Can Larry Summers Be on the Panel?

By on May 12, 2005

The Chronicle of Higher Education (May 11, 2005) informs us that
Research on the biological and health differences between men and women remains a low priority at the National Institutes of Health, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Society for Women’s Health Research, despite what the society says is increasing evidence of the importance of such research. The society, a Washington-based advocacy organization, says research on sexual differences is necessary in all types of biological studies. But from 2000 to 2003, only about 3 percent of all grants awarded by the NIH went to projects on the differences between men and women, according to the report, although there was nearly a 20-percent increase in the total number of NIH grants.
The Society for Women’s Health Research may find such research important, but on a college campus it earns you a reprimand, unless, of course, it supports some favored ideological conclusion. On its website, the Society announces that it “encourages the study of sex differences between women and men that affect the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.” What makes such specific research possible, of course, is an unfettered science of rigorous inquiry that is free to explore sex-differences per se. Perhaps the Society should issue a general call for such unconfined inquiry. In the long run, that will serve everyone’s health—mental, physical, and intellectual.