I am writing to address something that has concerned me for a while. I have always been a proponent of equality for people regardless of their inklings. I'm one of the few people I know who do not condemn people for having discriminatory ideologies (so long as it does not affect the rights of others). I know many people who are in favour of equality, but in discussion have very discriminatory opinions. In particular: men, and men in education. Men are a growing minority in education and there are no initiatives made available to make education less oppressive for men.
If you take a look at Statcan's data on education and population you will notice some trends. First of all, the male-female split of the population is about 45%-55% (assuming dichotomy between male and female). Now, assuming equality rates between males and females will be 45%-55% each. However, 55% of high school drop outs were male. It was stated that the males between 21-24 without a highschool diploma were not engaged in the education system. It is widely believed that men and women learn differently, which is why there was a lot of reform for schools to make them more accessible for women. Now, it is clear that we need to make it more accessible for men otherwise the intention of equality will be completely be neglected entirely.
In 2006 39.7% of all university degrees, diplomas and certificates were granted to men. In fact, roughly 58% of all students are female. Women are the majority in the education system, but more than the assumed equality could explain. Despite the fact that men are the minority there are grants for women to promote their enrollment in the education system. All this in spite of the fact that the majority of drop outs are male, men are reporting not being engaged in education, and women are being granted the majority of the degrees! How can sexism like this exist?
Affirmative action is my explanation for this. We're at the point now where affirmative action (in most cases) is not needed. Affirmative action is allowed discrimination. It promotes the idea that it's okay to take candidates who are not as capable so long as in the past they were discriminated against. Affirmative action undermines the intention of the educational system: taking in the best candidates available to teach them the best quality education available. This problem is also happening in the US who have similar statistics. Women have quotas in many programs. Programs which they are already largely overrepresented. I understand the affirmative action was instated to promot diversity, but anyone who actually understands diversity will know that there is more to it than just looking different or having a different religion. Diversity exists in people from the same background, from the same sex, and from the same region even! People who look similar are likely different in so many more important ways than sex or ethnicity or religion.
I would like to restate that I am in favour for equality. For equality to work we need to recognize that both men and women need help; not just women. We have the Women's Centre which helps women with issues relating to women, but there's no Men's Centre there to help men. Men also suffer from physical abuse. Even from their female partners. No one offers us help. Women didn't stand by when it happened to them, but society seems to be content to stand by while it happens to men. That is not equality. That is sexism.