Volume 93, Issue 10

Wednesday, September 15, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Gender equality or superiority?

Gender equality or superiority?

Even in today's advanced society, discrimination seems to be running rampant – only we've managed to disguise it as equality. Reverse discrimination is a serious issue plaguing businesses in the form of quotas and statistics. Even institutes of higher learning make serious attempts to mask reverse discrimination by calling it employment equity.

This week, Clive Seligman, a Western psychology professor, decided enough was enough. He responded to an ad placed by Wilfred Laurier University looking for a developmental psychologist. He didn't even want the job, but if he did, it wouldn't have mattered. The ad which was emailed across the province implied there was a strict "no boys allowed" policy.

Based on the current gender inequality within the school's department (18 men and four women professors), Laurier felt it necessary to fix what it deemed a problem. Unfortunately, this was not the right way of doing it.

The Laurier administration (and all others, for that matter), should not be trying to improve gender equality but rather, general staff quality. If there are holes in the department the school owes it to students to make changes. The problem is not having too many men or women on board. The school shouldn't be placing ads asking for the best female available. Instead, the search should simply be for the best.

A university should be trying to provide the best possible staff for its students and gender equality, although a societal ideal, is not the answer. The goal of an administration should be to hire the most talented and enthusiastic instructors for its students. When students look to choose a professor they shouldn't take into account high heels or chest hair but instead the professor's tenure and experience.

Unfortunately, Laurier appears to be making excuses. So what if 18 professors in the department are male? Does it weaken the perspective of the developmental psychology department?

And if one would make such an argument, why stop at gender? Would the department not be better if it was proportionately represented by race, religion and economic status?

Over the last 100 years, much needed efforts have been made to improve gender equality. However, actions like this are clearly a step backwards – it's the original problem twisted to benefit the sex historically discriminated against.

How will the woman who is eventually chosen for this position feel, once she realizes her credentials came second to her chest? She may in fact be the number one choice but unless the policy is erased, no one will ever know.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999