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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Harvard to boost women scientists
Larry Summers
Dr Summers apologised repeatedly for his remarks
Harvard University is to spend $50m (27m) on women scientists over the next decade after its president sparked anger by questioning their aptitude.

Lawrence Summers said the money would be used to reform the way women in engineering and science are treated.

The recommendations came from two task forces set up by Dr Summers at the height of anger over his comments in January, for which he has apologised.

He suggested women had less "intrinsic aptitude" than men for science.

The recommendations include appointing a senior vice provost to promote diversity and faculty development, as well as mentoring, child care and late-night transport.

Dr Summer's office said reforms would be made for women "at every point along the pipeline", from undergraduates to faculty ranks.

"Universities like Harvard were designed a long time ago, in many respects, by men for men," he told a news conference.

"To fully succeed on these issues we're going to have to address issues of culture."

Confidence vote

Dr Summers sparked fury when he suggested at a seminar in January that one reason men outperformed women in maths and science was genetics, not just experience.

Several guests walked out of the conference after hearing the comments.

Dr Summers said later that the shortage of senior female academics was partly caused by child-minding duties, which restricted working hours.

He lost a confidence vote by the university's Faculty of Arts and Science but, as the body has no power to punish him, he did not resign.

Harvard's governing body, to whom he answers, has expressed its support of him.

Apologising repeatedly for his remarks, Dr Summers set up the two task forces - one to focus on women at Harvard, and one considering women in science in general.

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