Affirmative Action for Men

Affirmative Action has come a long way, baby. It’s come so far that eventually sometimes it starts to work in the other direction.

Apparently many Canadian universities are now adjusting medical school admissions procedures so that they target men. According to an article by Carolyn Abraham and Kate Hammer in the Globe and Mail:

Dr. [Paul] Cappon, president and CEO of the Canadian Council on Learning, says that for the past five to eight years, some universities across the country have been tinkering with admissions to boost the number of men in medical school – looking beyond marks to give male applicants, in particular, credit for things like community service.

Dr. Cappon… says “schools are doing that surreptitiously in Canada, deans of law and medicine. I used to be an academic VP running a university and I know they are doing it.” Schools are “doing it surreptitiously, because it’s politically incorrect to do it.”

Canadian women continue to apply to medical schools in record numbers. Men, however, are more likely to be accepted in most provinces. Back in 2008 the British Medical Journal published a controversial article called “Are there too many female medical graduates? Yes.

The author, Brian McKinstry, argued that the oversupply of female doctors was trouble because men and women tended to concentrate in different areas. More women meant more primary care physicians and psychiatrists, and less orthopedic surgeons. McKinstry was writing about the United Kingdom, though the trends he’s discussed apply throughout the developed world.

Canada began to legally encourage preferential treatment for women (as well as people with disabilities, Canadian natives, and “visible minorities”) in admissions and employment practices with its Employment Equity Act of 1986.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer