The University of Sydney has sparked outrage among students after offering a scholarship that gives preference to male applicants.
The university last week announced a new $27,000 scholarship for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students.
Veterinary students received an email advertising The Professor Marsh Edwards AO Scholarship which reads: ‘Preference will be given to applicants who are male.’
The eligibility requirements of the scholarship horrified female recipients and prompted a response from student group The University of Sydney Women’s Collective.
A female Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student, who asked not to be named, said she was shocked upon reading the email.
‘When I read the scholarship, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I thought it had to be a mistake,’ she said.
‘It makes me think that they care more about money than my right to equal opportunities.’
The University of Sydney Women’s Collective is calling on the university to remove ‘male’ from the eligibility requirements and send a clear message to all students that ‘sexism and discrimination on campus is unacceptable’.
University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council co-women’s officer Imogen Grant said there was ‘no excuse for the university to be complacent about discrimination.’
‘Making gender a deciding factor between applicants illustrates a woman’s right to an education is not as important as her male counterparts,’ she said.
‘The fact that the university has no problem with offering a scholarship that excludes women calls into question whether they are truly committed to combating sexism on campus.’
The University of Sydney told Daily Mail Australia, the scholarship includes preferences requested by the donor, Marcia Edwards who is Professor Marshall Edward’s wife.
‘The terms of the scholarship, which are to support students to undertake studies at the University of Sydney in the field of veterinary science, include a preference, requested by the donor, that the scholarship recipients be from rural or regional areas, male, interested in large animal practice and intending to work in rural veterinary sciences,’ the university said.
‘Of this year’s graduate entry for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students over 90 percent of the intake is expected to be female. This is a trend seen over the past five years along with an increasing trend away from rural practice.
‘Female applicants are eligible and a high level of academic achievement and merit will be important considerations in the awarding of the scholarship.’