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Jobs for the girls

By Bettina Arndt - posted Thursday, 15 December 2022

Melbourne University research fellow Dr Anna Kosovac is a civil engineer and an expert in water policy. Last year she wrote an article for The Conversation entitled ‘Boys and their toys’: how overt masculinity dominates Australia’s relationship with water. Sounds crazy? Believe me, this one is a ripper.  

Kosovac’s article is based on a “research” paper addressing “how masculine cultures pervade our relationship with water.” She claims “a reliance on technological and infrastructure ‘fixes’ to solve problems is linked to masculine ideas of power… Under this way of thinking, water is to be controlled, re-purposed and rerouted as needed.” Kosovac believes we must “reassess these old methods.”

Kosovac argues “toxic masculinity” is the basis for “the dominant ‘technocracy’ approach to water management, in which infrastructure and technology is relied on to solve problems.”


So, engineers’ proclivity for using technology to solve problems is now frowned upon. Hmm, presumably that includes “boys’ toys” such as flush toilets?

In her article Dr Kosovac doesn’t explain in detail how we would cope without water infrastructure but, does note with approval that in 2017 “the New Zealand government passed legislation that recognised the Whanganui River catchment as a legal person.”

This woman is barking mad. Yet she is one of the new elite, the SAGE Athena Swan team advancing women in science – which, as I will explain later, is the feminist mafia now firmly in control of our science institutions.  We are currently witnessing a massive remake of science where traditional considerations of merit and rigor are being trampled by demands for “gender equity.”

Of course, there are many brilliant, hard-working, and rational female scientists who have achieved success on the basis of their brain power and dedication to their work. But some of these women are adding their voices to the growing public discontent about how science is being highjacked by ideology.  

Just look what’s happened to our major source of funding for medical research – the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC). This important body is easily the main source of funding for medical research in Australia with a budget of over $1 billion.

It was the appointment of immunology professor Anne Kelso in 2015 as CEO of the NHMRC which turbocharged the ongoing push to get more women into top positions in science. The result has been systematic discrimination against male scientists, starving them of funding.


Kelso’s effort for the sisterhood has been relentless. In her first year she introduced regular monitoring of all science institutions to make sure they have policies in place to advantage women over men. Next, in 2017, she brought in Structural Priority Funding, which divided grant money into two parts, one for the best research proposals and the other for women whose proposals weren’t good enough to make that cut. By 2021, reviewers of grant proposals assessing candidates’ work histories were required to treat time mothers spend out of the workforce as if that had been devoted to producing high quality research.

Then came the big one, the push for equal grants for women. Last year the public propaganda exercise began, with compliant media dutifully making the case for an “equitable research landscape.” Articles appeared whinging about how unfair it was that men still won more grants, particularly at senior levels. Naturally, the ABC hopped on board, followed by The Conversation, and many others.  A petition popped up asking for the NHMRC to “allocate the same amount of funding to each gender,” and the organization released a discussion paper presenting various options designed to give women funding from the critical Investigator Grant Scheme, which awards around $370 million in research funding each year.

The NHRMC’s initial preference, option 3, involved separating applications based on gender and allocating an equal number of grants to each gender. But then it emerged that while this approach would be highly effective at discriminating against more senior male researchers, it actually discriminated against early career menless than the existing system. That’s because feminist tinkering is already doing such a terrific job tilting grants in the junior ranks to favour women.

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About the Author

Bettina Arndt is a social commentator.

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