Archive for the ‘women are incompetent’ Category

This is about 20 years ago. I was a first year graduate student, taking metaphysics. A male student—let’s call him X—was taking the same class. He was very vocal, seemed to be very intelligent. The first time *I* ever spoke up, I must have asked a good question, because the professor said: “Did X put you up to that?”

The professor seemed to be sorry later.

Now, in 2010, our female graduate students report that if they have a female supervisor, their choice is challenged by male graduate students, and they are asked to explain why they would ever choose to work with a woman when they could work with a man.

When our almost exclusively male department did a search recently, we were instructed by the Dean to make an effort to hire a woman. Most of us saw the lack of women in our department as a glaring problem that needed to be fixed and so were only too happy to satisfy the Dean’s request. One senior faculty member, however, was none too pleased; he repeatedly claimed that hiring a women would drag down our department’s otherwise stellar publication record because women just don’t publish enough and would waste the tenure-line by getting pregnant.

Departmental colleagues in my first tenure-track position included several overtly sexist men and a hostile woman. While there, my extensive research record was discounted in a number of ways. One senior male colleague even told me that feminist philosophy is not real philosophy–it’s just women’s studies; and several senior colleagues defended a low assessment of my research by pointing out that I had failed to publish in what they considered to be “top-tier journals” (journals in which I had no interest and in which my approach to philosophy did not fit). Needless to say, I applied elsewhere and was fortunate enough to land in a fully-functional, supportive, and high-quality department. In this new department, I easily obtained tenure (with a unanimous vote) and half of my departmental colleagues are women. The good news is that some departments, including mine, are actively recruiting, supporting, and advancing women philosophers. The bad news, of course, is that sexist, hostile philosophy departments still exist.