Oxford Says Women Can’t Handle Time, Inadvertently Helps Men


It’s been the case since the completion of the Civil Rights movement: find somebody screaming about the need for socially-engineered equality, and you’ll most often find someone who is openly advocating for inequality. You’ll also, in most cases, find someone who isn’t really qualified to compete on a fair playing field. In spheres that truly qualify as zero-sum games – college admissions departments, hiring desks, classrooms – one person’s gain is almost always another’s loss.

That is the problem with those who advocate for affirmative action, race or gender quotas, and other practices formed in the name of ‘equality’. Too often they fail or refuse to acknowledge that one’s orchestrated advantage necessarily means putting somebody else at a disadvantage. It’s the classic, and stark, difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.

Thanks to programs that artificially inflate test scores, Asians have been labeled by some as the “New Jews” in terms of college admissions, held to higher standards than other ethnic groups – including whites – because they tend to overachieve academically relative to their representation in the general population. This is not dissimilar from the kinds of discrimination that Jewish college entrants faced in the 20s or 30s. Greater ‘equality’ for groups such as Native Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanics has meant discernable, testable inequality for, above all, Asians.

R.A. Lee, in his article The Evolution of Affirmative Action, points out the difference in how we have come to view inequality over the years.

Hubert Humphrey, in 1964: “Contrary to the allegations of some opponents of this title, there is nothing in it that will give any power to the (Equal Employment Opportunity) Commission or to any court to require hiring, firing, or promotion of employees in order to meet a racial ‘quota’ or to achieve a certain racial balance. In fact, the very opposite is true.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, in 1996: “…I am disheartened by the introduction of legislation [H.R. 2128] which would roll back the clock on civil rights in this country. Under the guise of returning to the ‘original intent’ of civil rights laws, this legislation would forbid the use of race and gender in governmental decision making and curtail proven and widely accepted remedies for present and past discrimination.”

It’s a matter of suggested action versus compelled action based on race, in this case. Over the course of 32 years, affirmative action policies somehow became compelled by the government under the guise of several different agencies, primarily due to lawmakers coming up with ‘creative’ interpretations of the original law, as R.A. Lee also points out.  

Over the years, what began as an attempt to ‘level the playing field’ for racial groups who had faced past discrimination was extended to women. There was the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which ‘prohibits sex-based wage discrimination when women perform the same work as male colleagues.’ Totally fair and reasonable.

But now, there’s a trendy school of thought that says we must do more to allow women to overcome historical obstacles. It’s the same line of logic that inflates the test scores of different racial groups based on historical oppression. Women, the narrative says, are consciously or subconsciously prevented from moving to positions of power by their male bosses and colleagues, and have been so for decades, if not centuries.

Some examples of ‘direct discrimination’ include:

‘An employer who is guilty of direct gender discrimination may pass over a qualified female job applicant in favor of an unqualified male applicant because he or his business associates prefer to work with males. The employer may also ask a female applicant questions that aren't posed to male job applicants -- such as whether she has, or plans to have, children.

So, methods such as quotas for female-only leadership roles have been adopted by some companies, with astoundingly unintended consequences. Two professors from the Rotterdam School of Management debunked their effectiveness quite convincingly.

‘In a study we ran using Qualtrics , we found that both women and men were less attracted to firms that instituted a gender quota and were less likely to pursue jobs there.

It is not that people didn’t understand the importance of gender diversity in the workforce, it was the quota itself that was most unattractive. Nearly 70% of respondents in the gender quota condition – of which 52% were female and 48% male – said that gender quotas in general were unattractive to them. Why? Respondents noted that a gender quota negated the importance of merit and led to unintended consequences. (Forbes)

But some institutions never learn from the obvious: serious candidates don’t want to be judged by their race or genitalia, they want to be judged on their work and qualifications. And companies that ignore this reality risk rubbing high-achieving candidates the wrong way by suggesting they need a hand-up, that they couldn’t prove themselves otherwise. What does that say about the company’s worldview and who it is seeking to attract, after all?

Oxford University is apparently one of those institutions that still doesn’t get it. Instead of embracing the excellence it is often associated with, it has caved to political correctness.

‘Oxford University gives women more time to pass exams’ (Telegraph)

It’s easy to misread this headline as women received more time than men to take the exam. That’s not the case, but it’s still almost comically insulting to women based upon its logica.

Instead of challenging the stereotype that women are less adept at math and science than men, Oxford University is playing right into it, giving all students more time to take exams in the hopes that it would allow women to better compete. For qualified women, can you imagine how insulting this implication – that she needs more time to do as well or better in math and science than a male counterpart – is?

But it’s not just math or science that women should be sheltered from, according to Oxford. It’s time itself.

‘Students taking maths and computer science examinations in the summer of 2017 were given an extra 15 minutes to complete their papers, after dons ruled that "female candidates might be more likely to be adversely affected by time pressure". There was no change to the length or difficulty of the questions.’ (Telegraph)

Their justification for this time extension? That ‘in previous years the percentage of male students awarded first class degrees was double that of women.’

To be clear, this Oxford policy is unlike other affirmative action programs in that all the students (both male and female) were given the extra 15 minutes. However, Oxford did not achieve the results it expected by allowing women more time to ohmagahwd….freeeeeak out as the clock wound down.

‘despite the intention being to lessen gender discrepancies, the main effect of the time increase appears to have been an increase in the number of 2:1s overall, with 2:2 figures falling. Men continued to be awarded more first class degrees than women in the two subjects.

Well, who knows, maybe it’ll have to take a few more generations for such forward-looking policy to take effect. Or, like so many other policies, women will be given more time, while men will be given less. That would be more in accordance with the other zero-sum laws of the land that inevitably lead to even more discrimination.

Because Oxford’s attempt to boost women’s representation in the top ranks of the class, admittedly even handed as it was, royally backfired.

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