Fully 60 percent of students entering the University of Oslo this fall are women, and they far outnumber men in the university’s most demanding studies. The trend is mirrored at other universities around Norway, with the dean at the University of Oslo saying that the men “simply don’t measure up” in qualifying for admission.
“It’s tough for a guy like me to admit, but the women have, in most cases, stronger grade point averages,” Ole Petter Ottersen, dean of the University of Oslo, told Norwegian Broadcastting (NRK) on Thursday.
Law students Ida Andenæs Galtung, age 23, and Ingrid Waage, age 24, said they have clearly marked the imbalance earlier in their pre-law coursework. “In my study group, we’re only girls,” Galtung told NRK. “We miss the boys, we really do, not least socially. We need someone to flirt with in the study halls.”
Galtung wasn’t only joking. Both she and Waage worry that in the future, male-dominated fields like law and finance may soon become female-dominated, and they think it’s better to have a gender balance.
Men only dominate computer studies
At the University of Oslo’s medical school, nearly 70 percent of the students granted admission this fall are women. A survey of admission rates also shows that at the University of Bergen, 75 percent of incoming medical students are women, 61 percent of the law students are women and fully 84 percent of dental students are women.
At the University of Tromsø’s medical school, men make up only 35 percent of the students. Women are also closing the gap on men within economics and sciences at Norway’s universities, while men still dominate within information technology.
“There’s an expectation within society that there be a better balance within the professions,” Ottersen said. “We regarding this new development with a lot of skepticism.” He said there’s a “deep discussion” going on as to whether they admissions officers should resort to some sort of quota system, meaning men with weaker academic records may be granted admission in order to even out the imbalance.
“We can do that, but there’s an aspect of unfairness to it,” Ottersen said. “We also need to respect the choices young people are making with regards to their course of study.”
Men lack discipline
Thomas Nordahl, a professor of education at the College of Hedmark, told NRK that he thinks young men “haven’t tackled the freedom they’ve had” at liberal Norwegian schools that lack the discipline of schools in many other countries.
“It can be that too much responsibility is left to the individual student, because there’s little structure in the schools and too few demands,” Nordahl said. “The boys haven’t tackled that especially well, while the girls have managed to excel.”
Waage, the law student at the University of Oslo, thinks only the best should win admission to university. “It’s better that only the best candidates qualify for admission,” she told NRK. “And I do think young women study harder in high school than the boys. Then they should be recognized for their efforts.”