Source: The Mercury, 31 January, 1995, p.2


Women 'should
get preferential
entrance to uni'

by Kim Sweetman 
in Canberra

Female students should be 
given preferential university 
entrance over males, a report 
from the Department of Employ-
ment, Education and Training 
recommends.

The report said that females' 
tertiary entrance scores should 
be boosted by a "bonus" 10 per 
cent to increase their chances 
of entry. Females consistently 
did far better than males at uni-
versity and should be given pre-
ferential treatment by admission 
centres. The performance gap did 
not show up in high school, but 
of two students who entered uni-
versity with the same tertiary 
entrance score the female was 
likely to outperform the male, 
it said.

"Some female applicants are 
being denied access to univer-
sity - or to the course of their 
choice - while others with a lower 
likelihood of success [males] are 
being admitted", the report said.

"Less capable students, on average, 
are taking up the places of students 
with more potential".

The report was drafted by Donald 
Lewis, of the University of Wollong-
ong and already has been used as the 
basis for increasing funds for some 
groups.

"To achieve equality in admissions 
at the margin, female school leavers 
should be admitted who have a tert-
iary entrance score which is 10 per 
cent less than that required of 
males", the report said.

Females school leavers achieved 
results almost ten per cent better 
than males.

"The superiority of females is large 
in first year and the gap increases 
in subsequent years of study", the 
report said.

The report said the implications of 
a policy favouring females were 
beyond the scope of the study, but 
the option needed wide discussion 
and debate.

National Union of Students women's 
officer Michelle McDonald said the 
union supported affirmative action 
but the recommendation seemed to go 
too far.

"It could discriminate against individ-
uals and statistics can't be relied on 
in every case", she said.


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