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Helen Mountfield: excellent re-framing of positive discrimination argument

(13 Posts)
ArranUpsideDown Sun 16-Feb-20 12:01:08

(Arthritis is flaring and won't let me sort the share token so if someone can - please do!)

The first head of an Oxford college to be educated at a comprehensive school has said the university could take up to 90% of its students from state schools — a change that would see the proportion of privately educated students cut by three-quarters.

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/state-pupils-flock-to-oxford-college-and-degree-results-soar-q96p7bxj0

Denying that it was social engineering, she recalled how she had once discussed with a judge positive discrimination for female laywers wanting to join the bend. "He said, 'You know, I think it would be dreadful for women. They would feel they were only there because they were women.' And I said to him, 'Does it undermine your self-confidence that you're a white man? Do you ever thin, maybe I'm only a judge because I'm a white man and if I was a woman I wouldn't be here?'"

OP’s posts: |
Coyoacan Sun 16-Feb-20 14:19:58

Shame about the lack of a share token, because that quote is brilliant. Thanks

HandsOffMyLangCleg Sun 16-Feb-20 14:23:46

Brava!
That is majestical.

midgebabe Sun 16-Feb-20 14:24:22

Brilliant reframing ,..it has bothered me.

EverardDigby Sun 16-Feb-20 15:10:46

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/31d638c2-4f5d-11ea-961f-902ae2a59867?shareToken=9a81fa24ef640d48f7f154e320cbddfe

Imnobody4 Sun 16-Feb-20 16:18:13

Yes that's exactly it. I've never heard my male contemporaries acknowledge they received positive discrimination when they took the 11+.

JellySlice Sun 16-Feb-20 17:47:02

Yes, any boy who sat the 11+ until the late 70s had his score boosted. Otherwise more girls would have passed than boys.

Does any man who went to grammar school acknowledge that he may only have achieved the success he attributes to hours good education, as a result of positive discrimination? Wow, how shameful. hmm

ArranUpsideDown Sun 16-Feb-20 18:18:01

EverardDigby - thank you for the share token.

JellySlice - Yes, any boy who sat the 11+ until the late 70s had his score boosted. Otherwise more girls would have passed than boys.

I didn't know that!

OP’s posts: |
Gronky Sun 16-Feb-20 18:42:05

Yes, any boy who sat the 11+ until the late 70s had his score boosted. Otherwise more girls would have passed than boys.

I believe that's a misconception stemming from the approximately equal number of places for boys and girls at grammar schools. Because girls develop more quickly, a boy with a lower score would be more likely to gain a place at a grammar school than a girl (since the median score for boys would be lower). This can be fixed by having exclusively mixed sex grammar schools.

Regarding the original post, I disagree with the judge but also with 'positive' discrimination. I believe it's a flawed concept which supposes the success of any minority or oppressed group should be measured by their representation in any given area dominated by an opposing group. The classic example would be the supposed pay gap, which presumes that men and women both place the highest value on earnings at the expense of leisure, which doesn't appear to be the case when other factors are accounted for (the average hourly wage for childless, single men and women is essentially equal).

Another unpleasant effect of 'positive' discrimination is that it generally results in a hierarchy of oppression developing to decide which differences are unjust and which are acceptable (for example, there is no great push to address the over-representation of women in higher education, nor do I believe there should be). One expression of this, which I'm sure almost everyone here is familiar with is the concerns of GC feminists being dismissed in the face of those raised by TRAs.

BiologyIsReal Sun 16-Feb-20 19:11:01

I believe that's a misconception stemming from the approximately equal number of places for boys and girls at grammar schools. Because girls develop more quickly, a boy with a lower score would be more likely to gain a place at a grammar school than a girl (since the median score for boys would be lower)

Whether it's a misconception or not, it is a fact that girls had to score higher to get a grammar school place in order to achieve a 50/50 balance of the sexes. A bit hard on girls who achieved over the pass mark but were refuse a place. I should know as I took my 11+ in the 1950s and although I did get to go to grammar school there were quite a few other girls in my form who were denied places because of what amounts to positive discrimination in favour of boys. It was also puzzling in a way as the 11+ was a 'sudden death' exam and we have been hearing in recent years that girls are supposed to do less well at sudden death exams and better at consistent course work that rewards steady work. Both can't be right.

Gronky Sun 16-Feb-20 19:30:02

because of what amounts to positive discrimination in favour of boys

I agree that it's unfair but I disagree that it amounts to 'positive' discrimination because it wasn't deliberate. The solution seems to me to desegregate grammar schools. I personally missed out on a spot despite passing because I was born in a year with a disproportionately high number of girls (as well as there seeming to be an even greater disproportion in my area, based upon my memories of class sizes, I've been unable to locate specific statistics for this aspect).

It was also puzzling in a way as the 11+ was a 'sudden death' exam and we have been hearing in recent years that girls are supposed to do less well at sudden death exams and better at consistent course work that rewards steady work. Both can't be right.

They absolutely can, the benefit of an increased rate of academic development could be stronger than the detrimental rate of a 'sudden death' exam.

Nappyvalley15 Mon 17-Feb-20 08:33:12

Regarding the pay gap - women aren't choosing leisure over work. They tend to gain unpaid domestic responsibility as they get older. It is not a question of one sex preferring leisure to work.

nettie434 Mon 17-Feb-20 09:41:30

Agree that the reframing is excellent. The problem is that ‘positive discrimination’ is often interpreted as meaning that a disadvantaged group is given access to a job/educational establishment irrespective of performance. People still use the term as if that type of positive discrimination was legal in the UK.

I don’t think that’s what they’re doing here (especially as their results have improved), just that they have broadened their selection criteria. I also love the comment made to the judge. Thanks for the alert to the article and the share token EverardDigby ArranUpsideDown.

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