The real sexism on campus

Another day, another patronising campus initiative. This time, Oxford University has announced it will allow history students to sit one of their five exams at home, in a bid to close the gap between the 37 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women obtaining first-class degrees.

This plan has been decried as sexist. And rightly so. The idea that women’s grades will be boosted by letting them sit some exams at home is deeply insulting. But it is only one of many patronising ideas that have been cooked up in recent years to make women feel more comfortable on campus.

From women-only Safe Spaces to consent classes to enforcing gender-neutral language, various campus initiatives promote the idea that female students are in need of constant support. Oxford is only taking this trend to its logical conclusion – softening up standards to accommodate supposedly feeble women.

In any case, there is no need to obsess over the small percentage difference between men and women’s achievements at university. Girls outperform boys at GCSE and A-Level. More women than men now go to university. And while women lag behind in some subjects, they’re way ahead in others. If you’re bright enough to be studying history at one of the world’s most renowned universities, you have already achieved something great.

The idea that women need extra help to obtain first-class degrees is positively Victorian. Women have never had it so good in terms of education, and we should be celebrating that.

Emily Dinsmore is a writer and student.

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