Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Overheard in Science

It seems that I have been eavesdropping a lot lately, but here is something I heard today:

"All the speakers were male, so there was no possibility of anyone having been included just for diversity reasons."

That's so good to know. I hate it when there are token women in a session and you have to wonder what they are doing there because there is the added complexity of having to figure out if they were invited because they have interesting things to say or whether the session had to include at least one woman. Everything is much more straightforward when it's just a bunch of deserving guys who were invited because they are all brilliant and articulate.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

'There were women and minorities speakers too, so you know that no one was excluded just because the organizer is a bigot.'

Anonymous said...

Gotta wonder, though, if some of them were included just for anti-diversity reasons... Or because they happened to ask for an invitation while in the men's room. Most men will agree to anything to get a stranger to stop talking to them in the bathroom.

~Some Guy

Anonymous said...

Male or female, 99.99% of content at a large conference (or even a department seminar series) is not interesting.

Anonymous said...

How timely! Just yesterday I received an announcement of a (major anniversary) Computational Chemistry meeting this Fall. 27 invited speakers (there are no contributed talks), of which 1 is a woman. I had to carefully comb the list to find her, after waking up this morning with the uncomfortable feeling that there were only to be a bunch of 50-65 year-old male speakers. Way to go organizers! A brotherly meeting! Count me out.

Oh, and yes, there are plenty of high-profile women researchers in computational chemistry. Maybe they just don't hang out enough around men's bathrooms.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's really depressing.

Anonymous said...

"That's so good to know. I hate it when there are token women in a session and you have to wonder what they are doing there..."


ROFLCOPTER!!!!!

Ambivalent Academic said...

*headdesk*

Anonymous said...

Sad that that happens. I think that as scientists, the objective worth of one's work should be the criterion of merit, and diversity issues should having nothing to do with it...either way. For example, I read FSP because the content is timely, relevant, and well written. Not because it's *F*SP.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the Computational Chemistry meeting, too. One woman...the average age of the guys is higher than 50-60, though, many of them are in their 70s!

Anonymous said...

But were they all Caucasian? At least second generation to attend college?

Anonymous said...

maybe one the the speakers was another ethnic minority? I am sure there's other ways to seem to select people on something else than just gender, some creativity please!

*just kidding of course*

Materialist said...

I dunno... to be sure no one was invited as a "token," it's probably safest to make sure that everyone speaking has a converging academic lineage.

And since it has come up, I'd say that my interactions with computational chem types have been near enough to gender balanced that the speaker list described by Anon 4/6 7 am is really jarring.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused.

In previous postings, you complained of often being the go-to woman in committees, because those committees need a woman to show a diverse inclusion of members. And you disapproved of this because it weighed disproportionately on you.

But when comes to conference sessions (or whatever the context is here) you complain that no women were included. Perhaps the qualified woman felt overburdened this time and declined to participate?

Anonymous said...

but were they all white males?

Anonymous said...

..to which you should have replied "on the contrary it seems all the speakers were included for homogeneity reasons..."

Anonymous said...

To anon at 7:10

It's possible for something to be both necessary and important to do and ALSO to feel it is an unfair burden. In fact most necessary and important things are at least somewhat burdensome.