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Female students awarded discrimination damages

Paul O'Mahony · 22 Feb 2010, 13:31

Published: 22 Feb 2010 13:31 GMT+01:00

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The parties settled out of court after the women sued the university for gender discrimination when three men with equivalent qualifications were selected to the programme in autumn 2008 ahead of the women. The university justified its policy at the time by arguing that it wished to create a more equal gender balance in a programme otherwise dominated by women.

Legal representative Clarence Crafoord with the Stockholm-based Centre for Justice (Centrum för rättvisa) welcomed the university's decision to pay 35,000 kronor ($5,000) each in damages to his client Elin Sahlin and the other women who joined her in taking up the case.

"This is gratifying, since Elin Sahlin and the other women pushing the case have now been given redress. It is also logical considering the fact that several courts in other cases have reached the conclusion that precisely this kind of admissions process is a form of illegal discrimination," said Crafoord in a statement.

The university said it would continue to work towards achieving greater gender equity on its courses.

In 2009 the university changed its admissions procedure. Since then, in cases where male and female applicants have the same basic qualifications a decision is taken based in the first instance on results achieved in the Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (Högskoleprovet) and, secondly, on an interview. If neither of these measures succeed in separating the applicants, those from the underrepresented gender will be selected to the course.

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"Nobody should have to feel that it's impossible to gain admission to a course because of their gender; we have full respect for the course of action taken by Elin Sahlin and we're glad an agreement has been reached," said Per Eriksson, Vice-Chancellor of Lund University, in a statement.

In a similar case, the Svea Court of Appeal ruled in December that it was illegal for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala to prioritize men for its veterinary education programme.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

15:11 February 22, 2010 by Uncle
Women screw men again.

Whenever men dominate engineering, IT and medical courses -females suit the schools for lack of appropriate affirmative action. When the case is opposite, females suit the schools for the existence of appropriate affirmative action.

I think that women did the impossible - presented MAJORITY as the poor and discriminated thing. Genius.
15:23 February 22, 2010 by sleepinacoffin
This is really ridiculous...

Why don't Swedes take a gender-neutral law so that these feminists will be satisfied?

These people cannot just jump in whenever there are interests and shun away if there are not
16:18 February 22, 2010 by Curious Expat
Are there any university courses in Sweden dominated by men where women were given "affirmative action" preference in the past? Are men sueing as well?

Anyone here knows?
16:20 February 22, 2010 by Puffin
So you agree with Universities using quotas to give places just because they are men?

No positive discrimination case - whichever way it has operated has ever been upheld as legal in Sweden - but removing women from the selection process - all of the previous cases relating to positive discrimination of men and immigrants have been overturned by the courts.

I remember from the vet school case that some of the older women had incurred considerable costs of student loans to study the right high school subjects to get admitted - only to find out that their applications had been automatically been removed and were never considered because they were women.
16:29 February 22, 2010 by Curious Expat

I suppose you don't mean me by your comment.

I am only asking a question trying to understand the issue and trying to see if the situation occurs in the "reverse" direction as well. I don't have an opinion (yet).

Might you have an answer to my question?
16:56 February 22, 2010 by Uncle
Curious expat - actually affirmative action is introduced in favour of women within police, firefighers and armed forces.

In order for women to actually pass the entry exams and the courses, they have an easier and less violent course. Therefore, by definition the policewomen and female soldiers are less fit than their male colleagues.

Obviously they are taking place of potentially more fit men, because the budget is not made out of rubber and cannot accomodate the "fit ones" and also the "not fit, but really want to be there" ones.
21:20 February 22, 2010 by CarlBlack
Good decision. And now all the men denied something because of gender quota should start suing. Especially those quota on gender representation in election lists. Or if the proposed quotas for female representation in company boards go through.
23:03 February 22, 2010 by Blackman_for_Blondes
The ladies should be treated fairly here in sweden as they are its best asset..
04:44 February 23, 2010 by mkvgtired
The headline should have read, "Swedish Court Upholds Status Quo".

"Why don't Swedes take a gender-neutral law so that these feminists will be satisfied?"

They will never be satisfied until men are completely subjugated. At least these cases set a precedent that will be hard for a judge to ignore in the future. Time for men to call in the lawyers (that is unless men were over represented in the legal field and a male or non-feminist lawyer no longer exists).
11:46 February 23, 2010 by Puffin
All positive discrimination has now been outlawed according to the new law
12:20 February 23, 2010 by Audrian
The case is not as it looks. Women were dominant in the psychology department because men have not been interested in the decipline. This is different from other sexist departments where men are dominant because policies had made it difficult for women to join.

The psychology department should have continued to receive candidates on merit. It has misunderstood the objective of posotive descrimination. In the 1970s US universities were required to take certain percentage of black Americans if they wanted to continue to receive government grant. Universities began to take bright black students from Africa to fill their quotas. This was not what the legislation was about.
12:52 February 23, 2010 by Ugly A
Cake and eat it too. Typical.
14:35 February 23, 2010 by CarlBlack
@Audrian: Are you able to prove that there were any policies discriminating women as you state? Do you think that would be even possible in Sweden?
17:00 February 23, 2010 by Uncle
Audrian - what exactly policies in engineering or IT department would make it hard for women to join?

Requirement to have some flesh between the legs? Being interested in beer and loud laughing? Inability to call your friend just to find out what is he doing right now and not something concrete?

As for police and armed forces - why would women demand purposely to decrease the requirements - by that intentinally opening the gates for weaker soldiers and policemen (of course if they are not men. For just weak men the adjustment does not apply)??

It is typical for women to claim that "This is not the same" whenever positive discrimination is working against them.

There is no difference whatsoever between 1 in 200 women who wants to be a computer geek and a 1 in 200 men who loves to have crying hystercis on his shoulder.
14:45 February 25, 2010 by Vichaarvant
To the men who have whined in this section, one simple piece of advice: grow up. And do not ask for women to "prove" that they have been discriminated against throughout history, in practically every aspect of life. They are too busy fighting that discrimination to cater to your wishes. If you need proof, open your eyes and unclog your ears. Get your rear ends off your couches and immerse yourselves in life's realities (Newsflash: men can survive several days without watching sports and drinking beer!!).

Having said that, Sweden is the only country that I have lived in where it is so common to see men sharing child-rearing responsibilities. Hats off to those men and to the socio-political system here that allows this to happen.

In case you care, I am a man "with flesh between my legs", as Uncle would like to put it.
14:07 February 26, 2010 by xenyasai
@Vichaarvant: Hopefully you will also notice that the extreme feminists aren't really interested in equality, but more power to women. Give it time, you will notice it soon. There are even women speaking up against feminism in Sweden because of this.

I still remember two articles from Aftonbladet I read a while back.

One was about a woman catching her then boyfriend cheating on her by spying on his activities on their shared computers. She was called brave to have dared to do this and "survived" something so horrible.

The other article was about a similar situation, but instead som man had spied on his then girlfriend and caught her in the act. The difference was that he was seen as a creep and that he invaded this poor womans privacy.

So, before you tell people to stop complaining, maybe you should look around and see that if a guy did the same as this student, in this article, he would never have won; and on top of that be called all sort of misandric names.

What seems to be a tactic many feminists like to use is revenge. Sadly most of us know from childhood that will eventually bite you in the behind.
14:14 February 26, 2010 by tututu
positive discimination negative discrimination its still discrimination . which means chosing somone by looks gender attitude wealth. better to chose the right person to suit the job or the placement.
06:48 March 3, 2010 by trinaican
@blackman_for_blondes...who are you?? Is it just me or does anyone else think that this bufoon is overly sexualising women...especially blonde women??? You seem to be one of those men who cant see a woman (especially blonde) without mentally stripping her..Im sorry but women are worth alot more than sexual playthings

I have been reading more of your posts..and you are truly disgusting..whats wrong with black women or asian women..why is it that the 'blonde' is the type that you seem to EXTRACT THE MOST PRIDE from being able to attract. It seems as if the be all and end all of your whole life is to get this specific type of woman. You need to fond some sort of self worth and free yourself of mental slavery..youre one of those black men who seem to think that 'white is right'...and you are just reinforcing stereotypes...

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