Link Roundup: The Geekening (Sep 5th, 2009)

3 thoughts on “Link Roundup: The Geekening (Sep 5th, 2009)

  1. Nathaniel Smith

    That article about UT Austin is a bit jarring, because it doesn’t come face-to-face with the fact that nothing they’re doing actually effects overall numbers. The senior female academics they’re hiring are women who trickled up the ladder at other universities (that’s how academic ladder-rank jobs work: you can move, but your new job will be at the same level as your old one). So it’s great for the faculty involved that universities are getting into bidding wars over them, and it’s great for UT Austin that they’ll have more senior female faculty, but it’s a zero-sum game — some other universities will just have fewer, now.

    1. Mary

      it’s a zero-sum game

      Short term (say, three to five years), yes, I don’t know that this is necessarily so in the medium term. Possible consequences of other universities realising that their middle/senior career female academics are being especially targeted might include, for example, reviews of packages offered at other institutions, reviews of gender equity in promotion practices which especially affects mothers (for example, are people with child-rearing sized publication gaps, or who were tenure track longer due to being part time, being overlooked for promotion?). An increased demand for women at the senior level will flow through fairly promptly to promotion of women to and from the middle level. It’s only a zero sum game if it doesn’t inspire the creation of a larger pool of senior female academics.

      1. Nathaniel Smith

        Those are definitely good things, and I suspect a number of them are already in progress in one way or another. I’m not convinced that demand will cause women to be promoted more quickly, though; these are positions where there’s pretty much a fixed calendar for advancement (review every 2 years until tenure, every 3 years after, each review worth one step on the ladder, etc.), and the formal position reflects seniority in the community as much as defines it. Sending women up for tenure extra-quick could also… backfire.

        But I hope you’re right.

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