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Science Careers Blog

October 24, 2010

Doctoring admissions standards

How can we get more members of the underrepresented gender into selective science-based educational programs?  One Canadian medical school re-adjusted its admission criteria to de-emphasize the area where the underrepresented gender does not perform as well. Correcting a former "over-emphasis on grade point average," admissions committee chair Harold Reiter of McMaster University medical school told the Toronto Globe and Mail, made it possible to admit more men.

Yes, more men.  North of the border, where the majority of medical students and of doctors under 35 are women, female med school applicants outnumber males by more than a third.  But because medical schools seem to want to maintain a gender balance in enrollment, men reportedly have an easier time getting in despite apparently lower grades. 

After all the decades of studies explaining the neurological, endocrinological and evolutionary roots of females' natural inferiority in science and math studies, women applicants' inconvenient propensity to outperform their male counterparts in pre-med courses has galvanized the attention of Canada's educational leaders, according to the newspaper.  Medical planners reportedly worry about a looming labor shortage caused by women doctors' tendency to work fewer hours than men, at least during the child-rearing years.  Education experts also fear that female majorities will make the medical profession unattractive to men.  "If it looks like a woman's program, you'll have trouble attracting both men and women," says Paul Cappon, president of the Canadian Council on Learning, quoted in the Globe and Mail.

Here's an alternative proposal: Men could assume more household responsibilities so that female physicians with families could work longer days.  Another: Encourage young people to disregard the gender makeup of professions in making their career choices.  No word yet on whether educational authorities will push for these solutions, too 

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