We’ve reported at length about the female postgraduate engineering students at Brunel University who’ll receive sponsorships of £22,750 for MSc courses in the 2014/15 academic year, their sole eligibility for the grants being their gender. Three weeks ago we put up a post about the government spending £30 million of taxpayers’ money ‘encouraging’ more women into engineering. The post has just received the following comment:
It’s not just the extra grants. Women also get into universities to study engineering (and presumably physics too) with lower grades than a man would have to attain. My sister told me of a female friend who applied to study engineering at a prestigious British university (I’d rather not name it, but it is invariably on ‘University Challenge’ every season). She failed to get the required A-Level grades, but was offered a place anyway on this popular course, just because there weren’t enough women students. After the first year, she decided it was too hard and withdrew from the university. In other words, a male student with better grades was denied a place so that this girl could study there instead, only for her to waste it by dropping out! I bet this goes on at other universities too…
We believe there’s a huge amount of below-the-radar manipulation going on to drive up the proportion of women in prestigious, well-paid, secure professions – medicine being a prime example. GPs today earn salaries averaging £112,000 p.a. and are virtually unsackable on the grounds of poor performance.
30+ years ago the veteran campaigner and writer Dr Vernon Coleman was arguing in his books that the NHS’s policy of driving up the proportion of medical students who were women would in time create a crisis, because on average female doctors have a lesser work ethic than their male counterparts. How right he was.
70% of medical students in the UK today are women. One key driver of this statistic is the system used to select medical students. Selection isn’t only about attaining sufficiently high grades in the right subjects. A key element is the personal interview, and of course this is where manipulation of the system takes place.