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gender bias, racial privilege, affirmative action


This mini commentary is written in response to a public speech made by Lawrence Summers, then President of Harvard University in 2005 in which he asserted that the under-representation of women in science and engineering may be due in part to biological differences in abilities between women and men. This commentary argues that Summers' remarks constitute a brief against affirmative action for women stated so broadly that it easily encompasses objections to affirmative action for blacks and other non-white Americans. It concludes that our inability or unwillingness to make connections between gender bias and racial privilege helps to maintain a status quo dominated by affluent, white males, a situation that disadvantages us all.

Publication Citation

11 Cardozo Women's Law Journal 501 (2005).


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law | Law and Gender