Archive for the 'Sex Discrimination' category

Why Do We Think Only Really Hideously Evil Human Beings Could Be Sexual Harassers?

It's certainly a tragedy when anyone takes their own life. I feel very sorry for the surviving family members and colleagues affected by the suicides of two U. of Iowa professors accused of sexual harassment who took their own lives last year.
And yet. I have little patience with this Chronicle of Higher Education article about them. You can file it under the category of "but he was such a really wonderful person! There's just no way he could have done these things!" Or, alternatively, "Those TERRIBLE women RUINED the lives of these WONDERFUL men!"

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20 responses so far

Women Paid Poorly, Men Behaving Badly - What Else Is New?

According to the Chronicle Newsblog

Female professors at the University of Texas at Austin earned an average of $9,028 less than their male counterparts in 2007, and senior female faculty members there feel more isolated and less recognized for their work than do their male colleagues.

You can find the full report here and a press release from the university here.
The comments section at the Chronicle post is full of the usual dismissive commentary that arises whenever the issue of gender inequities in salary is broached. I liked this response from Meshiko:

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6 responses so far

A Reply to Dr. Isis

A warning: if you are a survivor of sexual assault you may just want to skip this post and the ensuing ugly comment thread it is sure to engender.
A week or so ago the redoubtable Dr. Isis wrote an open letter to me.
In part she wrote:

The pragmatic part of me wants to agree with you that there is no place for open ogling in the workplace. The other part of me fears that there may be a hint of truth in Greg's argument that we are inherently sexual beings...

I see no reason to fear the truth that we are inherently sexual beings. But the fact that we are sexual beings does not mean that women just have to put up with tit-ogling in the workplace because men are just incapable of controlling themselves. One can both be a sexual being AND exercise self-control. This point has been made before but apparently it bears repeating: tit-ogling in the workplace is not just, or only, about sex. It's about power, dominance, and control. This has little to do with us as sexual beings and everything to do with patriarchy.
Dr. Isis also commented on a blog post of mine:

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30 responses so far

It's SO Not Fair For You Women To Hang Out Together!

Jenny F. Scientist reports the following:

Recently, three women joined my lab, more than doubling the female population. (Just in time for me to leave.) There was instant bonding, which I had only seen before among married postdocs or among single grad students. But it is lovely to have other women about. We go to lunch together; every couple weeks we all go out together for drinks or dinner. (Which I love, by the way.) Every so often one of the men comes along- we are outnumbered about 3:1- but mostly, not.
Dr. S argues that this is discriminatory of me. What if the poor dears fell left out? I felt left out for years, I said. That doesn't make it right, or nice, he said.

She then asks, "So, are we mean? Or are we apathetic? Or both." Neither, and I'll tell you why.

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27 responses so far

It's Just No Use, Girls: A Profound Analysis of Gender and Engineering

UPDATE: Apparently it was not clear to some people that the second "quote" below is a parody written by me, of the first quote written by someone else. I hope this clears it up.
You may want to advocate for gender equity in science and engineering. But you are just wasting your energy. Pat O'Hurley tells us so.

I'm simply saying that it is [foolish] to expect female engineering enrollment to be equal to men's enrollment, if engineering is a field which is, statistically speaking, more attractive to men than to women.

This would be an insight gained from the following sort of deeply objective and scientific analysis:

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63 responses so far

It's That Time Of Year Again

The National Academy of Sciences has announced its latest crop of members, and there are 16 - count 'em! 16! - women out of the 72 elected. The Chronicle of Higher Education spins this positively with the headline "16 Women Elected to National Academy of Science" and the following opening:

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12 responses so far

The Reproduction of Sexism

For a long time now, I have not been what you would call a believer in progress. That is, I do not think things are bound to improve in the gender equity arena. I think we are in the middle of a backlash (more on that later); women's enrollment in undergraduate engineering has stalled or declined; it isn't just a matter of waiting for the old fogies to die off and be replaced with young men who won't be sexist asshats. Since sexism is structural and institutionalized, it is perfectly capable of replicating itself unless it is actively fought and dismantled.
And if you don't believe me, read this post from Female Science Professor. (Hat tip to PhysioProf.)

My colleague sighed and said that now some of the younger generation do the same thing. He sits in hiring committees and hears young male faculty question whether female applicants are capable of having their own ideas and working independently, but these issues are not raised for male applicants. He has been fighting this attitude for so long, he was discouraged that it wasn't something that went away as younger faculty were hired.

We can't afford to just sit around and hope that someday all the sexists will be dead. They're busy reproducing themselves. When they prefer hiring "people just like me", it's not just because they're white and male. It's because they share - or will tolerate - egregious sexism.

11 responses so far

Gender Bias in Particle Physics: A Statistical Analysis

UPDATE: After posting this entry, I found out that the paper I discussed here is not actually slated at this time to be published in a peer-reviewed journal; it is merely available as a preprint. Nevertheless, I hear that the folks at Nature have picked up on this and have interviewed the author; we may see something next week there about it.
Remember that famous line about how women need to be twice as good as men to be considered half as good? A new statistical study by Sherry Towers available on shows just how true this is in the world of particle physics.
Here's the scoop:

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40 responses so far

Weber v. Fermilab - An Update

I've mentioned Kay Weber and her lawsuit against Fermilab on this blog before. Sherry Towers forwarded an email to me that gives an update on Kay's situation:

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4 responses so far

Links for 3-4-2008

Janet Stemwedel has a lengthy, informative, interesting post on that eternally troublesome question: When in my graduate career should I have a baby? After reading it, I am put in mind of that New Yorker cartoon with the guy on the phone, looking at a datebook on his desk, saying "How about never? Is never good for you?"
The Chronicle news blog reports on a former professor at U. of Georgia with a "long record of sexual harassment." What's a university to do when one of its professors is found to be in violation of the sexual harassment policy? Why, pass him along to another university, of course. Where he will be rewarded by his profession by being made editor of a journal. Makes me wanna puke on somebody's shoes.
To take the bad taste out of your mouth after that last one, go take a look at the Women's Bioethics Project. Regular readers of Adventures in Ethics and Science may already be familiar with this site.

The Women's Bioethics Project is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy think tank dedicated to ensuring that women's voices, health concerns, and unique life experiences strongly influence ethical issues in health care and biotechnology.

The WBP was founded by Kathryn Hinsch, a former senior executive at Microsoft. Ms. Hinsch promises that the WBP will "remember the bioethics issues like poverty, access to health care, and looking after children and the elderly that truly affect women's lives." WBP has a blog, with several different contributing authors. You'll like this post on a pharma birth control ad parody, and this thoughtful post on sex-segregated schooling.
Here's a website on Title IX and science/engineering. If you want to use any of the materials on the site, and would like some assistance in adapting them for use at your institution, contact Ruta Sevo. ruta AT momox DOT org. While you're over at the site, check out the link for Molly and Dollop. Take a look at Three Times A Week and read about the Every-Ready Man. Here's an excerpt:

Unlike RU-486 or Plan B, viagra is freely available. Erections are an important national resource.

Lastly, I found this via Arts & Letters Daily: a New Yorker piece on our brains and math.

In Dehaene's view, we are all born with an evolutionarily ancient mathematical instinct.


2 responses so far

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