Hiring practices: past and present

Michael Forstadt (forstadt@HUSC.HARVARD.EDU)
Mon, 6 Jun 1994 11:58:36 -0400

Blackwell and Brown are insinuating that the dominance of males in
academic positions has a lot of relevance to current hiring practices. I
disagree and hold that the male:female ratio in academia is perhaps more
characteristic of PAST rather than PRESENT hiring practices. I would
guess (perhaps wrongly) that recent hires have been less discriminatory
in nature than past hires (due more to the current political situation
than to a moral reformation on the part of the Old Boys). This could be
the reason why women are more prominently featured in non-tenure-track
positions. It is probably the case that most RECENT hires (both male and
female) are in this category, since tenure-track positions are available
much less often today than in the old days. I recognize the distinct
possibility that my perspective is naive. I am sure that many people on
this list will consider mine to be a sexist position. It is NOT, so
please refrain from such charges and other forms of PC posturing.

On a more insidious note, I have been told by my colleagues that because
I am a male I should voluntarily lay down and give up any chances for
future employment in the interest of equity in academia. I disagree. The
male:female ratio in anthropology graduate programs is now close to 1:1
at many if not most universities. I feel that it is my job as a future
PhD to compete with others of my cohort for future job openings. It is
the job of future employers to treat my application with equal
consideration. I know for a fact that some recent and future job openings
have and will be set aside for female and minority applicants (although
advertised for ALL applicants). However, I agree with Tracy Brown and am
not sure whether or not this form of discrimination has been
institutionalized (and since it cannot be proven, Brown can not be
bothered to be concerned about it -- after all, an eye for an eye...). I
am equally hopeful that -- in the current political climate -- continuing
sexism or racial discrimination, although certainly still occurring, has
been mostly de-institutionalized.

It is time to get beyond accusing all males (young and old, tenured
faculty and current graduate students) of buying into the Old-Boy
conspiracy against women. As a male graduate student, I have had to
answer charges of preferential treatment every time I win a grant or
teaching fellowship. These charges mostly come from people (male and
female) who spend most of their time whining and sitting on their butts
and begging for handouts. It has been my experience that motivated
students (male and female) are the ones who win the awards and that this
has not been tied to sex or race on an institutionalized basis, although
individual cases of discrimination and harassment still occur and must be
stopped. Discriminatory practices must be stopped by targeting individual
cases of abuse, NOT by me and other males handing over hard-won grants,
scholarships, or academic positions.

Mike Forstadt


>[women and minorities] are still under represented in all levels of
>academia. Except for the "lecture"/sessional and assistant prof
>(in some disciplines), all minorities are severely under rep'd
>it gets worse as you go up the heirarchy, with fewer and fewer
>minorities in the associates and full profs, still less in the
>administrators, esp at provosts, vps and presidents. how many
>female unviersity presidents do you know?

>anyone who thinks that hiring is still not descriminatory and to a
>major degree controlled by the "old boy" network, is living in the
>clouds. b.


(commenting on O'Brien's claim that women and minority set-asides occur)

>While I would agree that this type of thing probably goes on, I don't
>think it has resulted in "institutionalized descrimination."

>The fact is, white, American (not European) men
>are most prominent in US academia. That goes for (especially) tenured
>jobs, but it also applies to tenure tn non-tenure track positions. The
only place where the
>male/female ratio seems to be equal is in grad. school (although
>this of course depends on what discipline we're talking about: women are
>still way underrepresented in the sciences). It ain't too difficult to
>figure out what that means for job prospects for women PhD's.