Global Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Open Access

ISSN: 2319-8834

+44 7480022681

Abstract

Affirmative Action by Lowering University Entry Points for Females: Great Zimbabwe University Students’ Views

Rugare Mareva

Some universities in Zimbabwe have sought to address student enrolment gender imbalances by lowering entry points for female applicants. This study aimed at soliciting for and comparing the views of male and female students on the issue, using Great Zimbabwe University as a case study. In-depth interviews were held with twenty-five female and twenty-five male first year Bachelor of Arts students who were randomly selected to participate in this qualitative inquiry. The study established that more female than male students saw this positive discrimination as a noble idea and gave more reasons in favour of it than against it as the policy, among other benefits, empowers females who have been arginalized for a long time in a patriarchal society. However, some female students were of the view that this form of affirmative action should be discontinued as it is demeaning and insulting because it seems to imply that females cannot achieve the same or higher level of academic performance at Advanced Level than males. More male than female students were against affirmative action and they gave more reasons against it than for it. For example, they argued that affirmative action is against the spirit of gender equality, and that it lowers university academic standards. The male students also felt the policy short-changed and marginalized them and they suggested that there might be need for ‘reverse’ affirmative action in favour of males in the near future. The paper concludes that affirmative action is a controversial issue, as there were mixed views regarding the lowering of university entry points for females. The paper recommends that this form of affirmative action should be implemented with moderation so that male students do not feel overly disadvantaged and at the same time females do not feel belittled. The paper also recommends that society in general and teachers in particular should stop perpetuating prejudices and stereotypes against the girl child

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