gender balance

Wow. People have, of course, muttered about this for years (we certainly did and not much has changed in the ten years since I was a student), but it’s the first time I’ve seen it publicly debated. The students at comparative literature, where I did my MA, have issued an invitation to a debate next Wednesday titled “8 professors, 7 PhD students, only 1 woman: random?” (actually, depending on your brand of English, the Norwegian doesn’t necessarily translate as professors, and in other Englishes should be translated as “lecturers” or “faculty”, but you get the picture).

It’s quite obviously much easier to see the brilliance of a young person who reminds you of yourself as a young(er) person. On one level, this sucks; on another level it’s the reason we need diversity among teachers.

I’d noticed rather a lot of friendly, lovely, smart but very similar young men over at comp. lit. I hadn’t realised that none of the eight PhD students and post. doc.s at comparative literature were women. That is not only shameful, it’s stupid. You can’t use the “no qualified women applied” argument if you’re not actually trying to get some women in the recruitment positions.

15. September 2005 by Jill

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