So I had a big presentation today. Of course, in true procrastinator style, I had been putting it off since it was scheduled, a month or so ago. Of course, the thoughts were all there, you know, I was thinking about it. Then I chose to post about womens' issues on Friday night and invite all those comments and arguments. I was itching to answer each comment as it came in, but tried my best to focus on work instead..and failed miserably.
So yeah, I went to bed saturday night without a single slide made, and had a nightmare that I was shouting feminist slogans in my presentation, in a room full of professors. :0 So I decided to get serious and get to it..then there was the soccer final, and then, and then, oh well. It's over, it went well, some of them laughed at my joke, and now I'm just glad it's over.
So I'm sorry I took so long getting back at you all (especially the ones that disagreed with me ;) ) but here I am.
Ahem, will ignore that IM-like convo between me and aarti ;) and get right to business.
Smiling girl, I was not lobbying that an inferior candidate be given the position "just" because she was a woman. In terms of qualifications and capabilities, both #2 and #3 came really close. The 85-90 ranking was assigned by the dissenter, J, not me. It is possible that the faculty got to make a better evaluation of the candidates in their one-on-one meetings, etc, and that cannot be ruled out. Neither am I pushing for "reservations" as some pointed out. We invited and evaluated applicants of either gender, and they were both evaluated in the same manner. We happened to find a candidate who was excellent, and also brought something more to the table, by being a woman.
well.. this doesnt hold good for the normal female bosses and guides though..:).. Most of them are normally khadoos..
:-) hehe, I cannot disagree. that seems to be a well known fact. But I have come to believe that it is not without good reason. More about that in some other post, some other day.
For sirius and others who raised the issue about how a woman would react when offered a job 'because she was a woman", if I were her, and it was explained to me correctly, I think I would understand the need for a female professor in the department, and do my best to mentor students and make myself available to female grad students for counsel. I would take my job as being a female professor quite seriously and try to bridge the gap the best I can. Does that sound too naive or oversimplified? I was not intending for it to be a "Sympathy offer" to #3.
And yes, in an all-boys school , if majority teachers are ladies, and the boys did have certain gender-specific issues, I think it's fair to want to have more male teachers to be able to address them.
Which brings me to Satya's comment. :-) It's clear that you disagree, ;) and I hope you're still ready for the brickbats. :-) Most grad students are spending 5- 6 years of their prime time life in grad school. Issues like marriage, family, managing to balance the two, come up. And no, men cannot address them in the same way as women do. Several male professors in my dept have stay-at-home wives that take care of the kids. I want to see a female professor who's juggling the act of lab, home, kid, being a successful scientist and see how she does it. I am not talking about rules so much as I'm talking about issues, for which no rules exist.
The post was not intended to be "feminist". But it could've seemed that way. So? have a problem ? *raises militant feminist eyebrow* :-) j/k
Satish, yes, as many others have said on the comment space too, women have not had it easy. A little bit of tweaking to level the playing field is required. And that is the reality.
Andy, I would've definitely not made the argument had the differences in merit been huge. You are right, (not about me having a smooth sailing with my thesis, but thanks for that vote ;) ) the small difference in their merits, to me, seemed less significant than the positive outcomes of hiring a female in a male-dominated field.
Libran, I am sure she got another, equally good offer. The loss was ours, more than hers.
Confused? hi! me too. well, for that potential free beer when I come to south jersey, I'll be nice to you. I am not asking for an all-woman club, but is asking for a move to restore a little balance too much?
Prashanth, yes. We can either wait for eons to women to stick it out, fight it out, and make their place.. or give them reasonable, deserving nudges to push them forth, and make the struggle a little easier for them, in a bid to achieve equilibrium faster.
Nirwa, *drum roll* Ab mujhe Nirwa se koi dar nahi hain!
Erimentha, hello there! very well said! Why didn't I think of putting it like that earlier? Would've saved me so much explanation! Or would it?
Aarti, S.G, thanks. :-)
Sayesha, and what did you think? The rechristening won't happen for a while now. For a more comprehensive answer to that question, watch this space. :-)
qsg, I liked your powerful post in response, and understand that it was not meant to be argumentative. But I'll pick up a couple points anyways, One, the fact that the few women stalwarts made it on their own and did not wait for role models is great (and inspiring) but like I said to Prashanth already, it's not enough to bridge the existing deep gap between genders and opportunities. A lot more is needed, and deserving opportunities like the case of #2 versus #3 are important instances where the difference can be made. Finally, it is insulting to a woman if she's wanted in a place because the old boys do not have enough eye-candy. But if she's wanted for what she can bring to the table in her capacity as a woman (and i'm not talking about being eye-candy) then I don't see why it should be insulting or self-esteem shattering.
Sudipta, waiting for a "visible" or "tangible" problem to arise to fix it seems to me an approach which lacks foresight. The signs are there, although I admit, nobody in the students population came out and said it outright. Perhaps we should've done that to make it more "visible". And like I said, we don't get to hire a new faculty every day, it's the first search I've witnessed in the five years I've been at this univ.
T.C.O, will go there and read. :-)
Round 2 commences here. Bring it on!! ;-)