In recent years, affirmative action policies on school campuses have become more and more obvious and less discreet. Ostensibly, these policies are designed to allow students to have an ‘equal’ opportunity, and for many years they have been obviously designed to assist ‘minority’ students, such as women (who are not a minority in any discernible way) and non-white students. However, as social justice gained steam on college campuses around the world, equality of opportunity was no longer enough.
Social justice warriors and academics eager to pander to their whims decided that what was needed was equality of OUTCOME and that steps had to be taken to further this goal. Now, to attempt to achieve equality of outcome, even the famed Oxford University has decided to take steps. Now, Oxford University has decided to allow women extra time to take tests, in order to alleviate the ‘gender gap’ in scores and performance on such examinations.
Oxford decided on the policy because they found that the score gap between men and women on math and computer examinations was too great. In the name of improving ‘equality,’ Oxford decided that the best thing to do would be to lower the standards expected of their female students. To achieve ‘equality,’ in other words, the school has determined that they must give women an advantage.
In the summer of 2017, Oxford gave female students an additional 15 minutes to take their exams, after-school leadership decided that “female candidates might be more likely to be adversely affected by time pressure.” This was done in response to a desire to the ration of men to women who graduated from the program with ‘first-class degrees,’ as Oxford University noted that in 2016, twice as many men as women graduated from math and science programs with such distinctions.
According to local news outlets, however, Oxford University’s plan to ‘lessen gender discrepancies’ didn’t quite work as intended. Local outlets pointed out that “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.”
However, that does not seem to be enough to dissuade the university from continuing the practice, even if it failed to accomplish its objectives. Indeed, an Oxford University spokesman defended the practice, calling it “academically demanding and fair,” ignoring that allowing one group of students greater time than another to complete the same task or series of tasks is decidedly unfair.
A student who attends Oxford University and is a female undergraduate representative for its computer science program, Antonia Siu, stated for news outlets that she was “uneasy about schemes to favor one gender over another.” However, she continued to say that she is “happy when people see gaps between groups of people who should not reasonably have such gaps — such as between genders, races or class — and take that as a starting point to think about the kinds of people they unintentionally are leaving behind.”
In other words, Antonia Siu does not like the idea that the college has decided to address ‘gaps between groups of people who should not reasonably have such gaps,’ but she is glad that they have decided to do something because somehow the female students are ‘unintentionally left behind.’ It would seem that an Oxford University education is not worth what it once was.
Equality of opportunity and equality of outcome are two very different concepts. If Oxford University decided to give everyone the same test, under the same conditions, with the same time constraints, then they would create equality of opportunity. If Oxford University decided to average out the results of the test and issue everyone the same score, they would achieve equality of outcome.
In seeking to attain equality of outcome, which social justice warriors clamor for, schools will be forced to undermine the idea of actual equality. If a woman needs an extra fifteen minutes to take a test, Oxford University is not telling her that she is equal to a man, but rather the opposite. That fifteen minutes is a clear signal to female students in math and computer sciences that they are NOT equal to men, and that the only way that they could possibly be considered equal is if they are given preferential treatment.
Equality of opportunity, the idea that all should be given the same opportunities if they are qualified for them, is a noble idea, and one that the United States celebrates. Equality of outcome is an atrocity that requires disparate treatment and undermines the reality that all are differently-abled and skilled.