Re: women in academia

Tracy Brown (tbrown@ACPUB.DUKE.EDU)
Sat, 11 Jun 1994 20:50:50 -0400

This is in reply to the several messages Michael Forstadt has made to the
list over the last week. Forstadt argues that discrimination against women
is quickly becoming a thing of the the past. While I would like to agree with
him, I hesitate. Candice Bradley posted some statistics to this list which
Forstadt argues supports his position. I do not believe, however, that she
compared today's statistics with statistics of women in academia in the
past. According to The ABC-CLIO Companion to Women in the Workplace
(1993), in "1987 with women students outnumbering men, women constituted
only 27.3 percent of full-time college professors... -- only eight
percentage points more than in 1910, and nine percentage points *fewer*
than in 1880" (2).

What do these statistics mean? They suggest that, overall, the number of
women in academia has fluctuated over time and will probably continue to
do so. They suggest that just because things improve doesn't mean they
will stay that way forever. So, Forstadt's assertion that "the current
situation of inequality will be completely solved in the course of time"
should not be simply accepted at face value.
Tracy Brown