In one recent study, more than 100 university psychologists were asked to rate the CVs of Dr. Karen Miller or Dr. Brian Miller, fictitious applicants for an academic tenure-track job. The CVs were identical, apart from the name. Yet strangely, the male Dr. Miller was perceived (by both male and female reviewers) to have better research, teaching, and service experience than the luckless female Dr. Miller. Overall, about three-quarters of the psychologists thought that Dr. Brian was hirable, while only just under half had the same confidence in Dr. Karen. The same researchers also sent out applications for the position of tenured professor, again identical but for the male and female name at the top. This time, the application was so strong that most of the raters thought that tenure was deserved, regardless of sex. However, the endorsement of Karen’s application was four times more likely to be accompanied by cautionary caveats scrawled in the margins of the questionnaire: such as, ‘I would need to see evidence that she had gotten these grants and publications on her own’ and ‘We would have to see her job talk.’
Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference (via cockchomp)
THIS IS REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT AND INCREDIBLE
Oh hey, just in case you think academia is a haven of progressivism and open-mindedness. Women also have a much harder time obtaining tenure if they are trying to raise a family, while men who have children are more likely to be awarded it.
When I was in graduate school, I attended a “Junior Women Scholars and the Profession’-type mini conference, at which one of the senior scholars told us that, if we wanted to have kids, it was better to do it while we were finishing our degrees. Because then you could prove you were able to handle a baby + research and it would be better to take a semester off as a grad student than a semester off as junior faculty.
All of this is despite the fact that, in the US, hiring committees are not legally allowed to take into account your family status. They aren’t even allowed to ask if you’re married, if you have kids, or what your plans are for kids in the future. It usually comes up somewhat awkwardly during campus visits, where they have to disclose benefits and how the tenure process works.
Like most of the rest of the US, universities and colleges tend to lag woefully behind the rest of the world in offering women choices other than “rock” or “hard place,” and also do not accord men time off for paternity leave, thus ensuring that academic women have to shoulder the weight of those choices. So yay, institutionalized sexism!
When people tell me I’m doing too much at uni, they should really know shit like this.