Medical journals must tackle gender biasBMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5888 (Published 08 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5888
All rapid responses
The persistent bias that blights the female academics needs an urgent remedy but adopting quotas is a simplistic solution that would open a Pandora box of unforeseen problems..
If quotas based on sex is accepted as ethical and fair, then calls for sub-quotas would soon follow.. For example, a disabled woman, from inner city comprehensive school, with working class parents, will certainly need more help to fulfil her potential than a privately educated woman with university educated parents. Thus quotas based on disability, socio-economic status and age would inevitably be subsequently requested and hard to ignore in principle.
India’s positive discrimination has lessons for any quota based system.   . Quotas have immensely helped the downtrodden and poorer sections of Indian society but nearly 70 years of positive discrimination has not eliminated the abhorrent practice of caste discrimination. Caste based quotas in universities and public sector employment have perversely entrenched the caste system further rather than eliminating it.
Quotas would inevitably give rise to vested interests with disastrous long term problems.
1 Silver JK. Medical journals must tackle gender bias. BMJ 2019;367:l5888. doi:10.1136/bmj.l5888
2 Bryant LD, Burkinshaw P, House AO, et al. Good practice or positive action? Using Q methodology to identify competing views on improving gender equality in academic medicine. BMJ Open 2017;7:e015973. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-015973
3 Gupta S. India’s ruling party pushes for upper caste job quotas ahead of election. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/09/asia/india-bjp-affirmative-action-intl/in... (accessed 16 Oct 2019).
4 Murmu LR, Kant S, Rao KRPR. Positive discrimination in India’s medical schools. BMJ 1993;307:63.
5 Biswas S. Why India needs a new debate on caste quotas. BBC News. 2015.https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34082770 (accessed 16 Oct 2019).
Competing interests: No competing interests