anybody can do that– but in carefully considered, prepared statements. It appears that once again, the X chromosome works, when paired with another X, as an inhibiting factor in all but a tiny fraction of the female population.” That tiny fraction, Kinbote suggested, would be the subject of a subsequent study into the biochemical basis of Coulter Syndrome.
A poll of 21 countries published yesterday – reflecting opinion in Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia and Europe – showed that a clear majority have grave fears about the next four years.
Fifty-eight per cent of the 22,000 who took part in the poll, commissioned by the BBC World Service, said they expected Mr Bush to have a negative impact on peace and security, compared with only 26% who considered him a positive force.
The survey also indicated for the first time that dislike of Mr Bush is translating into a dislike of Americans in general.