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Female only professorships

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Comments

  • #2


    Political manipulation of universities is never a good thing, especially half baked manipulation like this.


  • #2


    Any university demographics by gender for lecturers and professorships, tenure track and tenured, doctoral scholarships, PhDs awarded, post-doctoral fellowships, and discipline by NUI campus, as well as historical tracks?


  • #2


    Black Swan wrote: »
    Any university demographics by gender for lecturers and professorships, tenure track and tenured, doctoral scholarships, PhDs awarded, post-doctoral fellowships, and discipline by NUI campus, as well as historical tracks?

    undergrad 55 per cent
    lecturer 51 per cent
    senior lecturer per cent
    associate prof 32 per cent
    professor 23 per cent


    There has been a lot of talk of glass ceilings in Irish academic but clearly there is none if nearly one in four profs are female. The idea that there is systemic bias is possible but unlikely given that most lecturers are female and
    Irish academics is heavily left wing it seems highly unlikely. Becoming a lecturer is no joke and the competition is probably a lot stiffer than more senior jobs. A lectureship can easily have 100 applicants


  • #2


    It is worth mentioning that this plan came about from a task force composed of two accountants, a trade unionist, a bochemist and a medical doctor. In other words no one with any formal training in understanding and testing human behaviour. Not hard to understand why they came up with such a half baked plan. I'd much rather a task force peopled with economists like Claudia Goldin the eminent economics professor in Harvard who argued the gender pay gap is a myth.


    http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/


  • #2


    This is actually permissible under EU Equal Treatment Directives. It is a while since I looked at it so you will have to forgive me for any misrepresentations I make. It is called positive action. The aim is to create equality and a gender balance in the place of employment. The directives allow for rules to favour hiring the underepresented gender over the other. It has its limitations however, these are usually clauses like if both parties are equally qualified the hire should go to the under represented sex unless reasons specific to an individual candidate tip the balance in his favour (degree vs a masters, experience, suitability for the role etc). I have attached a Wikipedia article and the major cases are included in this.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_action


  • #2


    Elemonator wrote: »
    This is actually permissible under EU Equal Treatment Directives. It is a while since I looked at it so you will have to forgive me for any misrepresentations I make. It is called positive action. The aim is to create equality and a gender balance in the place of employment. The directives allow for rules to favour hiring the underepresented gender over the other. It has its limitations however, these are usually clauses like if both parties are equally qualified the hire should go to the under represented sex unless reasons specific to an individual candidate tip the balance in his favour (degree vs a masters, experience, suitability for the role etc). I have attached a Wikipedia article and the major cases are included in this.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_action

    Very interesting. This case is a bit more extreme as men can't even apply. However I presume it could be legal because there are other examples of this in Europe. Nevertheless, it seems like a very unintelligent approach.

    I managed to find data on the genders of professorships.
    Although only 28% of those promoted for the period 2007-2017were women, just 30% of the applicants were.
    So therein lies the problem!

    Female Male % Female
    Applicants 61 145 30%
    Promoted 29 75 28%

    Gender Action Plan 2018-2020. Gender Equality Taskforce Action Plan. hea.ie/assets/uploads/2018/.../Gender-Equality-Taskforce-Action-Plan-2018-2020.pdf


  • #2


    robp wrote: »
    There has been a lot of talk of glass ceilings in Irish academic but clearly there is none if nearly one in four profs are female.
    Does this depend upon how glass ceilings are conceptually and operationally defined? Is the glass ceiling concept appropriate to investigate this research problem, or are there other concepts that may be better suited to measure it (i.e., concepts measured by variables)?
    robp wrote: »
    The idea that there is systemic bias is possible but unlikely given that most lecturers are female
    What does the data suggest for positions higher than lecturers?
    robp wrote: »
    Irish academics is heavily left wing it seems highly unlikely.
    Is this anecdotal and subjective?
    robp wrote: »
    Becoming a lecturer is no joke and the competition is probably a lot stiffer than more senior jobs.
    Is the criteria for advancement identical for both lecturer and more senior jobs? What do the gender differences suggest for "more senior jobs?"


  • #2


    There's a thread over in the legal forum on whether this is lawful or not. (General conclusion seems to be that it looks pretty dodgy. In post #3 robp give the make-up of the panel that came up with this recommendation; as well as the point that he makes that it contained no social/behaviour scientists, I note that it also contains no lawyers.)

    But the OP here raises different points. Will this "undermine the elitism of our top universities"? (If so, that would be a good thing, surely? "Elitism" is not a positive term.) Will it "plunge their global rankings"? I think that must depend on how the global rankings are measured. My guess would be that it has more to do with the research output of an institution than with the employment practices, but my guess could easily be wrong. Anybody know?


  • #2


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    There's a thread over in the legal forum on whether this is lawful or not.
    Good source to check out.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    But the OP here raises different points. Will this "undermine the elitism of our top universities"? (If so, that would be a good thing, surely? "Elitism" is not a positive term.)
    Does this depend upon how you conceptually define and operationalise "Elitism?" For example, the original aristocracy of Aristotle (see Plato) appeared to be based upon merit, and not the later perversion of the concept by the royal houses (i.e., heredity not merit). The same could be said of the original bureaucracy concept defined by Max Weber in Economy and Society (1922), where it was said to be the most effective and efficient form of social organisation; whereas today many define it as the opposite.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Will it "plunge their global rankings"? I think that must depend on how the global rankings are measured.
    My subjective experience suggests that flagship universities are ranked by their fellows in accordance with grants and publications in superior scholarly journals by discipline (yet another ranking system, which may or may not be flawed too).
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    My guess would be that it has more to do with the research output of an institution than with the employment practices, but my guess could easily be wrong. Anybody know?
    There are probably several recent publications that address these issues, but unfortunately I do not have time today to search and post them here.


  • #2


    it does indeed depend on what is meant by "elitism", but if it means "defend the outcome of the current promotion process, because it's assumed to be the best possible process", yeah, that's an attitude that could do with being subverted.

    I share everyone's queasiness at the notion of gender-specific positions. At the same time the gender gradient by seniority is striking, and looks to be prima facie disadvantageous to women and suboptimal for the institutions, so it makes sense to explore why it persists, and to think about what to do about it.

    Obviously there could be a historical legacy at work here. It would be interesting to look at appointments made over the past 3-5 years; is there the same gender disparity in the proportion of women applicants, or in the proportion of women who are successful?

    it may be that the paucity of women at the senor ranks reflects tacit discrimination suffered by women in education in the 1980s/in or seeking starter positions in the 1990s. The people who might now be contesting for chairs, in this hypothesis, aren't contesting for them because they were filtered out of competition by discriminatory practices/attitudes along the way. But if that's so, you can't remedy that by creating women-only positions today; the women who suffered from that past discrimination still won't be candidates for those positions.


  • #2


    Black Swan wrote: »
    Does this depend upon how glass ceilings are conceptually and operationally defined? Is the glass ceiling concept appropriate to investigate this research problem, or are there other concepts that may be better suited to measure it (i.e., concepts measured by variables)?

    What does the data suggest for positions higher than lecturers?

    Is this anecdotal and subjective?

    Is the criteria for advancement identical for both lecturer and more senior jobs? What do the gender differences suggest for "more senior jobs?"

    All lecturerships are open hires but for all other positions, you can get there by promotion. It is possible that promotion is an easier route. This might explain why there is a typically a lower salary scale for professors who got the job through promotion.

    The glass ceiling concept is a very faulty approach since female profs are plentiful. A leaky pipeline is a much more suitable model. A glass ceiling gives no women agency and assumes they always have the same ambitions as men.


    Of course, people have very different definitions of elitism, but academics should be an elite in their field. If 70% of the typical applicants are barred from applying how can they the best?
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I share everyone's queasiness at the notion of gender-specific positions. At the same time the gender gradient by seniority is striking, and looks to be prima facie disadvantageous to women and suboptimal for the institutions, so it makes sense to explore why it persists, and to think about what to do about it.
    It is very normal to have that gradient. There are plenty of female TDs but only not so many female ministers and there has never been a female head of gov. In health, about 36% of surgery trainees are female but only 7% of consultant surgeons are female. It is prob driven by choice


  • #2


    The gender gradient may be normal, but "normal" doesn't mean "optimal". And, while it could be driven by choice, I think it may be a bit of a stretch to say that it's "probably" driven by choice. And, even if it is, that just raises the question, what is driving the choices?

    Unless we have some reason to think that women make fine TDs but lousy ministers, fine medics but lousy consultants, the gender gradient looks to be damaging to those professions and, therefore, to the public which those professions serve. I don't think we can glibly assume that if people aren't applying for senior positions it must be because they are not "the best"; unless we adopt the axiom that our existing processes and culture are perfectly meritocratic, we can easily think of lots of other factors which might be discouraging or hampering their applications.


  • #2


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The gender gradient may be normal, but "normal" doesn't mean "optimal". And, while it could be driven by choice, I think it may be a bit of a stretch to say that it's "probably" driven by choice. And, even if it is, that just raises the question, what is driving the choices?

    Unless we have some reason to think that women make fine TDs but lousy ministers, fine medics but lousy consultants, the gender gradient looks to be damaging to those professions and, therefore, to the public which those professions serve. I don't think we can glibly assume that if people aren't applying for senior positions it must be because they are not "the best"; unless we adopt the axiom that our existing processes and culture are perfectly meritocratic, we can easily think of lots of other factors which might be discouraging or hampering their applications.

    I mean choice literally. You mean choice as in desire or aspire. We don't know how many academics aspire to being a prof but we know literally how many choose to apply. The professor application requirements are gender blind. It is all online. There may be hidden barriers (e.g. child care), but that is is not systemic discrimination.

    Climbing the academic ranks is no small commitment. It takes extraordinary commitment. Most men and women self select and do not apply. It is farcical to expect every job to have a representative numbers of people. We should watch for systemic discrimination and glass ceilings but beyond that worry less.

    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Unless we have some reason to think that women make fine TDs but lousy ministers, fine medics but lousy consultants, the gender gradient looks to be damaging to those professions
    Not in academia because a professorship is literally the same job as a lecturer! Just extra pay in recognition of more achievements. A prof may be a chair but often they aren't so we are actually talking about the same job. It is shocking that the minster in charge of Irish universities doest understand this.


  • #2


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The gender gradient may be normal, but "normal" doesn't mean "optimal". And, while it could be driven by choice, I think it may be a bit of a stretch to say that it's "probably" driven by choice. And, even if it is, that just raises the question, what is driving the choices?

    What is optimal? Is there any definition of optimal here?


  • #2


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I share everyone's queasiness at the notion of gender-specific positions.
    Indeed. There may also be a stigma attached to those women who are appointed, with some colleagues claiming that they got their positions due to gender and not merit.
    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Obviously there could be a historical legacy at work here. It would be interesting to look at appointments made over the past 3-5 years; is there the same gender disparity in the proportion of women applicants, or in the proportion of women who are successful?
    Across the pond The Chronicle of Higher Education has reported a gradual structural change that has been occurring over decades in the States regarding the enrollment of women in undergraduate and graduate programs of study. Just after WWII women only comprised a little over 30% of 4-year degree enrollments, whereas today women surpass men in both enrollments and graduations from university in both 4-year and graduate programs.

    Unfortunately, women still lag behind in the sciences, computer, and engineering disciplines, although they are very slowly gaining in these enrollments. Just subjectively guessing, it may take another 100 years before the supply meets the demand of women and men being balanced in numbers at senior ranks of these traditionally male disciplines.


  • #2


    Black Swan wrote: »
    Across the pond The Chronicle of Higher Education has reported a gradual structural change that has been occurring over decades in the States regarding the enrollment of women in undergraduate and graduate programs of study. Just after WWII women only comprised a little over 30% of 4-year degree enrollments, whereas today women surpass men in both enrollments and graduations from university in both 4-year and graduate programs.
    So, therefore, young men are being discriminated against?
    Black Swan wrote: »
    Unfortunately, women still lag behind in the sciences, computer, and engineering disciplines, although they are very slowly gaining in these enrollments. Just subjectively guessing, it may take another 100 years before the supply meets the demand of women and men being balanced in numbers at senior ranks of these traditionally male disciplines.
    There is no evidence whatsoever that the supply of posts is not meeting the demands of women. It is simply is irrational to expect the market demand of women to be 50%. In the same way it is irrational to assume that if more female students enter university than men that there must be toxic matriarchy blocking men from entering universities.


  • #2


    robp wrote: »
    So, therefore, young men are being discriminated against?
    I believe that the reasons for increased participation of young women in American higher education enrollments are considerably more complex, and it would be misleading or perhaps spurious to label it simply as discrimination against males.

    There was no evidence given by The Chronicle in the tracking of this trend in US increased enrollments by young women that would suggest that "young men are being discriminated against." Rather, it had been suggested it was a long term structural change occurring in American society that was due to many variables interacting to produce this longitudinal change. Emphasis here is on the word "suggested," given that there was no prior historical evidence that would anticipate such a gradual increase of higher education enrollments by women in American colleges and universities; e.g., history was not repeating itself.

    Comparatively speaking, the family structure has been changing in America too, where in the 1950's and before many families exemplified the "Ozzy and Harriet" mode, where the male spouse was the principle breadwinner, and the female spouse the homemaker, the latter generally having no employment or part-time. Today dual career couples are found more frequently in American families where both spouses are fully employed, which may suggest that the increased demands for employment related credentials, knowledge, and skills that may be found in higher education may have served to motivate an increased participation of young women in higher education enrollments overtime.

    There is scholarly literature I've read awhile back on dual career couples and the increased participation of women in full time employment beginning with, and expanding with WWII, where millions of American men left their employment to fight the war. Was the war one pretext (variable) for structural change in employment patterns? To what extent did expanding employment demands on women motivate their later increased enrollment in higher education? This is not my field of research, and I don't have time to provide rigourous empirical citations that may or may not support the above suggestions. Anyone?


  • #2


    How transparent is the appointments process in Ireland for lectureships etc.? Obviously it's a small pool of vacancies and there are confidentiality concerns about identifying candidates, but seeing how appointments are made today would be useful. Number of male / female candidates per position, selection criteria, anonimised scoring etc.

    I think gender-based (or government-driven) appointments stink, but querying why women appear to be underrepresented is valid. As a tax paying ex-researcher, 3rd-level autonomy is important to me, but there needs to be demonstrated transparency too that the best people are being chosen for positions.


  • #2


    How transparent is the appointments process in Ireland for lectureships etc.?
    To what extent does transparency become transparent only after it becomes a political issue; e.g., gender-based government appointment policy?
    I think gender-based (or government-driven) appointments stink, but querying why women appear to be underrepresented is valid.
    Agree on both points.


  • #2


    Black Swan wrote: »
    To what extent does transparency become transparent only after it becomes a political issue; e.g., gender-based government appointment policy?

    I don't really understand your question. In my mind, the universities should be proactive in demonstrating that their selection processes are fair, not waiting for political interference and then reacting. Especially when they're trying to maintain their independence.

    Was there any comment from the universities on the proposal? Don't think I saw anything in the media.


  • #2


    I don't really understand your question. In my mind, the universities should be proactive in demonstrating that their selection processes are fair, not waiting for political interference and then reacting. Especially when they're trying to maintain their independence.

    Was there any comment from the universities on the proposal? Don't think I saw anything in the media.
    I think you don't hear anyone calling for transparency in the hiring process when the roles are not specifically calling for underrepresented groups to apply.

    The idea that everything before was always taken on merit seems to be taken for granted and not questioned until someone seeks quotas for underrepresented groups. Indeed, when quotas are raised, it is the quality of the underrepresented group that is *always* challenged, never the status quo.

    FWIW, the number of positions planned is low compared to the overall scheme, and I think quotas are necessary to overcome existing biases in the system. (Not just for hiring, and not just in the academy). Remove the quotas when the status quo becomes more equal and see that things are not worse than they were before, there are simply more voices with more points of view at the table.


  • #2


    Tree wrote: »
    I think you don't hear anyone calling for transparency in the hiring process when the roles are not specifically calling for underrepresented groups to apply.

    The idea that everything before was always taken on merit seems to be taken for granted and not questioned until someone seeks quotas for underrepresented groups. Indeed, when quotas are raised, it is the quality of the underrepresented group that is *always* challenged, never the status quo.

    FWIW, the number of positions planned is low compared to the overall scheme, and I think quotas are necessary to overcome existing biases in the system. (Not just for hiring, and not just in the academy). Remove the quotas when the status quo becomes more equal and see that things are not worse than they were before, there are simply more voices with more points of view at the table.
    The solution to the possibility of biased hiring is not hiring that is granted to be non meritocratic such female only posts. It has to be restated that there is no real evidence yet that women suffer from discrimination in hiring. They are broadly hired as profs in the same number that they apply. About 70% of applicants for professorships are male so if talent is equally distributed that means that these female posts will be probably lower quality. Why exactly it is it plausible that their should be a 50 : 50 sex split in professorships? There are only 500 profs in all of the 26 counties so 50 new token ones is actually a huge number.


  • #2


    robp wrote: »
    The solution to the possibility of biased hiring is not hiring that is granted to be non meritocratic such female only posts. It has to be restated that there is no real evidence yet that women suffer from discrimination in hiring. They are broadly hired as profs in the same number that they apply. About 70% of applicants for professorships are male so if talent is equally distributed that means that these female posts will be probably lower quality. Why exactly it is it plausible that their should be a 50 : 50 sex split in professorships? There are only 500 profs in all of the 26 counties so 50 new token ones is actually a huge number.
    Why do you keep implying the hiring will not have merit taken into account? Beyond elimating biases against the hiring of women by having a women only pool, there is nothing to say the interviews will be conducted with any other restriction?

    There is a systemic bias against women in society at large, it will not suddenly right itself without intervention.

    And quite frankly, there are a lot of mediocre men in positions that could be equally be filled by a women, but for some reason, men are considered to be there on merit and not simply because they look like the people on the hiring committee.


  • #2


    Government imposed gender preference hiring policies focus on correcting the obvious disparity between men and women at higher levels of professorships after the problem has already occurred, rather than before. Further, the Irish policies are too broad sweeping and general, appearing as a numbers game, and do not address cultural and historic root causes for the under-representation of women at advanced levels, especially in the math-intensive science and engineering disciplines.

    For example, discipline choice by gender has been one (of many variables) that may influence the under-representation of women at advanced professorship levels. The "best predictor of international sex differences is the degree to which its citizens exhibit implicit gender-science stereotypes" (Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams, 2011); i.e., historically men have been stereotyped as scientists and engineers, and women not. These stereotypes have occurred in childhood family, peer group, and cultural associations for hundreds of years, and continue in primary and secondary education experiences, sometimes subtle and unintended, and sometimes not so subtle.

    If government policies are to have substantial impact, they need to address when the problem begins and not after it has long since occurred; e.g., during childhood development. This is a long term solution, not a quick fix that may have adverse, unforeseen consequences. This is also a grand area for further research and development. Any takers?

    Ref: Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams, Reply to Drago: Culture and history are important in understanding the low number of women, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, United States, 24 May 2011.


  • #2


    Tree wrote: »
    There is a systemic bias against women in society at large, it will not suddenly right itself without intervention.
    That is an impossibly vague statement. It is possible that there is a systemic bias against women in certain areas today and a systemic bias against men in other areas but perhaps not. Mostly men and women have always worked together. Notably, there is evidence of systemic bias against women in the hiring of professors.
    Tree wrote: »
    And quite frankly, there are a lot of mediocre men in positions that could be equally be filled by a women, but for some reason, men are considered to be there on merit and not simply because they look like the people on the hiring committee.
    I have never met any Irish prof who is mediocre. Have you?
    I think you dont fully understand what the job is of a prof. It is actually the same as the job of a lecturer. Getting to the prof level is simply extra pay in recognition of achievements.


  • #2


    Black Swan wrote: »

    For example, discipline choice by gender has been one (of many variables) that may influence the under-representation of women at advanced professorship levels. The "best predictor of international sex differences is the degree to which its citizens exhibit implicit gender-science stereotypes" (Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams, 2011); i.e., historically men have been stereotyped as scientists and engineers, and women not. These stereotypes have occurred in childhood family, peer group, and cultural associations for hundreds of years, and continue in primary and secondary education experiences, sometimes subtle and unintended, and sometimes not so subtle.
    That doesn't explain the fact that nations that broke down gender roles more than any other such as Sweden have less female STEM grads than say Albania, UAE, Tunisia, Algeria (Stoet and Geary) where gender roles are still traditional and restricted. Maybe women just have different preferences?


    Stoet, Gijsbert, and David C. Geary. "The gender-equality paradox in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education." Psychological science 29.4 (2018): 581-593.


  • #2


    Black Swan wrote: »

    If government policies are to have substantial impact, they need to address when the problem begins and not after it has long since occurred; e.g., during childhood development. This is a long term solution, not a quick fix that may have adverse, unforeseen consequences. This is also a grand area for further research and development. Any takers?

    This makes sense to me. I've been involved with STEM promotion at primary level, and the general level of subject awareness is very low. Kids don't understand the disciplines and hence have no idea of what they could potentially pursue. By the time they get to 2nd-level, stereotypes have taken hold and you end up with the current gender split. Early intervention is critical.

    I'm aware of the "if you can't see it, you can't be it" argument in favour of quotas, but your average 9 year old (male or female) isn't aware of any 3rd-level role models. The gender focus should be at primary level rather than on lectureships.


  • #2


    robp wrote: »
    I have never met any Irish prof who is mediocre.
    Alleged certainty fallacy?
    robp wrote: »
    Have you?
    Yes*

    (*But my answer is of no consequence, being anecdotal)


  • #2


    robp wrote: »
    Maybe women just have different preferences?
    I'm aware of the "if you can't see it, you can't be it" argument in favour of quotas, but your average 9 year old (male or female) isn't aware of any 3rd-level role models.
    The under-representation of women at advanced professorships is a complex problem with many different variables that may interact and affect outcomes. With your mention of role models (one variable), especially in the math-intensive sciences and engineering disciplines, to what extent does the small number (relative to males) of significant female role models affect career choices, including the pursuit of advanced degrees, grants, peer-reviewed publications, and professorships?


  • #2


    Black Swan wrote: »
    The under-representation of women at advanced professorships is a complex problem with many different variables that may interact and affect outcomes. With your mention of role models (one variable), especially in the math-intensive sciences and engineering disciplines, to what extent does the small number (relative to males) of significant female role models affect career choices, including the pursuit of advanced degrees, grants, peer-reviewed publications, and professorships?

    There's a useful study idea!

    In my (sample-of-one) experience, about 10% of my undergrad STEM course was female, increasing to 15-20% at postgrad level and about the same at postdoc. I'm too long out of academia to know what the split currently is for career researchers.


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