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Don’t pander to me.

May 20, 2010

Canada is going to be the new home of 19 scientists who have been recruited from other countries to assume university positions as Canada Excellence in Research Chairs.  It’s a reverse brain drain and the UK is not happy.

Can you guess who else is not happy?  Some women.  Why?  Because all 19 scientists are men.  Of course, the Liberals are accusing the Conservatives of doing this on purpose but none of the proposed candidates from the Canadian universities were women.  And, of course, this explanation isn’t good enough.

Liberal status of women critic Anita Neville said the government has a responsibility to ensure its programs are equitable by gender.

“Why did they not go back to (the universities) and ask them to re-submit,” she said. “I find it hard to believe the universities can’t identify any women for these positions.”

Robbins said the fault lies partly in the CERC program’s focus on fields where women are under-represented, as well as an undervaluing of social science and humanities research.

(from The Montreal Gazette)

This is just ridiculous.

I presume that the universities identified the best candidate for each chair.  Why should the government go back and ask them to pick someone other than the best candidate just so that some women are included.  I can just imagine the departmental meetings.  “We could have the top neuroscientist in the world but he is a man.  He even wants to move to Canada and wants to do research here but we just can’t allow that.  We have to pick a woman.”

I would never want to be hired just because I’m a woman.  I want to be hired because I’m the best person for the job regardless of gender.

Likewise, the areas which are selected for funding should be chosen based on the outcomes and future applications of the research.  Money should be invested with the greatest possibility of positive benefit for the country.  These decisions should not be based on the gender (or race) of the researchers who specialize in a given area.

Do you want there to be more female senior scientists?  Encourage more girls to participate in science.  Encourage more young women to major in science.  Encourage more women to pursue research.  Eventually, these women will be the senior scientists because they have earned the title.

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