Where are the males? Diversity, proportionality and Health Sciences admissions

David Benatar


The demographic profile of students at South Africa’s medical schools has changed significantly over the past few decades. Women are now the majority of MB ChB students (as they have long been in the allied health professions), and there are many more ‘black’ students than there previously were. Whereas racial preference in admissions explains much of the latter change, the increased proportion of females during the same period is explained neither by preference in their favour nor by the end of formal discrimination against them. Yet despite these differing explanations of the gender and racial profiles, the dearth of males sheds interesting light on arguments typically advanced in support of ‘race’-based affirmative action. 

Author's affiliations

David Benatar, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text

PDF (73KB)


Medical education; Admissions; Affirmative action

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(4):323-324. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i4.10569

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-01-22
Date published: 2016-03-17

Article Views

Abstract views: 3024
Full text views: 1619

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here