Friday, April 08, 2011

Token Help?

Today in Scientopia, I discuss a comment on yesterday's FSP post about tokenism: What can male colleagues do in situations like the one I described?


Nick said...
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Anonymous said...


Sorry I want to be anonymous so need to comment here (tenure-track!).

In recent years, I've had this idealistic vision of tenure decision meetings. I imagine a scenario where someone inappropriately brings up a woman's parenting, or female-ness, or something inappropriate, and the better people on the committee calmly say, "That is not an appropriate comment during these decisions."

But, after reading the comments here yesterday, and today at the Scientopia post, my vision is busted! If people can say this with the target in the room with no repercussions, then I guess these comments are rarely refuted in closed-door decision meetings.

In your experience, when these inappropriate anti-female/family comments occur without the target in the room (like in tenure decisions), does some better person pipe up and point out their inappropriateness?

Female Science Professor said...

I haven't seen statements like that during tenure discussions, so perhaps others can comment on that. I have seen them during hiring discussions, and in all cases I have experienced, someone (me, someone else) has spoken up. Speaking up might not have any effect on the outcome, but it drives some of these comments underground. It would be nice to think that this limits their effects.

Z said...

Ditto what FSP said. Everyone knows these comments are inappropriate, and they don't make them at tenure meetings.

But hiring -- well once you have a shortish list, all candidates are pretty much acceptable and sometimes they are all people one would be glad to get. And in figuring out how to shorten the short list, a lot is said that shouldn't be even thought; also, a lot is said in code.

The fact that I, at least, haven't heard these things said at tenure meetings, I find significant; it indicates that people really can refrain when they know they must.

Anonymous said...

I was the Anon. poster above from last week -- thanks for your response (and from Z) -- this is good to hear!

Thanks for your blog -- you have become a mentor to me!