back to article University ordered to stop running women-only job ads

Eindhoven University of Technology has been told to stop posting women-only job ads as part of a push to diversify its academic workforce. The Dutch tech college has been trying to boost the numbers of women in its faculties, and as such has been running ads in which it makes it plain only women are eligible to apply – with …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rightly so, I'm all for equality but this isn't equality, it's a very misguided attempt at equality that actually does more harm than good by becoming the very thing that it's trying not to be. i.e. biased and excluding. You can't on the one hand complain about something then on the other apply the same behaviour no matter how noble your intentions are.

    Best person for the job and all that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's wholly counterproductive too and it winds up my wife way more than me. She's done pretty well in her career and it's been through hard work and intelligence (Posting anonymously so she can't quote me on those :-) )

      Yet there are always going to be those who will think she got where she is through "positive discrimination".

      Interestingly both the best and worst managers I have had have been female. I expect it's coincidence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My best managers also have been female and the worst have also been female.

        The great female managers were great leaders and also had real empathy when any family crisis arouse (death of family and child issues). They brought the best out of the team and made sure we all got the training we needed to do our jobs well, took all our holidays, always defended the team from unwarranted criticism and always communicated well with the team.

        One instant of the worst was when my original manager who built the whole UK operation from scratch was replaced for being a man by a US company (who replaced all men at that particular position with women worldwide) when they took over the company.

        The new manager got the job due to who they knew in the US and was completely useless as well as being paid twice as much as the previous manager.

        They often turned up in the afternoon, after going out for a massive bender the night before on expenses claiming it was part of building up business with prospective clients (usually their friends), Within three months the whole sales funnel had fallen apart and they were charging more on expenses than the company was actually making in the UK..

        Needless to say within 6 months the whole UK operation was shutdown due to mounting losses everyone was sacked but they were retained for another year :o

        Within a year of the UK shutdown the whole company was gone after burning through tens of millions of investors dollars, I've never seen a good company destroyed so quickly before or after :(

        1. Andre 3

          You worked with her too? She was an absolute nightmare, and couldn't manage a p1s5up in a brewery despite spending 90% of her time inebriated.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    Agreed , Jordan Peterson various discussions on equality bring to light the impossibility of creating a truly equitable solution. How does one determine where the "divisions" end. Do we create equal divisions by colour, height, weight, sex, intellect, number of children, birth sex, identified sex, hair colour, number of missing teeth etc..

    Agreed with the OP, a job should simply be given to whoever has the correct qualifications and is actually capable of doing the job. Anything else will simply lead to a general decline for the employer. Equality would run the business into the ground.... How can we advance if jobs based on criteria other than merit..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a bad post, but have a downvote for Jordan Peterson. There are far, far better avenues to understanding the modern world.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ooh the Peterson clones are going to downvote me! Sort of proving what a noxious arsehole the man is.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Not really. Kindergarten logic might get you far in some fields, but it won't get you far in El Reg's comments section.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Jordan Peterson is toxic and so is anyone who likes him

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              See? Thumbs down but nobody is prepared to explain why he's worthwhile.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "..nobody is prepared to explain why he's worthwhile."

                While you don't bother to say why he isn't.

                He at least tries to address the problem, unlike you.

              2. Juillen 1


                You've not met a burden of proof. You've asserted objectively that something's a fact, with no supporting evidence, and then whined about why objectively nobody is proving you wrong.

                The downvotes are because you're a muppet that doesn't actually understand what debate is. The extra downvotes were because you whined when people got irritated with you.

                When you actually add factual information that's required some thought, insight, contemplation and consideration into the conversation, you may find that the appraisal changes.

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        Peterson doesn't describe the contemporary world, he simply describes mankind has it has been for hundreds if not thoudans of years of years. This is why he so often cites the great philosophers, as their wisdom has stood the trials of time.

        Read a little bit of Neitzsche and you will understand that what you call modern is not modern at all. You are simply repeating the past.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Peterson and Neitzsche

          The main problem with Peterson is that he opines with equally self assured authority about subjects that are both within and without his expertise. He's nearly always wrong (or at least grossly oversimplifying) about biology, for instance, but he talks about it as if he is just as much an expert as he is in psychology.

          I'm not sure we can take the writings of Nietsche as "wisdom that has stood the test of time" - many of his philosophical positions are nowhere near uncontroversial enough to be the subject of consensus, as far as I can see. But I am much less sure of my ground here, as my expertise is rather more in biology than in philosophy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Peterson and Neitzsche

            Good point, but you were slightly negative about Peterson - expect downvotes!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Peterson and Neitzsche

            I'm not sure we can take the writings of Nietsche as "wisdom that has stood the test of time"

            That wasn't what was said.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Peterson and Neitzsche

            "He's nearly always wrong (or at least grossly oversimplifying) about biology"

            Semi-true, but when you are talking to (more or less literally) idiots, you either simplify everything to lego brick level or you don't get *anything* across.

            It's always easy to tell other people that they should have said something to third person fully knowing the third person wouldn't understand any of it if they actually said it.

            Jesuits, all of these people.

          4. Khaptain Silver badge

            Re: Peterson and Neitzsche

            Just a little piece of Neitzsche which is so relevant to current events. It comes from

            Thus Spoke Zarathustra

            "And these words I say to all overthrowers of statues. Surely it is the greatest folly to throw salt into the sea and statues into the mud. In the mud of your contempt lay the statue, but precisely this is its law, that out of contempt life and living beauty grow back to it! It stands up again with even more godlike features, seductive in its suffering, and truly! It will yet thank you for overthrowing it, you overthrowers!"

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        have a downvote

        for being an idiot

        1. RM Myers

          Re: have a downvote for being an idiot

          That's what I like to see in the El Reg comments - well reasoned, finely nuanced, unemotional expression of opinion. Not the anonymous harsh ranting and personal attacks frequently found in other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Well done A/C, well done. You make us all proud!

  3. Dave K

    I agree with this. Speaking to my wife (who is a university senior lecturer herself), she is proud that she has her current job purely on merit, not just "because she's female". If companies want to improve their gender balance - and they should, the solution is to provide more opportunities for women so that you have more women able to take up these roles and to compete. Simply excluding men from the application process is not the solution.

    In my own role, I've hired a number of people over the years. Given that this is for IT technician stuff, applicants are often quite heavily male dominated, however I've hired a number of women over the past few years. Thing is, they were all hired because they were the best candidates at the time. That means they can hold their own in the role and do just as good a job as everyone else in my team, that means that the team works well together and the female engineers aren't seen to be there just as a box-ticking exercise.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Exactly. When the university says "Our overall aim is unaltered: we want to reach thirty percent female faculty within five years.", how many of the women hired are now going to wonder if they were hired for their ability, of just because of their sex?

      1. Grikath

        Well... It's the TUE.. The "ability" bit for any faculty position is a given.. They've got no "fluffy subjects" there.. It's engineering and/or applied physics all the way..

        Which is the main problem with that 30% goal... There's simply not that many women making a career out of that level of hardcore science.. They're aiming at rougly 5-6 times the fraction of women actually available.. Even if they fish in the international pool, that's quite a tall order.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Well... It's the TUE.. The "ability" bit for any faculty position is a given.. They've got no "fluffy subjects" there.. It's engineering and/or applied physics all the way.."

          It *was* given. When you have quota like this the first thing is to fill the quota and competence is irrelevant.

          Then you'll have ~30% of fluffy subjects as quota persons have to do *something* to justify their existence.

          There's no doubt about that as it has already happened in US: If there aren't enough competent applicants to fill the quota, you hire uncompetent applicants *to fill the quota*.

          Most of them are useless cost centers, but *quota must be filled*. As they very vehemently say here.

        2. EagleZ28

          To compound their difficulty, the available women IN those subjects are ALSO being actively "pursued" by the commercial sector, and if they chose to go into a hard science/tech field in the first place, there seems to me to be an equally strong chance that they want to DO things... instead of "just" teaching those things to other people.

          Even worse (from the Uni's POV), those women are likely to be paid better, if not FAR better, in the corporate sector than in the education sector.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "When the university says "Our overall aim is unaltered: we want to reach thirty percent female faculty within five years.""

        ... and every one involved in that decision are females. What a happy coincidende, isn't it?

        It's never about equality, but supremacy, i.e. feminism.

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      @Dave & Phil, yes indeed, there’s nothing quite as subtly corrosive to confidence as thinking ‘I’m here just to fill a quota’.

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      I've yet to meet a competent woman in the workplace that supports gender quotas.

      I've worked with many competent women.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Same here and I've been lucky to work with many much more competent females than me (male). That's not a problem: Uncompetent idiots are the problem, regardless of the gender.

        And now here some, obviously uncompetent idiots, decided that they should have ~30% of them? WTF?

        Try to introduce 30% quota for males into nursing school and you'll have a feminist riot. That's how their idea of 'equalism' operates.

      2. EagleZ28

        I'm *almost* certain that "a competent woman in the workplace that supports gender quotas"... is an oxymoron.

        Before someone goes to hammer me... I'm not really a "nail". (usually)

        The two best bosses and one of the best CO's that I've ever had were all women.

        Two of the *worst* were men.

        The type of "plumbing" a person has isn't what makes them a good or bad boss... or person either.

  4. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    Imagine that

    Being told that exclusion based on gender is discriminatory. Next thing they'll be told is that basing it on race is also discriminatory. You'd think a uni would know better.

    1. RM Myers

      You'd think a uni would know better.

      You might, but I wouldn't. Based on the constant literature I receive from two very large and well regarded universities, universities are the last places I would expect to know better.

      1. EagleZ28

        Re: You'd think a uni would know better.

        I think there's a strong correlation between this, and things like quotas and such, and ...

        "equality of outcome".

        This university *might* achieve their goal of 30%... they might even achieve "equality"... 50%... but

        they are going to have to *pay* for it... "through the wazoo"... That's going to mean high bonuses and salaries... and to be "equal", they'll then have to do the same thing for the male faculty.

        That's going to mean teachers coming for one reason only... MONEY... and not because they *want* to

        teach the next generation.

        In turn, that will almost certainly mean a drop in the quality of the actual education.

        Ethically, this quota is dubious, at best.

        Financially, the quota is stupid.

        Functionally, the quota is problematic in terms of the function of all schools... to *teach*.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How to do it the right way :D

  6. jake Silver badge

    Just to muddy the waters a trifle ...

    There was an effort to teach more men how to cook at Foothill Jr. College in Los Altos, California about three and a half decades ago. The feminists went berserk. Their theme was "men already have all the opportunities!" It was funny, in a sad kind of way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just to muddy the waters a trifle ...

      I'm sure this sounded a lot more interesting in your head.

      Then again, Mr IR35, everything you post probably does

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just to muddy the waters a trifle ...

        So please tell me, AC, am I supposedly pro-IR35 or anti-IR35? Because quite frankly, I don't know myself. I've never bothered reading up on the subject because it doesn't affect my world in any way, shape, or form. You see, I'm not in the UK, I'm in California. IR35 doesn't apply here.

        Again, are you sure you are not targeting the wrong person with your juvenile attempt at bile, AC?

        Some fanboi/stalkers are mildly amusing and can be fun to play with. Most are boring. This one is just plain perplexing.

  7. alain williams Silver badge

    Just the academic staff ?

    Is there also positive discrimination to achieve an even men/women balance in:

    * janitors, gardeners

    * security staff

    * porters

    * buildings/site maintenance

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Just the academic staff ?


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just the academic staff ?

      "Is there also positive discrimination to achieve an even men/women balance in:"

      Of course no. It's *all* about *power* and *prestige*. No feminist is interested in peon jobs and no need to have any quotas in those jobs.

      That's *very, very obvious*.

    3. EagleZ28

      Re: Just the academic staff ?

      If you can't have "real" equality, without also having "equality of outcome", then we need to *immediately* begin drafting in order to bring the ratio up to 50/50 in the occupations of "foxhole and trench personnel".

      I'm just following that philosophical principal to carry a theory to its extreme ends in order to test it.

      I don't recall the name of it...

      Perhaps someone who does can remind me?

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    No doubt the uni will drop the wording that says women only can apply from the adverts, but that doesn't mean that any of the men who now apply are going to get the job, as its easy enough to just cherry pick female applicants to offer the job to, no matter how many males apply.

    I know because i have been on interview panels before where the management were wanting to hire a female or minority to tick boxes. So lots of good candidates were just never going to get the position because of their gender or skin colour didn't fit in what they needed to meet their 'equal opportunities' quota.

  9. TheProf

    You can't advertise jobs for just women

    But you can still support them in these totally non-discriminatory ways

    "More and better internal career development and coaching programs for women

    Putting in place resources and opportunities specifically for women, such as reserving training and research money for female scientists, as a way to make jobs more attractive to women."

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: You can't advertise jobs for just women

      Internal career and development programs can have just as much gender bias as recruitment programs though? Development programs are not a unique object inside an organisation either, you can have male focused programs and female focused programs simultaneously, and use the one specific to the gender identity of the person you are dealing with.

      I appreciate the point you believe you are making, but it is not a bad thing to have resources tailored for specific members of the workforce, whose needs differ from other members of the workforce. Whether that difference is gender based, cultural, or physical (people with mobility issues for instance) any diverse workforce will have employees with differing needs or requirements, and the employer should be willing to meet those needs and requirements with tailored solutions where possible. At least in my opinion, anyway.

      Disclaimer: I work for an employer whose workforce is dominantly (>75%) female and as a male, I do not feel misrepresented or a minority in the workforce. This is often not the case in the reversed situation, where it should absolutely be possible to have the "minority" gender feel included and represented.

    2. Marty McFly Silver badge

      Re: You can't advertise jobs for just women

      Actually you can advertise jobs just for women...if that is the gender the job requires. Yes, I am referencing adult entertainment as a fringe exception to the rule.

      Going way back to the college days... I remember a case study where the "French Chef Restaurant" could legally discriminate and hire a French person to be the customer-facing personality. They could not, however, discriminate and hire only French cooks to be in the back kitchen doing the actual work.

    3. EagleZ28

      Re: You can't advertise jobs for just women

      Why do I get the feeling that those guidelines were written...

      by a female...

      with a BA in Gender Studies? (or Euro equiv.)

  10. John Robson Silver badge

    At 30% a minority stops becoming a minority...

    Not really - you are still a minority, just a reasonably sizable one...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While humans are involved

    Discrimination follows

    AI triple blind recruiting??

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: While humans are involved

      No. They tried that and found that women have worse recruitment outcomes when gender is hidden.

      See the foreword of (and try not to cry when you realise they think reducing discrimination is a bad thing).

      1. Ozzard

        Re: While humans are involved

        Congratulations to the Aussie Public Service (APS) for its positive discrimination. Unfortunately, a) the study doesn't say what the *absolute* effect of deidentification is, merely the *relative* effect; and b) I'm unconvinced that it's relevant outside of the APS. Certainly I'd love to see the same thing tested in the UK.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: While humans are involved

          Interestingly some civil service jobs are anonymised during the pre-interview stage.

          Tellingly they're the jobs for which I'm reaching interview.

  12. not.known@this.address

    What utter rubbish!

    If the only way to ensure women get employed is to cheat, then they are saying women are not good enough to get the position any other way. Which is also saying "it doesn't matter if you can't really do the job, we will employ you anyway". This is not fair on the women who do get their positions on merit, since it calls into doubt the selection processes used by every organisation and not just the ones dumb enough to advertise the fact they are fixing the results.

    And what are they going to do if I decide that I want to "identify as a woman"? Where will that leave them, and how many pieces of "equality" legislation is that going to fall foul of??

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Or maybe

      "If the only way to ensure women get employed is to cheat, then they are saying women are not good enough to get the position any other way."

      Alternatively, what they're really saying is "we're so intrinsically prejudiced that the only way to prevent us biasing our hiring decisions against female candidates is to exclude any men from even applying, thereby forcing us to choose a female candidate". That's no reflection on the candidates but it says a lot about the recruiters.

      Hiring should be based on merit, but it practically never is. Age, skin colour, gender, social background, cultural interests, accent, height, the suit you turn up to interview in, etc. etc. all form bases for candidate rejection. And elimination, not selection, is commonly the primary process.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or maybe

        "Age... background, cultural interests... are form bases for candidate rejection"

        Of course they are, and *should be*. You can't have 30 years experience in the field if you are 30 years old.

        Background as a hobo definitely is a valid basis for rejection.

        Cultural interests mean you are interested your job in much larger scope than just getting paid, definitely ot has an effect.

        What dream world you live in, really? Whine about *essential selection criterias* as "not merit"?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What utter rubbish!

      "If the only way to ensure women get employed is to cheat, then they are saying women are not good enough to get the position any other way."

      That sounds very much like racism to me. And the people saying so, racists.

      Makes me doubt very much the *actual goals* they have as it's obvious "equality" isn't one of them, no matter how much they lie about it.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: What utter rubbish!

        Females are a different race now?

        The mind absolutely boggles ...

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: What utter rubbish!

          Not just a different race; they're from an entirely different planet!

      2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: What utter rubbish!

        You just demonstrated the stupidity of the woke and how meaningless the accusation of “racism” they come up with are.

  13. Vometia Munro Bronze badge

    "Would she want to work here?"

    Maybe they would be better served asking that question. IM(admittedly somewhat limited)E the thing with trying to enforce more women in IT woefully misses the point. Always. The reason more women aren't working there is because it's shit: it's just a horrible place to be. During my career I saw the workplace become more and more toxic and the male:female ratio went from almost parity at my first IT gig to practically none by the time I eventually threw in the towel many years later. How about focussing on making the computing department a less fundamentally shitty place to be by not making every day crunch day and not having sociopathic management? It might just be what encourages more women back into the workplace. I just remember the whole experience as "I love my work but I hate my job": it shouldn't be like that, and as a counterpoint, the best, most productive time I had in my career is when our boss flounced off and it took them six months to replace him (they offered me the job; I told them to get lost and soon paid for that mistake when they hired The PHB From Hell).

    Surely they must realise that if they're having to try too hard that they need to have a closer look at the fundamental problem. Though "they" is pretty much the entire industry so it's going to be a tough one to change.

    1. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: "Would she want to work here?"

      > The reason more women aren't working there is because it's shit

      If it's shit, then why does anyone work there? TBH I don't think that your experience is particularly typical.

      I've worked in a number of places in IT over the years and none of those places have been anything like what you describe.

      Shit places are shit places though, and as a man I wouldn't put up with it and I wouldn't expect anyone else to either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Would she want to work here?"

        "If it's shit, then why does anyone work there? "

        They have education for it and being jobless in USA means living on street and starving.

        Any other questions?

        1. cornetman Silver badge

          Re: "Would she want to work here?"

          Just as long as it hasn't made you bitter.

      2. Vometia Munro Bronze badge

        Re: "Would she want to work here?"

        My experience is that the guys tend to tough it out longer, but it doesn't mean they like it. I'm no psychologist so at best I can speculate about the reasons, only my observation that, sooner or later, given the choice, people tend to move away from that sort of environment.

        I dare say that there are still plenty of good places to work but IT does have something of an image problem with bad management and burn-out which hasn't exactly been enhanced by the offshoring frenzy of recent years. People who want a stable and supportive environment in which they can flourish will tend to look elsewhere.

      3. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: "Would she want to work here?"

        Because men tend to do stay in a shitty job which is paid well, putting money at higher priority over physiological comfort?

        The society (and natural “provider” instinct) put pressure on men to earn more money so men tend to put up with shit.

        When my wife did not like her management she just quit, expecting that my income will still be there. I don’t have such luxury.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: "Would she want to work here?"

          I don’t have such luxury.

          You're just annoyed because you didn't do it first...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Would she want to work here?"

        "If it's shit, then why does anyone work there? "

        First, a caveat...

        I'm aware that USA and UK are different, but that we still have a LOT in common.

        I'm aware of some of the differences, but not necessarily the extent/degree...

        So, this is coming from a USA perspective...

        For men who are of working age, not in college, and who *appear* to be healthy, there's a

        definite social stigma to being unemployed... which usually does not apply to women at all,

        or to the same degree when it does apply.

        In USA, a man who has to pay child support and or alimony, MUST do so... at ANY cost...

        or risk being sent to jail/prison.

        FWIW, I've also noticed a definite discrimination, BY EMPLOYERS, against applicants who do

        not CURRENTLY already have a job.

  14. Lee D

    Positive discrimination is still discrimination.

    Equality is equally (sorry!) not "we have 50% female staff".

    Now... I describe my stance as pro-underdog. I get that women are getting a duff deal and aren't on an even footing. But I don't see that shoving them into jobs where they haven't competed on an equal basis to get them is doing anyone any favours. The same for disabled, minorities, etc.

    If you put women in the position in preference to men, in order to try to maintain some artificial ratio, that's just going to make people resent them, which will make their jobs harder.

    Fred and Philis both apply for the same job, same experience, same qualifications, etc. Philis gets it "because we need more women"? No.

    If you want to do this, and do it properly - double-blind interviews. Have the candidates prepare a CV and then strip age, gender, name (often indicator of gender) out of it entirely. The HR department provide made-impartial CVs with code numbers. They're reviewed by an interview panel, and a list of code numbers are invited to interview. HR doesn't even need to know the code-numbers! It could all be automated - "#6 is through to the next stage, send Stage 2 email to invite them to interview".

    The candidates are invited to interview, but not in-person. I mean, it's 2020. Live-chat it. They can do that from the HR department if necessary - candidate comes in, someone verifies their identity, sticks them in front of a computer, the people actually *interviewing* have no idea who they are interviewing but get a chat window to ask questions.

    You know it's the candidate and not someone else.

    They still have to think on their feet and provide answers to arbitrary questions.

    You still have their CV to refer to.

    It removes all indicators that they are maybe a stutterer, in a wheelchair, have a birthmark, are blind even, black, a woman, whatever it is that you don't want to be accused of discriminating against.

    If they have to interview from home for whatever reason, send your HR person to them with a laptop. Nobody will ever know. And if their physical condition doesn't affect the ability to do the job... who cares? Nobody can discriminate against you on that basis.

    And if you have difficulty with keyboards, dyslexia etc. - well HR can transcribe what you say for you if it's not affecting the job you're being asked to do.

    Maybe the HR section can then make a sanitised recommendation based on the other tangible factors, say, attire worn to interview, visible tattoos, pleasant greeting, whatever it is that you want to look at. And then any statement that needs to be made that is relevant to the job is revealed later: "This person is unable to walk or lift heavy items". "#6 was pleasant, well-dressed (without saying what in), arrived early."

    Then this literally isolates you legally in terms of discrimination. There's nothing more you could possibly do. You'd never have a lawsuit again and could provide all kinds of historical data to prove it. Hell, it might even reveal internal prejudices - how many candidates were rejected and were female? How many candidates were rejected but didn't have a degree? Gather that data, analyse it, and it tells you whether people just weren't suited to the job (but just happened to be female) or whether you were subconsciously rejecting perfectly-fitting candidates just because they were female before.

    It's this "I'm a better judge of someone face-to-face" nonsense that really kills a company's workforce. I've worked with any number of people who can convince people of anything, but are useless at the job. Because they were interviewed face-to-face and were "our kind" of people.

    Think how many prejudices you could weed out almost instantly. From "This guy has a lisp" to "This guy is paraplegic". Who cares? Can he do the job?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      HR would have to transcribe for every candidate if you don't want to risk having an unconscious bias towards faster more accurate typists, that and a few iterations of refinement could see this blind interview method working quite well in an honest company.

      The biggest stumbling block will be how we give jobs to our chums, codeword in answer to question 3?

      1. Lee D

        If the biggest stumbling block is people asking how do we abuse the system, chances are it's a good system.

  15. Mark192

    Quotas won't work

    Pfff, until they sort out pregnancy and childbirth, extremely painful periods that many women experience and debilitating menopausal symptoms that many women experience, plus give men paternity pay & leave to match the equivalent given to women (so that finances don't mean women become the main carer by default) plus flexible working, genuine opportunity to switch to part time, subsidised childcare close to the office etc etc then it's still an institutionally sexist organisation in an institutionally sexist world.

    Oh, their target is only 30%? Easily achievable by quotas and no change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Mark192 - Re: Quotas won't work

      There are some countries where all you are saying is very close to reality. They got their quotas without any friction and their economy/society doesn't crumble because of female physiology so I don't know why are you bringing it up here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quotas won't work

      "Oh, their target is only 30%? Easily achievable by quotas and no change."

      Yea, if you are looking for a kindergarden teacher. Try to find mechanical engineer (MSc.): Less than 10% of those are females, so no amount of quotas will find 30% of them.

      Statements like that are just stupid as issuers have no idea whatsoever about reality in different professions.

  16. Peter Prof Fox

    Keep up the +ve discrimination

    What the 'bad thing' brigade forget that there's not a level playing field in the first place. I rather admire the objective of 30% female staff 'so that they get a proper voice' in the culture. If that means +ve discrimination then go-ahead. The number one disadvantage is children/child care. While women are expected to do most of this it is bound to impact on availability, opportunity for training, continuity of employment, willingness to work far from home and sheer time required to find daily child-care. That's before mentioning prejudice against 'getting pregnant' and 'always needing time off to look after sick children'. +ve discrimination is a helping-hand up for those who need it to counter the obvious and pervasive -ve discrimination. The university is trying to do the right thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keep up the +ve discrimination

      " If that means +ve discrimination then go-ahead."

      So discrimination is OK as long as it's benefitting you. Nice logic here: I thought we were getting rid of discrimination. There's no "positive discrimination", it's just discrimination and anyone claiming otherwise is lying for his/her *own benefit*.

      "The university is trying to do the right thing."

      No, they are trying to dump males out so they can have all-female university (management). We have glaring examples here in North about that: One feminist managed to change 13-12 distribution to 25 females in just 2 years.

      In *Equal Opportunity" office. That's what they are after: Power and money.

    2. EagleZ28

      Re: Keep up the +ve discrimination

      Peter - I've read your comment several times...

      "I rather admire the objective of 30% female staff 'so that they get a proper voice' in the culture."

      Now, finally, I have a question.

      When females (at least in Western culture) ALREADY have "a proper voice" in the ENTIRE/OVERALL culture, why do they NEED or DESERVE to have "a proper voice" in ever fragment of culture?

      For an extreme example... do we give them a 50% say in what goes in gay-male marriages? That's a subculture. What about the things that go on (whatever those things might be) in a gay male bar or club or other social and/or professional event?

      Do we give them a 50% say in what happens in the Boy Scouts? In male locker rooms?

  17. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    We had this nearly 20 years ago (ooo, I'm getting old) from somebody who wanted a taxi operators' licence and stated they would refuse to employ men, refuse to transport men. We asked repeatedly "you intend to break the law?" No, I just won't employ men or tranport men. "So, you're saying you intend to break the law". "What about a man in a dress? A woman who wants to collect her husband from hospital?" No, no men. We couldn't get her to understand that she was basing her business plan and application on an intent to break the law.

    The right way to do it is to target your services, advertise in women's magazines, paint the taxis bright pink, put boxes of calling cards in womens' loos.

  18. robidy

    If you have a shortage of scientists you train more.

    If you have a shortage of female scientists you support them to become great scientists people can aspire to.

    Employing a woman to fill a quota risks getting the wrong person, letting them and the process down.

  19. Cynic_999


    My local fertility clinic will only allow males to provide sperm donations. Disgusting gender discrimination!

    The uncomfortable truth is that there are some things that a man or a woman is usually better at doing than the opposite gender. The discrimination in those cases is purely genetic, and nothing we should even be attempting to correct.

  20. Ozzard

    *reads back*

    Wow. I invite anyone interested to read the comments on this piece and take a guess at the gender bias of El Reg commenters. Then we should run a quick study to check that ;-).

    1. Jeremy Puddleduck

      You just know whenever this sort of topic comes up, the hairy old misogynists will creep out and express their joy at women being kept down.

  21. Juillen 1

    Interest and choice.

    The thing with all these quotas is that they completely miss interest and choice as part of the equation.

    Women historically (and even in current times) have as a statistical cohort shown a preference for jobs that give flexibility to work/life balance.

    This does not mean every woman chooses that flexibility (as female doctors, physicists, mathematicians, engineers and so on demonstrate), but a lot do.

    They often choose careers that give them that flexibility. My other half, for example, did her degree in engineering, aced it with a First, then chose a career in Finance, because it required what she is great at (diligence, accuracy, planning and calculations), paid better and was more flexible.

    The ratio of female Engineers that follow that path through a career is small, compared to the male presence. That's not because it's a "Boys club", it's because interest goes elsewhere. Which is fine.

    It does rankle when these quotas are set up saying "There must be (x)% female representation". Quite possibly in some fields, there aren't actually enough women who _chose_ that path as a career to fill those posts globally, irrespective of whether they're even good or not, so if one place meets a quota, they're guaranteeing that other places will have few, or no women (thus perpetuating a myth that women are excluded).

    It's also fallacious to claim that "if you are in a minority, you're automatically weak and in need of protection by numbers"; I work in a predominantly female environment (and the women who are in the senior, and often the more junior roles are fiercely competent).

    What I find is that when I go out and talk sense to people, they talk sense back to me. We reach agreements on basis of evidence.

    Our work needs are met, and we're all expected to do our jobs. I'm ok with "being in a minority". I honestly don't care what colour of skin (and there are all colours in the environment, again, all fiercely competent), sex or anything someone is. As long as they're good at what they do, and they mesh to make the combined group better than the sum of the individuals, we crack on with it and make the world a better place where we can.

  22. codejunky Silver badge


    "The university itself was unapologetic, stating it “remains committed to improving its gender balance,”"

    Then its obviously a university that is in decline or will be soon. How can it perform well if its criteria is to put sjw discrimination ahead of ability?

    You cannot have positive discrimination without discriminating against. And why any woman would want to apply to a place that obviously sees them as inferior I dont know.

    1. not.known@this.address
      Big Brother

      Re: Ha

      "Then its obviously a university that is in decline or will be soon. How can it perform well if its criteria is to put sjw discrimination ahead of ability?"

      You obviously haven't been following what is happening at many UK colleges and universities then :-(

      For places of education, that should be encouraging debate so you can take a stupid argument and show exactly *why* it is stupid, they are doing a wonderful job of shutting down any suggestion that there could be an alternative (no matter how good or completely batshit crazy and useless) by refusing to allow any dissenting voices to be heard - ostensibly to "protect" the students from "hate speech" or any of the other "bad things" the Politically Correct brigade dream up, but really making it so there can be only ONE viewpoint expressed regardless of what might actually happen in the Real World (I fear for the students of the future - what happens when they leave Further Indoctrination and discover the rest of the planet doesn't give a rat's ass what they think is fair?).

      Those who don't learn from the mistakes of the past will just keep repeating them. Those that seek to destroy the past are going to keep repeating the old mistakes, and make a whole lot of new ones too.

  23. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Up a Gumtree without a paddle

    7 years ago I was looking for a flat in Edinburgh, and an ad on Gumtree said, "only Indians need apply". My first reaction was, that's unfair, illegal, and colonial - what did we ever do to them?

    Then I realised that explicit racism had saved me a wasted journey.

    The only thing necessary for good to triumph is that evil men do nothing.

  24. David 164

    Rightly so, discrimination of any sort is evil.

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