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9:21am on Monday, 17th March, 2008:

Bad Decision


I learned at the weekend that I had made a bad decision in 1960 when I was born male. Professionally female politician, Harriet Harman, who became deputy leader of the Labour Party on a platform of "it's about time a woman got this job" (conveniently failing to note that her predecessor-but-one was Margaret Beckett), has decided to change the equality laws by making them unequal. Basically, white males can be turned down for a job on the grounds of their being a) white and b) male.

Being brought up on a council estate in the north of England meant I was always facing an uphill struggle, but at least it was within my power to do something about it. I can't, however, help being a white male, so that's me pretty well stuffed. Yes, I am aware that being non-white and female (double points if you're both?) is also something people can't do anything about, and they shouldn't have to suffer unequal treatment either. However, I don't see why I should have to pay for the inequalities perpetrated by white men on non-white non-men in the past — it's not as if I'm personally responsible.

Anyway, that's not actually why I was blogging this. I was blogging it because of the comment I've marked here:

It's not white men you should be taking pot shots at, Harriet, it's privately-educated elites who can't see the world beyond other privately-educated elites. Science in UK universities is in terrible trouble! Applications have fallen so low that once-mighty departments are now grubbing around offering bursaries to all and sundry, just to try keep themselves going. Giving female applicants priority? Ha! Priority over whom? There are universities out there that would admit a performing horse if its fees were guaranteed!

If you want female graduates to get good, highly-paid jobs, you shouldn't be trying to put men off studying science; you should try to put women off studying Dance (93%), Design Studies (65%), Drama (71%), English Studies (71%), Fine Art (70%), Nursing (92%), Nutrition (90%), Psychology (80%), Social Work (84%), Sociology (76%) and Tourism (79%). Those are UCAS figures from 2006, by the way, expressed as a percentage of female applicants from total applicants. Alternatively, particularly in the case of nurses and social workers, you could pay them more (since the funding comes from the public purse).

If you want to look on the bright side, a few years from now women will form the majority of lawyers (61%), doctors (56%) and vets (77%).

Amazing, all that time I spent writing trivia questions from looking at statistical databases came in useful!

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).