The official departmental speaker list was posted today. Twelve weeks of male speakers, no women speakers. It is possible that a woman will be invited in the spring as part of a special effort to promote the invitation of women scientists as speakers. Swell. I mentioned this 12 : 0 situation to one colleague today, and he explained to me, very patiently, that there are no women speakers because none were invited, so it's not that we turned down anyone's request for women speakers.. we just didn't even invite them in the first place. Oh, so that's fine then <-- sarcasm.
It is too bad that he spoke with no data to back up his hypothesis because he is not correct. I had one woman speaker on my list of possibilities, and I really find it hard to believe that I'm the only one. And even if I am, does that mean that only women faculty are interested in inviting women speakers? We have had women speakers in past years, so it does happen.
Maybe we've already invited everyone there is to invite? Some of the most prominent women in my general field have actually been here 2-3 times in recent years, so maybe we have to recycle women? We do, but only if we restrict ourselves to already famous people.
The possible speaker on my list is an early career person. I didn't sit down and make sure there was a female name on my list. I just thought about who might give an interesting talk about something new and exciting, and I thought of her. Unfortunately, she didn't make the cut this time, perhaps because she is not yet famous enough.
Meanwhile, I'll be giving 4 research talks. I always hope that when I'm invited to give a talk that I'm invited at least partially because someone is interested in my research, and not just to provide gender diversity, although I don't mind doing the role model thing as well. I would just prefer that research interest come first, as that would enhance my effectiveness as a role model (though I've doubts about how effective I really am, as I've noted before).
6 months ago