Oxford Uni ends women-only fellowship after deciding it's discriminatory towards men
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The University of Oxford has been criticised for ending a women-only fellowship after a committee deemed it to be “discriminatory on the grounds of gender”.
Oxford University’s senior administrative committee has ruled that the Joanna Randall-MacIver junior research fellowship breaches equality laws and say it should be opened up to all genders.
According to Cherwell - the university’s student newspaper - Oxford’s decision to open up this fellowship for male applicants has provoked a backlash from former recipients.
The newspaper reports one woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, as saying: “It’s sad to see the struggle against discrimination being invoked to justify such a move. Men have never been underrepresented among Oxford’s academic staff. Women still are.”
The fellowship is offered for research in the fields of fine art, music or literature and was established in 1932 by British-born archaeologist and Oxford graduate David Randall-MacIver. He set it up in his late wife’s name and stipulated it should be for women graduates only, Mr Randall-MacIver’s estate continues to fund it today.
In a statement Oxford University said: “Under the 2010 Equality Act, employers are not normally permitted to advertise or recruit to posts open to one gender only. As a consequence, Oxford University has changed the terms of a number of historically-created posts so they are no longer gender-specific. The Joanna Randall-MacIver Fellowship is the most recent example.
“The University is very much aware of the lack of women in academic roles and is working to end the imbalance as a priority. Several initiatives to promote equality, including professional development programmes for female academics, are now well-established and beginning to show an impact.”