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    Hello, I was wondering what people might make of this discussion here at U.C.L. from earlier this month:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0wy_tvtm1I

    To me it seems far too cynical. Why can't people see that schemes like Athena Swan are for the benefit of everybody, including men?
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    (Thanks T.S.R. for finally approving this thread - didn't think it would get through, as I know it's a controversial subject! )
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    Cynical? I would say it is spot on. And no, Athena Swan or any of these pseudo-equality movements are not beneficial for both men and women. What happens is that women get special treatment based on gender alone, especially in STEM. Trying to aggressively force equality results in hiring someone for the sake of filling diversity quotas rather than based on merit. I am all for encouraging women to study STEM subjects, but not by pressuring universities and corporations to comply with these moronic "equality" trends. The fact of the matter is that social justice warriors are creating issues out of thin air due to their inability to interpret statistics and/or the factors that might influence them.

    Why is there supposed to be a 50/50 representation of both genders? Why is it a problem that women are a minority in STEM but no one bats an eye when males are underrepresented in nursing for example? Why are there so many intellectually dishonest hypocrites who continue to ride this "women are oppressed and/or underrepresented" bandwagon. Women are anything BUT oppressed... Men and women do not make the same choices in life - genders are different on so many levels. And guess what.. It is okay for us to be different. No, this is not because of these imaginary "social constructs" that a particular group of over-zealous equality warriors like to bring up...

    Sex-specific toy preferences of children in the PRE-SOCIALIZATION stage: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...rned-or-innate

    Something for the poor oppressed women:
    More women are going to university: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35111772
    Women favored 2:1 for STEM hiring: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...-jobs-in-stem/
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    What is Athena Swan doing about the fact that there are 35% more women going to university than men? Women benefit so much from all these schemes of course we don't want to criticize them. The fact is that women make different choices from men because they are different from men and this results in them being under-represented in some areas and over-represented in other. We need to give women credit as agents and who actively shape the world around them. Where we see differences this is a result of the positive choices we make.
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    (Original post by Broscientist)
    Cynical? I would say it is spot on. And no, Athena Swan or any of these pseudo-equality movements are not beneficial for both men and women. What happens is that women get special treatment based on gender alone, especially in STEM. Trying to aggressively force equality results in hiring someone for the sake of filling diversity quotas rather than based on merit. I am all for encouraging women to study STEM subjects, but not by pressuring universities and corporations to comply with these moronic "equality" trends. The fact of the matter is that social justice warriors are creating issues out of thin air due to their inability to interpret statistics and/or the factors that might influence them.

    Why is there supposed to be a 50/50 representation of both genders? Why is it a problem that women are a minority in STEM but no one bats an eye when males are underrepresented in nursing for example? Why are there so many intellectually dishonest hypocrites who continue to ride this "women are oppressed and/or underrepresented" bandwagon. Women are anything BUT oppressed... Men and women do not make the same choices in life - genders are different on so many levels. And guess what.. It is okay for us to be different. No, this is not because of these imaginary "social constructs" that a particular group of over-zealous equality warriors like to bring up...

    Sex-specific toy preferences of children in the PRE-SOCIALIZATION stage: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...rned-or-innate

    Something for the poor oppressed women:
    More women are going to university: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35111772
    Women favored 2:1 for STEM hiring: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...-jobs-in-stem/
    I can see why people (especially men, it seems) give Athena SWAN a bad rep if they think it’s about filling quotas and favouring only women. If that’s what you think, you haven’t done your research. Firstly, it’s illegal to practice positive discrimination in the UK.

    EDIT: I had originally included a link with further info on the difference between positive action and positive discrimination, but it's been taken out by a moderator for some reason. Either way, a Google will do the job too.

    These guidelines around positive action are in place regardless of Athena SWAN, eg. in recruitment situations, it would happen anyway. Athena SWAN does not and will not allow positive discrimination, or ‘quotas’. As you’ll see from the above guidance, the only time it’s OK to choose someone with a protected characteristic over someone who doesn’t, is if they are both equally qualified. This is intended to address societal disadvantages that underrepresented groups face (there are special circumstances for disabled people). And it takes an intersectional approach; it’s not just about women. And as I said, that’s not Athena SWAN; that’s UK legislation.

    Examples of positive action that you’ll generally see in Athena SWAN applications are: including straplines on person specifications for jobs that welcome applications from underrepresented groups; lobbying for better maternity AND paternity leave/pay; having balanced gender representation on interview panels; encouraging flexible working for all; applying ‘core office hours’ so that those with dependents can do the School run etc. and not miss important committees; putting funding in place for training courses for underrepresented groups etc. The list goes on much further, but it generally benefits everyone.

    Secondly, Athena SWAN assists men in the same way as it does women when they are the underrepresented group. For example, all of the ‘gender-based’ positive action I’ve listed above would apply to men in, say, many Schools of Nursing, where they are usually underrepresented. So it’s not about giving women a leg up and leaving men out in the cold, it’s all about breaking down barriers and gender stereotypes, for everyone. Athena SWAN applications also undertake anonymous staff surveys and, trust me, these often display quite troubling cultures around gender (almost always at the expense of women); the department would then look at ways of addressing these and that can only be a positive thing. I’d encourage you to read some examples of Athena SWAN submissions – most are on the Equality Challenge Unit’s website: https://www.ecu.ac.uk/equality-chart...-swan-members/
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    The distinction between positive action and positive discrimination is arbitrary when workplaces will be penalised and receive bad publicity for not increasing their numbers of women and indeed if you look at the paper "Women in an Academic Landscape" by Ceci et al you will find that women are disproportionately favoured in job applications over men even when it supposed to be neutral. In fact I have researched Athena Swan applications and the evidence you need to provide to show that you are doing things properly necessitate giving women an extra push. And the statistics about the number of women given interviews compared to the number of men etc reflects this.
    There are a few notable examples of efforts to help male nurses but what is really notable is the total absence of initiatives for men who are so appallingly underrepresented in the higher education student body. University degrees are increasingly an indicator of lifetime well being yet the statistics men to women are now in the region of 40% 60% (See HEPI report) . You mention that something is done in nursing this is paltry - in nearly every single subject except maths, physics and computer programming there are fewer men than women and nothing, nothing nothing is done about it. Athena Swan is also terribly damaging for the women who have to participate it - evidence shows it is damaging for their productivity. If you want to know more about higher education stats read here

    mra-uk/?p=1760

    Athena Swan should be shut down but there are too many people making money and careers out of it for that to happen.





 
 
 

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