As we fight feminists and other female supremacists, it’s important to remember those who have taken them on and their fellow travelers before us successfully, even if it was only over a small specific issue. T.J. Rodgers is one such man.
Who is T.J. Rodgers? Rodgers is the founder, CEO, President, and a director of Cypress Semiconductor, a company in Silicon Valley. He is a graduate of Dartmouth and Stanford. Rodgers is also known in the political arena for being libertarian minded, to the point of being an advocate for killing all subsidies for business including those that would benefit him, and an ardent defender of capitalism. You can find a biography here, and his essays on various issues here. Rodgers has taken on people such as Jesse Jackson.
One of the things that T.J. Rodgers is known for is what has been called the “nun episode”. Back in 1996, Rodgers received a letter from Sister Doris Gormley, the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, an order of approximatively 1000 nuns. The order had investments of stock in various companies which included Cypress Semiconductor. As a shareholder Sister Gormley sent all of these companies a form letter demanding that women and minorities be included in the respective companies’ boards of directors. Rodgers responded by writing a letter to Sister Gormley pointing out why her demands (according to Rodgers) were immoral. Pointing out that the board of directors of Cypress Semiconductor was a not a ceremonial watchdog, but a critical management function, Rodgers explained that the requirements for being on the board of directors involved experience as a CEO of an important technology company, direct expertise in the semiconductor business based on education and management experience, and/or direct experience in the management of a company that buys from the semiconductor industry. He also said that this usually meant a man with graduate level education who is around 50 years old. As of 1996 this meant that their current set of candidates for the board of directors were in graduate school in the 70’s, during which engineering was an almost exclusively male discipline. Because of this, Rodgers said, “a ‘woman’s view’ on how to run our semiconductor company does not help us, unless that woman has an advanced technical degree and experience as a CEO.”
Rodgers continued the letter with a philosophical and pragmatic defense of his position explaining why he believed the Sister Gormley’s position was immoral. Rodgers also pointed out that there is no requirement in Christianity for “diverse” corporate boards, and that Sister Gormley’s position was based on political correctness rather than the Christian religion (be sure to read Rodgers’ excellent letter).
Rodgers sent a copy of his letter to all Cypress Semiconductor shareholders. This led to a full page article in the Wall Street Journal, and a debate between Rodgers and Sister Gormley at Stanford. The response to Rodgers was overwhelmingly positive. Ninety percent of the letters he received supported him. The only unified group that disapproved were other nuns.
When the Cypress Semiconductor stock that the order owned was sold, the nun episode quietly blew over, and T. J. Rodgers’ successful career continued unharmed.
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