Articles about Oxford University giving women more time on exams in their math and science classes are going viral today. Oxford University has extended the normally allocated 90 minute exam time to 105 minutes if you are a female. If you’re a male, you only get the normally allocated 90 minutes. Oxford University says that this is because that this was done in an effort to help women perform better on their exams. They say that their time change for women only comes from a study they performed within the university last year that allowed longer times for all students. What the university found is that this extra 15 minutes had a better effect on women. The Times acquired a document where the university said it believes that the extra time for the female students would serve to “mitigate the… gender gap that has arisen in recent years, and in any case the exam should be a demonstration of mathematical understandings and not a time trial.”

While I believe that Oxfod University did this in good faith and genuinely wants women to succeed at a higher rate in these kinds of classes, this is certainly not the way to do it. If you’re going to give the women more time, the men need more time as well. That’s real equality.

I view this as offensive. To think women may need more time simply because of their gender is pretty sexist. The idea that I move at a slower pace or I need more time due to lack of knowledge on a subject is insulting. I understand that women are more likely to double check their work, but I also know that women are extremely timely. There are men who double check, there are men who might need more time.

This is the antithesis of feminism. The idea that my gender is somehow a defect and I need more time to take a test simply because I have female body parts is incredibly mind-numbing. I’m the first to admit biological differences in men and women, but I refuse to believe that a woman’s brain can not operate at the same speed as man.

Also, if the whole purpose of this allotment of extra time is beneficial to certain students (women) and the school has noticed that men performed about the same, then why not just allow 105 minutes for everyone? Why not give them the extra time and let the men decide whether or not they wish to use that time?

The idea that only women should get extra time but not men would personally make me feel as though the institution I am studying in doesn’t believe I am capable of competing academically with the males without help.

Women are not a special interest group. We don’t need people telling us what we are and are not capable of. In the real world, no one gets extra time for tasks due to their gender. 

Feminism wants equality so start treating us as equals in the academic setting.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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