On pairing oneself with a male philosopher

Posted: November 26, 2010 by Jender in Uncategorized

This story is in response to the post with the remark that pairing oneself with a male philosopher would be helpful careerwise.

I am in such a pair, and here is one of millions of stories I could relate: My husband has a graduate student, let’s call her X. X’s partner, who is also in philosophy, has recently joined her from abroad, so last weekend we invited them both for a welcome dinner in our home, a dinner I myself prepared.

They both arrived with a special gift for my husband from their home country. They then spent the whole evening directing the conversation at him, also when the conversation turned to my area.

Now multiply this episode by a large number.

Bottom line: If a woman pairs herself with a male philosopher, the assumption most people will make, especially if he is “famous,” is that any ideas she has come from him, and any job she has is due to being married to him. She will not be able to participate in events for which he is involved in or on the program, or submit papers to journals or proceedings volumes he is editing or co-editing. She will be subject to non-nepotism rules (in force at most universities) and as a result will either not be able to work in the same place as her partner, or she will have to take a significantly reduced position. Finally, she will be relegated to the sidelines on social occasions, while all present focus on her husband.

So I don’t think it is particularly helpful careerwise.

(I am a senior researcher in my field.)

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