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Female students appeal against positive discrimination

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18:52 CEST+02:00
Three women who were refused admission to a course at Örebro University have sued the third level institution for gender discrimination.

The women claim that they were much better qualified for the course than four men whose applications were accepted. Their case will be heard on Monday.

The three female applicants applied for the Health Promotion Programme in autumn 2005.

"They were denied a place on the course despite clearly being better qualified than the four men who were accepted as a result of a quota,"said the women's legal representative Gunnar Strömmer, who heads the non-profit public interest law organization Centrum för Rättvisa (Centre for Justice).

Elin Spetz Ramberg, 23, was one of the women refused a place at the university.

"I was shocked when I heard how the applications had been dealt with. As far as I was concerned the places were decided on the basis of qualifications," she told news agency TT.

In December 2005 she and the two other women sued Örebro University for illegal gender discrimination. They have each requested 75,000 kronor ($10,500) in compensation.

"If the qualifications are the same it is permitted to prioritize one sex over another, but not when their qualifications are different," said Gunnar Strömmer.

In 2006 Centrum för Rättvisa took another positive discrimination case all the way to the Supreme Court. The case concerned two female applicants whose applications for to Uppsala University 's law course were turned down despite the fact that they were better qualified than 30 successful applicants with non-Swedish ethnic backgrounds.

The Supreme Court awarded each of the women 75,000 kronor.

At Monday's trial, Örebro University will be represented by the state in the form of the office of the Chancellor of Justice.

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