gender, other topics, politics

2017

As is customary, I am using the approach of the new year as an excuse to look back at the old one and make some sort of sense of it.

 

It is entirely possible that, when historians of the future look back, they will declare unequivocally that the year 2017 was the most important year in human history, the year when everything, and everyone, changed – and on the whole, for the better.

 

Of course today it is too soon to make that pronouncement, but it suddenly makes sense – a very possible reality rather than a dream. We will know by then that 2017 was the year in which women became willing and able to trust, help, and like other women. From that visceral change sprang all the other changes. Continue reading

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gender, other topics, politics

Keeping Women Out

 

A very interesting, if depressing, article appeared in the New York Times’s “Sunday Review” on March 6. In it A. Hope Jahren, a professor of geobiology, offered one answer to the question, “Why are there too few women in science?”

 

The problem doesn’t stop with science. An article, “Emoji Feminism,” by Amy Butcher, in the “Sunday Review” on March 13, notes that:

 

In most professions, women make less than men, but in academia this pay gap is compounded by the fact that women tend to spend more uncompensated time advising students while also being subjected to student evaluations that studies show are consistently biased against them. Female academics are promoted at much slower rates, and fewer still choose to stay in the field as a result, and even fewer, then, are even present when the time for tenure comes. Perhaps it’s no surprise that men hold three-quarters of full professorships within the United States.

 

The problem is arguably worse in the physical sciences (the STEM fields) because they are especially prestigious, so women lose more if they are kept out of those fields. But the reasons why fewer women than men hold tenured positions in all academic fields are similar. In the humanities as well as the social sciences, there is a curious downward spiral: in most of these fields, the number of women admitted to Ph.D. programs is at least equal to that of men, and often greater; but women fail to get their degrees, or drop out early in their careers, at disturbing rates. Something is keeping smart women from using their intelligence. Continue reading

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gender, language, other topics, politics

Who Should Go To Hell

 

 

There are a few more things to say about the Albright contretemps. The first is about that old topic, women making apologies. When is it apropos to do so, and when not?

 

Sometimes it’s OK to apologize, such as when an utterance in the form of an apology serves to get past awkward points in a conversation. Sometimes it isn’t. Two times it isn’t have occurred recently and very publicly, and not surprisingly, both apologies or quasi-apologies were from women, first Gloria Steinem and now, in the New York Times, Madeleine Albright. Both, needless to say, are apologizing for their bad behavior earlier this week in defending Hillary Clinton. Continue reading

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gender, politics

How to Vote Liberal

 

The latest argument against voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries is that, compared to Bernie Sanders, she just isn’t liberal enough. Pundits claim that the Democratic Party in recent years has shifted as far to the left as the Republicans have to the right. Therefore Democratic voters are dissatisfied with the “inevitable” Clinton: she’s just too centrist to be inevitable. Continue reading

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