One of two women accepted to enter the law school at the National Defense Management College this fall, Lei Chia-chia (
The use of quotas in school admission and in hiring, by itself, would be highly controversial -- if not downright unconstitutional -- in many democratic countries, be they quotas allocated based on sex or race or any other immutable characteristic. Objective and justifiable admission or hiring criteria formulated to identify individuals capable of rendering and acceptable level of performance are the standard.
So, for example, in the case of a physically demanding manual job, it is permissible to turn down individual women applicants who are not physically fit to perform the required tasks -- on a case-by-case basis. However, it would not be permissible to require that the position must be filled by a man, although a man may be chosen based on his ability to perform the manual tasks. Old beliefs about what each sex can and can not do are disappearing.
It is indeed unfortunate that despite supposed efforts by the government to engage in military modernization, the military still resorts to the practice of imposing quotas to keep down the number of women in active service and military schools.
Now, if there was a quota that set only the minimum number of women that must be admitted each year, then at least it would serve the purpose of encouraging women to apply, who are historically underrepresented in the military. But this is not the case. The college admits only two women applicants into its law school each year -- no more and no less. On the other hand, the number of slots for male students is 12, six times of the number for women. In fact, the ratio of the numbers of slots for women and men in all military colleges and schools this year is 6.33 to 96.
Moreover, the other four departments of the military college -- information management, business management, accounting and statistics -- do not even have any admission slots for women. One cannot help but wonder aren't these fields in which intelligence, rather than physical strength, matters more?
As a result of the ongoing recession, the financial stability and job security, jobs offered by the military have become especially appealing. That has meant that the numbers of applicants for military colleges and schools have surged significantly. In the past, the military has always had difficulty recruiting quality applicants. No such problem exists this year. To deny admission to such an excellent applicant as Chang simply on the account of her sex is preposterous.
Premier Yu Shyi-kun has instructed the Ministry of National Defense to examine the roles of women in the military and submit a report within two weeks. This is certainly a good start to the elimination of long-standing discriminatory practices, but whether it will lead to anything only time can tell.