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"level playfields" (was Re: women scientists)

Josh Hayes josh at pogo.cqs.washington.edu
Wed Aug 4 15:35:41 EST 1993


>> Does it make sense to eliminate or combat discrimination by discriminating?
>> What I mean is:  isn't it more productive to "not notice the sex ratio" or
>> any ratio for that matter?

(portions deleted)

I believe this is a dynamic system that depends on its
current state to produce its future state - i.e. the
state of the, for example, sex ratio, currently, has a
profound impact on the sex ratio in a few years.

If women are not present in positions of power and
importance, then women will, in my view, continue to
be absent from those positions. History has produced
a "playfield" which is inherently non-level, and closing
our eyes to that fact will not rectify it.

There is, of course, the possibility of ham-handed efforts
to effect change, and these efforts may be well-intentioned
but will be counter-productive. In short, I think that
moderate efforts for affirmative action WRT sex and other
relevant classifications should be pursued, but not to
the exclusion of other important aspects of science and

On a more personal level...I never fail to be astounded
at the paucity of women in tenured and tenure-track positions
in the biology and zoology departments I have passed through.
It's a small sample, of course; only four schools. Still, it
is difficult to understand why all four departments have
about the same representation of women on the faculty: somewhere
between 0% and, at best, 10%. Failure to note this remarkable
skew ensures that it will remain that way. IMHO, of course.


Josh Hayes
   Josh Hayes, Quantitative Sciences HR-20 U of Washington
    josh at pogo.cqs.washington.edu             206 543-5004
    		"Destiny sucks." she muttered.

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