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All applicants may apply .. but only females will be accepted

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The well-read German blogger Fefe reports:

According to alleged leaked internal documents of the University of Lund (Sweden) , men no longer have a chance at academic positions there. 
There are normal tenders, but when a man wins, all of a sudden the money is gone and the funding is stopped.
the faculty only provides the necessary funding for the position if a woman is to receive it. 
If a male applicant is about to take the position, the appointment is cancelled.
No, not gender studies. 
Faculty of Engineering.

It seems that the Swedish university is keeping to the letter of the law in opening up job positions to both men and women. However, only women will be accepted because only female professors will have any funding.

At the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University (LTH) it is seen as a concern that there are so few female professors. The proportion of female professors in 2006-2016 has increased from 11.8% to 15.5%, but the distribution over different areas is very varied, according to an internal policy document. Women who have become professors have mainly become so through promotion.

This is far from the Swedish government’s goal that as many women as men should be recruited as professors by the year 2030, which is not a minor intervention in university autonomy.

Academic Rights Watch

With LTH, it may be argued that females usually aren’t particularly interested in most of its research areas. A measure of actual interest is the percentage of novice students within the diverse programs. According to modern governmental statistics, the percentage of female beginners in electronics, computer technology and automation is 15%, which mirrors the proportion of woman professors in those fields. In other higher education categories, the inverse relationship prevails. At Sweden’s largest departments in gender studies, the female college students represent an overwhelming majority, and there is only one male professor—in all the departments combined.

However LTH and Lund university, like all public government, have to abide by way of government policy. To oppose political authority with rational arguments based on empirical evidence is futile.

University will hire an incompetent woman rather than a competent man

Sweden, it should be noted, is the place where just last year a professor had his job on the line for daring to say that men and women are biologically and anatomically different. The complaint against him wasn’t even raised by one of his students.

LTH has come up with an intricate scheme for how to employ more women without discriminating against male applicants, which is a bit like squaring a circle. Has the faculty succeeded in the seemingly impossible?

The idea is to “improve the recruitment base” of women for senior teaching appointments (Assistant and Full and Professors) by hiring four female Assistant Professors, a tenure track position, per year for four years, where the main funding comes centrally from LTH. But according to Swedish law, positions have to be publicly advertised—with the risk that they go to more competent men. How to get around this unfortunate legal obstacle?

As a first step, the departments should actively look for women whom they wish to associate with their activities. When they have found suitable candidates, they write an application to the faculty describing the situation at the department and their favourite candidates. They can then apply for the opportunity to announce one or more Assistant Professorships with these candidates in mind.

The faculty then ranks applications from the departments and decides with which proposals to proceed. Subsequently, the department, together with the recruitment committee, writes a targeted call that fits the favourite female candidate(s). The positions that have already been posted have started with the following declaration:

At LTH we see that heterogeneous groups often contribute to a more creative environment – important when we together explore and create benefits for the world. We want to be an attractive employer for the underrepresented gender, and we work actively for equality at the Faculty. That is why we are making a long-term investment to inspire more women to apply to male-dominated research areas—and vice versa.

(The ‘vice-versa’ never applies as the LFT is a technical college with a predominance of male employees.)
Already this text should have a deterrent effect on any male. If you’re competent enough to get the job, you won’t get it, and if you’re not competent enough for the job, you won’t get it. All the successful applicant needs to do is have her sexual organs inside of her.

Anyway, when the application period has expired, a routine expert review of the applications is then made. If the result of the review is that a female is best suited for the position, she is hired. In this case, and only in this case, the faculty finances the position with 80% of the funding the first four years. For the last two years, the department finances the position itself, without the support of the faculty.

Internal documents: university will cancel a job position if the most competent applicant is male

However, if worse comes to worse and it turns out that a male applicant is considered the best fit for the position, despite all efforts to the contrary, then the faculty will not fund the position at all. This becomes clear in an internal document sent to the departments:

If the recruitment process result is that an Assistant Professor of underrepresented gender cannot be hired, LTH funds will not be used. The department can then choose to go ahead with the proposed applicant and fund it with their own resources or interrupt the recruitment process. If a recruitment process is interrupted, another Assistant Professorship may be advertised, such as the one that came in 5th place when allocating funds, or alternatively five jobs may be announced the following year.

In a situation in which most (11 of 19) LTH department are in financial difficulties, they are unlikely to fund costly positions on their own. So, in the unlikely event that a department fails to recruit a female applicant, it will most certainly cancel the appointment and make another attempt.

Academic Rights Watch

This policy appears to be an extension of an internal document dated March 2019 (page 24). Under the heading of “Competence” is the following text:

External recruitment of strategically important research personnel is in some cases a necessary and appropriate way to achieve set strategic goals and can qualify for support from LTH’s

strategic means. Institutions are encouraged to use their own resources and provide first place opportunities at LTH for the recruitment of assistant university lecturers by underrepresented gender…

A researcher at LTH who was appalled by the scheme decided to file a complaint to the Equality Ombudsman. The purpose of the complaint, he writes, is to have the ombudsman investigate whether or not LTH’s hiring strategy unlawfully discriminates against male academics.

Academic Rights Watch regards the hiring scheme as clearly discriminatory. According to the Swedish Constitution, hiring decision for public office should only be based on objective factual grounds, such as merit and skill (Chapter 12, section 5 of the Instrument of Government). As the complainant points out, there is nothing in the duties described in the positions that have been advertised so far that justifies a preference for a certain gender. The Swedish Discrimination Act further states that everyone should have equal opportunities and rights to public office regardless of gender. The opportunities here are obviously not equal: a woman who is considered most suitable gets the job, a man who is considered most suitable with practical certainty won’t.

This is not the first time Swedish universities attempt to “promote equality” by discriminating against male applicants. A survey conducted a few years ago by an independent NGO found that most universities had introduced special “merit funding” for qualifying as a professor that only women could apply for. This, too, resulted in a complaint to the Equality Ombudsman, who took the case to the Swedish Labour Court. The Ombudsman won the case and the court decided that the reported university must compensate the victim. We hope for a similar development in the present case.

Academic Rights Watch

Further documentation is available in Swedish from www.academicrightswatch.se.

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