On Tuesday, Prostate Cancer UK highlighted the institutional discrimination men faced in the area of cancer research and today in an interview and article in The Independent, Universities Minister David Willetts said that white working class boys should be treated as an ethnic minority because so few are now going to university. He also was interviewed on the Radio 4 Today programme and there was a follow up article in The Independent on the issue.
The final figures for last autumn's university intake in the UK show a fall in applications from men which was four times that among women. Just 30% of male school-leavers applied to university for autumn 2012, compared to 40% of female school-leavers, according to UCAS.
In his interview he quotes:
"There are now more women who enter university each year than there are men who submit a Ucas form. That marks a tremendous achievement for women, who were in a minority among undergraduates as recently as the 1990s. But it is also the culmination of a decades-old trend in our education system which seems to make it harder for boys and men to face down the obstacles in the way of learning. That is a challenge for all policymakers."
There are four issues here.
Firstly, 'the challenge for all policymakers' that Willetts talks about is a challenge that has been known for decades but the educataion establishment has been too frightened and politically correct (only girls count - boys are disposable) to do anything about it. Politicians, policymakers and the establishment like the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and the Government Equalities Department are too biased against men. No point in Willetts saying there is a challenge but not offering a solution.
Secondly, Willetts and others are still to afraid to go that extra mile and admit that the education system and Britain as a whole) are institutionally biased against boys and has been captured by ideologues who only view women and girls as important.
Thirdly, as 'Groan' pointed out in his comments on the last post, if organisations such as the Fawcett Society, Equalities and Human Rights Commission, The Guardian, the TUC etc want quotas for women in boardrooms, then why not quotas for university places for boys? I am not in favour as all quotas are wrong, but it is a point worth making in showing up their hypocrisy.
Lastly, this is another landmark story (I take the point as one reader mentioned this week that we have known about the figures for years but this and the cancer story have dominated the headlines on both days respectively). Both highlight beyond doubt the structural and institutional discrimination against men. In two areas, of fundamental importance - education and health.
The door of opportunity on these and so many other issues is starting to open. We need to keep the pressure on.
Posted by Skimmington.
Media Update (other coverage) - BBC with debate
Ps tried a new font (Verdana) is it better than Arial?