The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
So the proverb goes. A classic example of this occurred recently in Australia where an engineering university lowered its entrance standards for women applicants to attract more female students.
Although, on the surface, this preferential policy looks like a hand up for a struggling underclass, lowering the academic bar both demeans the population it wants to encourage and dilutes the accomplishments of former female tech graduates.
The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has received worldwide criticism after announcing that it will admit women seeking engineering and construction degrees who score lower on the admissions test than male contenders. The plan is “to get more women to study engineering and consequently get into the engineering workforce.”
The New South Wales (NSW) Anti-Discrimination Board granted UTS permission to handicap 10 Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) adjustment points for all females engineering and construction degree applicants in 2020.
Here’s how it works: If a female applicant’s ATAR is 69, then UTS would add the ten extra points for a total point count of 79 – but the revised rating would not be recognized by any other university.
Women who already have engineering degrees (and jobs) vented their disagreement immediately. RedMenaceTaylor tweeted:
“My annoyance if for the women who already meet the entry standard. All this will do is make them have to work harder to prove they aren’t one of the ones the bar was dropped for. You’re literally creating the problem you’re meant to be solving.”
Another Twitter user named shoe posted:
“Love me some soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Godot chimed in:
“If you think the best way to get more women into engineering is to lower the standards, aren’t you kind of openly saying you think female engineers aren’t as good as male engineers.”
UTS Director of Women in Engineering and IT Arti Agarwal said that having a student body composed equally of men and women would benefit everyone:
“Lots of research has shown that teams are more productive when they are gender-balanced. They come up with better ideas and better solutions.”
While this fact is not in dispute – even though Agarwal failed to cite any such studies – the reality is that there are plenty of women with the academic credentials to get into engineering school. They just don’t want to participate in a male-dominated industry where locker room talk is taken for granted and women are objectified.
The scholastic director justified her school’s new grading curve with a bizarre analogy which suggests that gender-typed technology is a future trend that will result from the institution’s dumbed-down admission policy:
“We [women] ride in cars, we use public transport, we do all kinds of things. If they are only being designed and engineered by one gender, then the requirements and needs of the other gender can get missed a bit.”
Somehow, Agarwal insisted that lower admissions standards would not mean that unqualified women would be accepted:
“The decision would not lower the quality of the graduates. I really cannot stress this enough – we are not taking people who don’t deserve to be here.”
The Australian Sydney Morning Herald reported that many universities “allocate adjustment points based on disadvantage or illness” but UTS is the first institute of higher learning to rate females along with the sickly and those with low socio-economic backgrounds.
In the Land Downunder, females undertaking degrees in mechanics and mechatronics account for only 4 percent of the entire student population. The goal of the UTS lowered-bar program is to boosts that number to 10 percent.
Andrew Norton is the Director of Higher Education at the Grattan Institute, an Australian public policy think tank. He hit the nail right on the head when he explained why “the fair sex” don’t bother to pursue a career in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) discipline:
“It’s a very male-dominated workplace and work we did recently showed that even when women have the qualification they don’t work in the area because of the nature of the workplace.”
THE MAGIC MAN tweeted his analysis of the situation, supporting Norton’s notion that women are plenty capable of becoming engineers but just aren’t interested in hanging out with all those geeky men:
“50%+ of law & medical graduates in AUS are female, which requires higher atar scores than engineering. The required atar for engineering is already being achieved by women anyway, lack of their presence in those courses is more do to choice than lack of academic achievement.”
The U.S. Army Rangers denied “the women got special treatment and played by different rules,” as alleged by Rep. Steven Russell (R-OK), to ensure that “A woman will graduate Ranger School,” as a general had promised in 2015.
As an editorialist for RedState wrote about these cases of “positive discrimination” in the real world:
“Lowering standards is only sending the message that women are weak, stupid, and not worth as much as a man, and we’re supposed to applaud this?”