Sudden interest in running the department

Posted: November 1, 2010 by Jender in women can't be trusted

When I entered my grad program, they had just tenured their second woman ever, in the history of the department. A few years later, their first-ever tenured woman volunteered to serve next as chair of the department. What happened next was puzzling as can be to me; men who had groaned aloud in seminars about not wanting to be chair, and expressed a longing for ANYONE else to do it, suddenly took a keen interest in opposing the chairship of the only long-standing female member. It became a competitive election in which at least one man stood for chair against her, and another man ended up being sort of thrown in, I guess.

She lost the vote for chair, of course. To this day, that department has not (yet, ever) had a female chair.

Good side-effects resulted, including some unlooked-for consciousness-raising among women who had previously felt isolated or unwelcome. They thought they were individually lacking. After that, the women in the department started talking to each other. A lot! They are dear to me to this day.

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