In what might be seen as a rare outbreak of sanity in the discourse on gender equality, on 22nd Feb 2016 the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) announced that it will be "prioritising those least likely to enter higher education, [so] the plan focuses on male students from the most deprived areas of Scotland, who are 8.5% less likely to go to university" (SFC News, 2016 ).
The SFC states that "Men are in demand in careers like care, nursing, teaching and social work and we want to help them get there, just as we want to helpwomen into areas where they are highly sought after like engineering, technology and construction"(SFC News, 2016).
The position of the Gender Equity Network is that people should be encouraged to pursue the work and life they are best suited to and happiest in, and moreover careers in which their skills and other relevant attributes are needed; these other attributes may sometimes be that person’s gender.
This is a far more sensible focus than ensuring that a particular profession is balanced in terms of gender and we are glad to see the SFC moving towards this position.
But for the most part, the SFC should focus on making sure there is a level playing field, and that people can make their own choices about what career or lifestyle they want to live.