Husband attended a Science Faculty meeting at the National University of Malaysia the other day, and there was some discussion on the new intake to the faculty. (The beginning of the university year is July here.)
There were around about 8oo new science students starting their first year of university, and 77.2% of them are women. That’s right. This is a Muslim, Asian country … and women lead the way to the future of science.
Of course the powers that be are scratching their heads over this one. They wanted women to have parity; no one expected that once you remove the societal barriers, they would prove to be better.
The solution might lie with taking a good look at the way in which students are expected to learn at school and the way in which they are assessed, which is now obviously favouring girls. Or the answer might lie more with the age at which university is proffered as the next step to most students. Men might benefit more from entering at an older age, or even with a more narrowly-focused subject requirement. Nations should perhaps fine-tune an alternate entry level to tertiary education to better meet the needs of men.
I see it as a problem, which does need to be addressed and rectified. We want equality, not imbalance. But for all that, somewhere inside, the woman in me feels … let’s admit it, a tad smug. In science, in our local university at least, we’ve more than made it.