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Affirmative Action

Pearse Ward wardp at herald.usask.ca
Thu May 4 18:48:38 EST 1995

In article <3oavgm$928 at gazette.bcm.tmc.edu>, amcgough at bcm.tmc.edu (Amy
McGough) wrote:

> Marcy,
>   You shouldn't assume that every women in this newsgroup agrees with you 
> about affirmative action.  I don't think that Michael's posting was 
> particularly nasty or flaming, he's just frustrated.  I didn't notice him 
> making blanket statements about people in this newsgroup or groups of 
> people in general and I've certainly seen plenty of that in w-i-b 
> postings before.  
>   I wonder how many of the people here have had spouses miss out on jobs 
> or opportunities based on their gender.  I have.  Things are not so 
> simple when you're married to "one" (a white male).  I don't think that 
> wishing they would "go away" is going to accomplish anything.
>  -- Amy

As follow-up to this, affirmative action hasn't ever affected me in any
negative way personally, but here in Canada the Minister for employment in
the province of Ontario is on the public record as saying that white males
need not apply to any public service position in the province of Ontario
for the next five years as a result of "employment equity" legislation
passed in that province; that is regardless of how qualified for the
position said white male may be.

The argument that; "women and minority groups have been discriminated
against in the past therefore it is time to discriminate against white
males" is morally and ethically indefensible. It is equally as wrong as
the discrimination against women and minorities that preceded it. Calling
such discrimination "employment equity" or "affirmative action" is
sophistry. You now have the situation where committees are evaluating
candidates based on which will get them more "equity points," a white
female, or a black male (this really did happen very recently).

There have been many interesting and informative discussions in this group
regarding the problems women face in science with respect to juggling
family and career, particularly given the fact that the way science is
done today is based on a system geared towards men, who have wives at home
raising their families. There are enough women in science at entry levels
(graduate students and post-docs) who are the best qualified for any given
job that "affirmative action' is not required if equality of access is
assured. More time and effort should be spent on reforming how science is
done to better reflect a changing work force, than on lobbying for
discriminatory legislation that is an embarrassment to many women and
others, who have fought long and hard for equality. 


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