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Sweden set to scrap university gender quotas

TT/AFP/The Local · 12 Jan 2010, 08:31

Published: 12 Jan 2010 08:31 GMT+01:00

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“The education system should open doors – not shut them in the face of young women who are motivated to study,” Krantz wrote in an article published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

He explained that the government plans to submit a proposal for consultation which would remove gender-based affirmative action from Sweden’s higher education laws.

The government has allowed universities to practice affirmative action since 2003 in order to encourage an equal number of men and women at the country's universities.

Women currently represent about 60 percent of university students in Sweden, a pioneer in gender equality.

The proposed change comes following criticism that men received priority admission to programmes where their gender was underrepresented and where there were a higher number of applicants with top marks than available spots, such as programmes in veterinary medicine, dentistry, medicine, and psychology.

Because more female than male applicants had top marks, the consequence has been that men have been give priority due to a clause in Sweden’s current higher education laws stipulating that gender quotas should be used to choose between applicants of otherwise equal merit.

The rules have had an uneven effect, according to Krantz.

"The current regulations yield a totally unfair result. Last year it was almost only women, 95 percent, who had worked hard to get into their dream programme but who did not get in because of their gender," Krantz wrote.

For programmes dominated by men, the system does not work in the same way because there are fewer overall applicants.

The Svea Court of Appeal recently ruled in favour of 44 women who were not admitted to a veterinary programme because of their gender, awarding them damages of 35,000 kronor ($5,000) each.

In another class-action lawsuit currently in the courts, 31 women have sued

Story continues below…

Lund University in southern Sweden for discrimination for giving male students

admissions priority to the psychology programme in 2008.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:08 January 12, 2010 by Rick Methven
"The Svea Court of Appeal recently awarded 44 women the right to seek compensation after being denied admission to a programme in veterinary medicine because of their gender"

I should have thought that other than qualifications, the main criteria for becoming a vet would be the ability to be big enough and strong enough to stick your arm up a cows backside.

Been there done that and it is not a job for a 9 stone weakling: LOL
09:33 January 12, 2010 by xavidx

If this was the other way around and the men were getting denied spots because of their gender and the women were getting them instead, they would say the law is a success.

I dont know about this country some times.
10:16 January 12, 2010 by Puffin
Many of the current scheme do discriminate against women - in cases where lotteries are used some universities have weighted the lottery so than women cannot get in

There have been Universities that have had schemes to discriminate in favour of men and immigrants

- a know that at least one University emphasised that it would look especially favourably on applications from men on teaching degrees

- there was also the Uppsala law school case where they tried to introduce a quota of 30 of 300 places on the law degree would be reserved for immigrants - but those who failed to get a place becayse they were ranked between 271 and 300 on the admission list sued in the courts and were paid compensation

Given that the courts have always ruled against quotas - it seems as though the government if just clarifying the law in this area
10:47 January 12, 2010 by warriorwithin
Quotas always ruin the country. The same thing has been happening in India, people of certain caste have quotas reserved for them and it results in people with lower rankings getting admissions based on their quotas and deserving people get kicked out. Caste or gender , it doesn't matter, a quotaless society is the way to prosperity.
11:12 January 12, 2010 by DAVID T
Surely women should be staying at home and cleaning and having children. Leave the work to the men - mind you there's not that many real me in Sweden :-)
11:22 January 12, 2010 by Militant Atheist
In the future there will be more than likely no gender. As technology will blend us together as one human race.

"Long Live the AI Machines"
14:18 January 12, 2010 by calebian22
It should be the best and the brightest that get the spots. If that is all women, fine. If it is all men, fine. Stupidity, lack of talent, laziness, whatever the deficiency, should not be rewarded by quotas.
14:26 January 12, 2010 by lintexdig
I think the meaning of 'gender equality' seems to be 'misconstrued in some ways. Doest it imply only for women to lift them up to that level equal with men? equality should be for boths genders not only for women.

"more female than male applicants had top marks......."

" women are representing 60 % of university students...."

so what is the need of quota here? universities have to set only objective criterias based on academic and other merits!
15:40 January 12, 2010 by Puffin
@ calabian22

You appear to not understand the way that the quotas worked in Sweden at all - there was no question of "Stupidity, lack of talent, laziness" rewarded by quotas. It is an issue of fairness primarily of one gender being removed from the lottery to create balance

The lottery system operates where applicants have equal high school grades - the way that it is *meant* to work is that candidates are picked at random if they have equal grades - but in the case of the vet school scandal all the women were removed so that only men could be chosen
16:01 January 12, 2010 by calebian22

I do understand how quotas work. My country loves them. Stupidity, lack of talent, and laziness trumps ability in many situations due to gender or race. However, I didn't know that there was a lotto system in Sweden. Why was this never mentioned in any of the news articles regarding the Vet school? If this is true, thanks for the clarification. Maybe you can answer this for me. Why is there no difference between an MVG that is 90% and an MFG that is 100 percent? I have not gotten a good answer from any educator regarding this glaring hole in the University selection processes. MVG is based on grade percentage but the universities only see the MVG, not the percent out of 100. There might be greater differences in students if their true grades were visible. Any thoughts?
16:35 January 12, 2010 by Iraniboy
That's almost opposite!! The many doctoral ads you can see that it is clearly stated that women are encouraged to apply! It is equality there shouldn't be any distinction between women and men but unfortunately some departments try to employ a low qualified woman rather than a man merely due her sexual orientation.
16:38 January 12, 2010 by Michael84
It's not peculiar to Sweden. Girls always snag up higher grades at school which has been a mystery for me for about 10 years. If universities put the grades as their first criterion sadly there will be no chance for us to get in. So i strongly support sex discrimination against women ! :D
18:08 January 12, 2010 by magirus
"For programmes dominated by men, the system does not work in the same way because there are fewer overall applicants".

So how does that work, can somebody please explain?

When I interviewed for my doctoral position I was told that they were under pressure to recruit a woman, because they were too underrepresented in the department, but apparently no one sent an application, otherwise forget it and who cares of the grades.

I wonder why we have to wait always for some woman to complain, before somebody in power decides to act
23:22 January 12, 2010 by Greg in Canada
"Women currently represent about 60 percent of university students in Sweden, a pioneer in gender equality."

Well we must be "pioneers" also since Its about the same % in Canada but we've never had official gender quotas. Traditionally university women mostly went into nursing, teaching, liberal arts, etc. There are less women in some areas such as engineering, etc but there are actually more women in medicine at present. Doors are not closed to women so gender quotas are a bit pointless. I'd suspect it's about the same in Sweden. If women really want to break into male dominated occupations then they should go into the trades.
00:26 January 13, 2010 by Puffin
@ greg in canada

Sweden also has more women in medicine - however many of the quotas were designed to increase the number of men.

Heard a radio interview today with one of the victims of the SLU Vet school scandal. She had given up a job and gone back to school to study to get into vet school - as everyone knows you need perfect grades to get into vet school - (presumably incurring student loans).

However her selection group, Folkhögskola grades, it was one of the small selection group where male candidates were to be prioritised - so ALL the women were removed from the lottery their applications were not considered at all and only men were put into the lottery. Therefore despite years studying she had a ZERO chance of getting in because no women candidates were considered at all in her group.
03:52 January 13, 2010 by JoeSwede
Education should be open to everyone. No one should be denied. By allowing students to study what they want, the market will take care of misallocations.

By limiting people to study certain things Sweden is rewarding those that can jump through the right hoops. Now that I think about it... lots of the goodies in Sweden are dooled out to those who jump through the right hoops. In the US money rules who gets the goodies, in Sweden, different rules govern.

Regardless...quotas suck. Limited attendance sucks as well. They are just a tool for those that want social control.
05:17 January 13, 2010 by Ugly A
The shoe has always been on the other foot as far as "gender equalization" and men have just been told to suck it up. It's not about gender equality, never has been. It's about domination. This is a terrible place to live if you're male.
23:22 January 14, 2010 by Uncle
What is amazing is that when there is a male domination somewhere, females start *itching, suing, demanding, burning bras and growing hair everywhere.

That was always the purpose of the affirmative action - the male judges in Supreme Courts just could not bear the moaning and crying in the court rooms.

However, when there is a clear domination of females in certain areas and males are using the tools that were developed for women for THEMSELVES, there is again moaning by FEMALES who get thousands of kronas because there was an affirmative action that for once worked against them!

So the swedish judges are bending over again and canceling the affirmative action whenever it can actually benefit men! It is outrageous. It shows clearly that the equality functions here only whenever it makes the life of females easier and never is about EQUALITY!
17:56 January 15, 2010 by geofare
Uncle hit the nail on the head: it was never about equality. The same thing is going on in the U.S., too. Women were crying for equal representation in our universities when there were more men than women, but now that there are more women than men (that's actually been the case for at least 17 years now), all of sudden they no longer care about "equal" representation. In the U.S., men are statistically more likely to drop out of high school, less likely to go to college, more likely to end up homeless, more likely to fill manual labor and other low positions, more likely to end up in gangs or in prison, more likely to end up with drug or alcohol problems (and there are fewer men than women in this country); yet, women are still whining and complaining about how "horribly disadvantaged" they think they are. We continue to be told that in the U.S. men are at the top and women are at the bottom. This is wrong. While the majority of the highest positions are occupied by men, the majority of the lowest positions are also occupied by men. They are NOT occupied by women. Women are NOT at the bottom. Therefore, it is wrong to say that "men are at the top and women are at the bottom." That's an erroneous over-simplification and a logical fallacy, at that. Yet, visit any university in the U.S. (that are filled mostly with women) and this is what they're teaching. The problem here should be fairly self-evident. Men should be very concerned with how feminism is affecting western civilization. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for gender equality. But this garbage isn't gender equality, and feminism can't achieve gender equality, either.
08:33 January 18, 2010 by Erwin Mahnke
Isn't it funny how discrimination (or in other context also racism) only applies to some cases while when reversed it is seen as helpful and just? Discriminating men is fine, doing the same thing with women is bad. Ever seen anybody talk about a black racist discriminating whites? Yes, also these cases exist.

The problem lies in the thought that it is good to help one group against the other while it should be clear to everyone that only proper qualification criteria - and gender (or race) is none of them - should be applied. If women are good managers or politicians they should be promoted. Are they not, they should rather stay where they are. If men get worse entry test results than women, well, then they need to work harder and try again.
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