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Breaking barriers or dangerous for women? RT debates Dutch university’s ‘female-only’ vacancies

Breaking barriers or dangerous for women? RT debates Dutch university’s ‘female-only’ vacancies
A Dutch engineering university unveiled a plan to hire only women for some of its teaching positions, as a solution to combat gender biases at work. RT has heard different opinions on whether the method actually helps the cause.

In hopes of boosting diversity and fighting “implicit gender bias,” Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands opened permanent teaching vacancies “exclusively” for women in one of its programs. Men can be considered for the job only if no suitable female candidates are found in six months.

Political activist and comedian Kate Smurthwaite welcomed the move as a solution to combat gender inequality, because the existing “system is totally set up to favor men.”

If young women don’t see women in positions of power, doing the jobs that they might want to do, it slows their progress. Without women at the top it’s harder for women to break through. So they’re just taking this opportunity.

The university’s model is one of the measures that can help women reach their “full potential” without having to spend “so much time and energy overcoming the obstacles” female employees face in society, the activist said.

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Media commentator and TV / radio host Gina Loudon disagreed, arguing that the idea is doing no one any good. She believes that although the university’s methods are being put forward as a remedy against bias, they are not helpful for women and discriminate against men. If a woman gets “a high-power job at that particular institution, everyone’s going to know that she had special advantages to get there,” she said.

We don’t do any groups any favors in playing identity politics, especially when we’re shutting down an entire group of people just to give something to another group of people. It sends a message that those people somehow weren’t competent enough and couldn’t earn it. That’s very dangerous for women.

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