FWD: notes for the network -- reply to M

Wed, 8 Jun 1994 22:20:00 PDT

Bradley writes:

"First, gender equity has been achieved in anthropology at
the lower ranks. There is every indication that the proportion
of women at the higher ranks will equalize as this
younger cohort ages, and the older (male-dominated) cohort
retires. Ratios of women to men Ph.D.s in anthro is greater than 1:1.
It was 1:1 in 1984-5. It is currently closer to 6:4. The
proportion of women being hired at the assistant prof level
is also greater than 1:1. There may be evidence that women
are being hired at a slightly higher proportion than men. "

So far, so good. But Bradley then goes on to say:

"However, the gender ratios on university campuses in the U.S.
are still VERY uneven, and hiring more women than men is
one way that universities and departments may be trying to
catch up. A department with 3 men and 1 woman may try
deliberately to replace the retiring man with a woman.
The ratios on universities campuses are still, according to
AAUP stats, 69 percent male! In anthropology, my data
show that, for a population consisting almost entirely
of full-time faculty, 60 PERCENT ARE STILL MEN." (my emphasis).

If I read this correctly, CURRENT hiring practises (at least in anthropology)
show that women and men are being hired in proportion to the proportion of
males and female PhD--i.e., equality in CURRENT hiring has been achieved.
That PAST hiring was discriminatory is without question. Thus the OVERALL
percentage of women faculty is not informative of CURRENT hiring practises--
as Bradley noted in the first part of the post. Past discrimination as
currently expressed via underrepresentation of women at higher levels will
not be "corrected" (there is little hiring at senior levels) but have to work
itself out as the current cohorts become advanced to associate and full
professor positions. Bradley's data suggests, despite comments about
compensatory hiring, that in fact on the average CURRENT hiring does NOT
favor women (a 6:4 sex ratio for new PhDs in favor of women should translate
into a 6:4 ratio in terms of hiring if current hiring is unbiased). Unless
women are being hired at MORE than a 6:4 ratio, then currently hiring is not
"overcompensating" for past injustice.

Bradley continues:

"The real,
underlying problem facing women academics is not something
easy to identify. It seems to be an ongoing, lifelong set
of disadvantages that place women in a position of
accumulated disadvantage more often than men. Women publish
less than men, women are more likely to take longer to the
Ph.D. than men..."

Again, the data presented and the opening comment suggest that the CURRENT
situation (at least in anthropology) is hopeful with regard to NEW PhDs.

Assuming the data are accurate, the problem CURRENTLY facing males and
females with regard to hiring practises (at least in anthropology) is not so
much sex biased hiring as the more fundamental problem that (1) the number of
available academic positions is far lower than the number of qualified
persons and (2) that hiring practises often are not( as M.S. discussed in a
post) the product of careful consideration of a person's qualifications as
objectively assessed but based on unstated criteria that channel hiring
towards persons who "look good" on paper even if their work and ideas are

Further, the fact of having unclear criteria for what constitutes
"excellence" allows for shifting criteria to be used. This can be used
against males as well as females and is a kind of bias that is
extraordinarily hard to "prove."

D. Read