What more do you want?

Posted: October 18, 2010 by Jender in failure to challenge sexism, Maleness of philosophy, women are tokens

I’m a graduate student in a department with very few women in the program (at the time this story takes place there were only 3 women that were at all present in the department – including faculty). Many of the faculty seem to understand that this is a serious problem, and have taken steps to try to remedy both the underrepresentation and the climate that results from it (by, for example, accepting more female graduate students and focusing several recent hiring searches on female candidates). However, these efforts have largely backfired. As one of the only female graduate students, I was very involved in a recent job search in which the only fly outs were women. After the final job talk I was stopped in the hall and asked by a group of male faculty members what my thoughts on the candidates were. I said that I thought they all seemed equally qualified, but that candidate X was particularly friendly, approachable, and outgoing while also setting an excellent example of professionalism for the female grad studens. One senior male faculty member interrupted me midsentence with: “Well they’re all women, so what more do you want?” This was the same faculty member who told me in my first year that I had only been accepted to the PhD program because they “went out of their way to accept more women” that year. None of the other faculty members reproached him, they all just wandered away into their offices.

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