Brunel University postgraduate engineering courses – the story that keeps on giving

We’ve reported at length about the additional sponsorships of £22,750 available to Brunel University MSc students who are women, on the grounds of gender alone. Men can also get the sponsorships, but they have to undergo a sex change first. Men are eligible even if they’re ‘in transition’… hmm… we wonder which stage of the ‘transition’ will have to be passed for them to get the money. The loss of their meat and two veg, surely.

Our latest post on this scandal, which has had no mainstream media coverage, to the best of our knowledge, is here.

The apparent ‘brains’ behind the scheme is Petra Gratton, Brunel engineering lecturer. She was quoted as saying this:

Only around a quarter of students on engineering masters’ courses are women.

This interested us for two reasons. Firstly the figure of a quarter seemed improbably high to us, but even if it were correct, it would be a markedly higher proportion than that of women studying engineering at undergraduate level. Why, then, would there be a need to incentivise yet more female engineering graduates to do MSc courses?

We sent another FoI request to Brunel, asking for the numbers of men and women on undergraduate and postgraduate (MSc) engineering courses in the 2013/14 academic year, and we’ve just had the answer:

Undergraduates
Men: 1,527 (87.0%)
Women: 228 (13.0%)

Postgraduates
Men: 991 (84.1%)
Women: 188 (15.9%)

So there we have it. Petra Gratton’s figure of a quarter of engineering students doing an MSc is not only an exaggeration – at Brunel, at least, but we’d expect it to be an exaggeration generally for UK universities – but compared with the number of women doing undergraduate courses, a disproportionately higher number are doing MSc courses, doubtless seeking those nice office-based leadership roles where their hair won’t be messed up by hard hats. Given that female engineering graduates are more likely than their male counterparts to not enter the profession, to quit the profession – if and when they have children, almost certainly never to return to engineering – what on earth is the point of bribing yet more women onto MSc courses, other than to enable them to favour women in recruitment and promotion terms, if and when they attain senior positions? That, of course, is exactly the point.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • This is all just another example of these ideologically driven women who have colonised out universities, and whose sole intent is to invade men’s spaces wherever they can.

    They are not doing it for any other reason – certainly not because women are good (or bad) at engineering, or in the interests of women’s equality of opportunity.

    These bigots are just on a high horse. That’s all. They really believe the s**t they read and study in gender studies courses, that men need to be overturned as the dominant sex and that women are as good as men.

    God, its so boring: so narrow; so mindless. And these people are university teachers!

  • I have, as yet, to hear a decent explanation as to why we NEED more female engineers. I’ve heard lots of women explain why they want more female engineers but not why we need them. This seems to be a classic case of failing to differentiate between needs and wants – a classic female trait if ever there was one.

    • We need more female engineers like a fish needs a bicycle.

  • I suspect that a disproportionate number go on to teach, academic research etc. Rather than use their qualification. This is very much the case in sectors such as medicine( with messy stuff such as surgery, trauma etc. left to those snail loving boys, sugar and spice in the office for the girls)
    Given the proportions at this college I simply can’t see how they could justify this direct discrimination under the existing equality act.

  • misericordia

    It’s meat and two veg. Apologies, apologies.

  • Just to be clear direct discrimination on the basis of sex is illegal. The Equality act does alow for temporary “positive action” but this can’t be direct discrimination and it has to be “proportionate”. In this case the MSC intake is in fact roughly proportionate to the undergraduates. So the action is actually disproportionate to achieve equality. If they were going to take any action a case might be made to increase female entry at undergraduate level. If J4MB has the energy you could get the Equalty Commission to look into what looks like unjustiable(under legislation) direct discrimination against male undergraduates seeking to do a MSc. Or of course a male student could raise a grievance with the Uni. and take them to court. Or possibly HEQUAL might take it on.http://hequal.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks – very good points, we’ll look into this.

      • Up until I saw the student figures I had thought this just a particularly extreme scheme that would struggle to show it was a “proportionate” response. 
        But as it is clear that at that University there is no evidence of disadvantage to their female graduates because the number reflect the pattern of undergraduates I can’t see how they could mount an argument if challenged. 
        If they were offering bursaries for books or additional help applying or confidence boosting mentors they may get away with saying they are trying to address national trends. 
        But in fact they are directly discriminating against their male students and denying them thousands of pounds without any evidence that those male students have any advantages over female students at all. As the proportion of graduate students reflects the graduates! 
        Exactly why student unions needs men’s officers to take on such blatant illegality.