A political-science professor at one of Idaho’s top universities has sparked outrage after openly calling for women to be kept out of engineering, medical school, and law so that they can instead focus on “feminine goals” such as “homemaking and having children.”
Boise State University Scott Yenor, who previously served on far-right Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s task force investigating right-wing claims of “indoctrination” in schools, made the bizarre declaration during the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando in late October, the Idaho Statesman reports.
After his comments went viral on social media this week, female students and female lawmakers alike in Idaho said they are utterly freaked out.
“He has power. He has power to issue a grade. It’s disgusting. He needs to come into the current century, but it doesn’t sound like he will,” Boise State MBA student Emily Walton told the Statesman.
Yenor’s comments at the Oct. 31 event went well beyond sexist stereotypes, with the professor suggesting a nation could only be “great” if men and women were kept apart in their respective spheres.
“Young men must be respectable and responsible to inspire young women to be secure with feminine goals of homemaking and having children,” he told the crowd. “Every effort must be made not to recruit women into engineering, but rather to recruit and demand more of men who become engineers. Ditto for med school, and the law, and every trade,” he said.
He also expressed nostalgia for the time when “women used to have many children when the odds of dying in childbirth were actually very high,” apparently lamenting the availability of birth control.
Yenor has not yet commented publicly on the uproar over his comments, but after video of his speech went viral, he reshared it on Twitter and doubled down on his stance, writing that “our independent women are more medicated, meddlesome, and quarrelsome than women need to be.”
“Without connections to eternity delivered through their family, such women gain their meaning through their seeming participation in the global project,” he wrote.
While some students have called on the university to take action against the professor, a spokesperson for Boise State made clear in comments to the Statesman that Yenor will not face consequences.
“Boise State University understands that the open exchange of ideas, which is fundamental to education, can introduce uncomfortable and even offensive ideas,” Mike Sharp told the newspaper. “However, the university cannot infringe upon the First Amendment rights of any members of our community, regardless of whether we, as individual leaders, agree or disagree with the message. No single faculty member defines what Boise State—or any public university—endorses or stands for.”
State Sen. Melissa Wintrow, a Democrat, expressed alarm over Yenor’s comments and concern at the possibility that he might discriminate against female students.
“You start to wonder, what is the goal here? If it’s to set us back in time and disenfranchise women from as far as we’ve come, that’s a problem,” she said.