We are currently witnessing a massive remake of science where traditional considerations of merit and rigor are being trampled by demands for ‘gender equity’. …
Just look what’s happened to our major source of funding for medical research — the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC). This important body is easily the main source of funding for medical research in Australia with a budget of over $1 billion.
It was the appointment of immunology professor Anne Kelso in 2015 as CEO of the NHMRC which turbocharged the ongoing push to get more women into top positions in science. The result, whether intentional or accidental, has been systematic discrimination against male scientists, starving them of funding.
In Kelso’s first year she introduced regular monitoring of all science institutions to make sure they have policies in place to advantage women over men. … By 2021, reviewers of grant proposals assessing candidates’ work histories were required to treat time mothers spend out of the workforce as if that had been devoted to producing high-quality research.
Roll over meritocracy, here come the girls:
Then came the big one, the push for equal grants for women. Last year the public propaganda exercise began, with compliant media dutifully making the case for an ‘equitable research landscape’. Articles appeared whinging about how unfair it was that men still won more grants, particularly at senior levels. Naturally, the ABC hopped on board, followed by The Conversation, and many others. A petition popped up asking for the NHMRC to ‘allocate the same amount of funding to each gender’, and the organisation released a discussion paper presenting various options designed to give women funding from the critical Investigator Grant Scheme, which awards around $370 million in research funding each year.
The NHRMC’s initial preference, option 3, involved separating applications based on gender and allocating an equal number of grants to each gender. But then it emerged that while this approach would be highly effective at discriminating against more senior male researchers, it actually discriminated against early career men less than the existing system. That’s because feminist tinkering is already doing such a terrific job tilting grants in the junior ranks to favour women.
Naturally, the NHMRC decided to keep the existing discriminatory system for early career researchers and introduce option 3 for senior researchers. By October this year, it was announced that this had become policy.
Now, here’s the twist. On the very same day the new policy was announced, the NHMRC released data showing that it actually wasn’t true that men received most of the Investigator Grants — women already received 52.9 per cent. Existing discriminatory measures are biting hard, more women are being pushed through from lower research levels and they already comprise the bulk of the people receiving these valuable grants.
In an interview in November, Anne Kelso evaded a question about the current gender balance of grant recipients and said of the discrimination ‘as soon as it’s achieved its goal, we’ll stop’. Perhaps gender warriors are unaware of the most recent statistics showing that their goals are already in the rear-view mirror.
The education system was deliberately tilted to favor girls because women were less than 50% of university graduates. Now they’re 60%, and the discrimination is stronger than ever. No talk of a level playing field, or outcry at the unequal outcome — what does that say about who holds political power?
It’s worth considering some of the other factual flaws in the feminist argument:
- Applications from women are already more likely to receive funding. In 2022, 13.9 per cent of applications from men were funded versus 17.9 per cent for women. For the most sought-after senior level grants, 42 per cent of women were funded versus only 23 per cent of men. And this isn’t new – even in the 1990s women’s applications were looked upon more favourably.
- The greater success rate for applications from women is not due to their superiority. On the contrary, NHMRC admits that ‘scores are more likely to be lower for women than for men’. The greater funding rate for women is due to the very effective discriminatory process being used to award grants.
- At the most senior level there are roughly four times more male than female applicants simply because there are so many more men than women in the senior ranks of health and medical researchers — it wasn’t long ago that science fields were almost entirely dominated by men.
And of course the quality and quantity of research continues to drop, as evidenced by the ongoing decline in the number of major innovations per capita since the 1960s. Funding shenanigans by the bureaucracy is also how we get this:
Women like to marry up, but now complain that there aren’t enough available “good” men (i.e. better credentialed than them). Is there no end to their woes? Perhaps there will be a push for polygamy?