REVIEW | University: Place of Education, or Bastion of Sexism? (POI Podcasts #4)
Episode number four of POI podcasts was as fiery as it was fascinating. Clear, but respectful; disagreement really put both points of view under scrutiny. This debate is a continuation of a wonderfully written article by Emer Kelly. The speakers this time were: Olivia Margaroli (Liberal), Eleanor Roberts (Conservative), and Evan Saunders (Labour).
This debate naturally fell into two halves: women’s achievement within university, and women’s experience within university. We addressed these in their respective order.
As for the former, a main discussion point was the number of male professors within universities — roughly 76%. Is this an indication of systemic sexism? Or, simply a manifestation of the different choices the sexes make?
Also discussed, was the usefulness of asserting female victimhood at the hands of the educative system. Our speakers disagreed as to whether it is helpful in crafting a better future, or actually harmful to the success of young women.
Another more troubling topic was sexual violence. Statistics, cited in Emer’s original article, indicate that this is occurring to the vast majority of female students (70%). Its existence is not in dispute, but its causes are. Is it a result of a culture of sexual assault and harassment at university? Or, perhaps, as at least 50% of assaults involve inebriation, is this a culture of substance irresponsibility?
To take an alternate perspective, are we simply looking at this debate in the wrong manner? Olivia, both in her response to the source article and during the debate, said that this is not a zero-sum-game of men vs. women. Rather, that female advancement aids society in its entirety. However, how does this reframing match with her concurrent calls for quotas?
Irrespective of where you sit on this debate, even if it is the fence, this podcast will challenge you. Three fantastic young thinkers went head-to-head, to produce a great listen. You can catch the podcast here.
Written by Podcast Host, Alexander Dennis
Hello, I’m Alexander Dennis, and I am going into my third undergraduate year at the University of Exeter. I study Politics & International Relations, with a possible year abroad hanging in the balance. My particular interest in politics really started in early 2016: yes, it was ‘Brexit’. I was at once intrigued, and confused, by something so critical. From that baptism, I have become somewhat addicted to political discussion, intrigued by issues ranging from drugs policy to taxation. So I followed my nose: I applied for a degree in the subject.