Posts in “Gender”
The hosts at Accidental Tech Podcast have been thinking about how to broaden their base of listeners to include more women. Good for them. They’re getting plenty of advice (and a certain amount of flak), which I won’t add to. But in general when doing this kind of thing it can be helpful to look back on what your past practice has been. For example, it can be useful to audit one’s own habits of linking and engagement.
Last Thursday I gave a talk at the American Philosophical Association’s Central Division meetings about patterns in publication and citation in some of the field’s major journals. I have a more extensive analysis of the data that’s almost done, but that deserves a paper of its own rather than a post. Here I’ll confine myself mostly to descriptive material about some broad trends, together with a bit of discussion at the end.
June 26th, 2013. I’ve corrected some errors in the dataset. They changes don’t effect the substance of the post. All of these involve merging variant citations to the same work. Notable changes in the graph are the increased prominence of Davidson (1980), van Inwagen (1990), Putnam (1975), and (to a lesser degree), Wittgenstein (1953). I thank Brad Wray for drawing my attention to some of these errors. Last week’s posts on A Co-Citation Network for Philosophy and Lewis and the Women generated a fair amount of discussion amongst philosophers, and I also got quite a few emails.
Corrections and Changes as of June 26th, 2013: See the end of the post for details on some corrections and changes to the analysis. In the previous post I promised I would say something about the influence of David Lewis, and also something about citation frequency by gender. Some caveats at the outset. First, as I said before, this is exploratory work. I’m still in the process of cleaning the data and correcting mistakes, so things may change (although hopefully just around the margins).
The Irish Times reports the death of a 31 year-old woman last month in Galway, as a result of being denied an abortion: Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later. Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated.
Following up on a conversation with a friend in Philosophy, I took a quick look at the Survey of Earned Doctorates to see the breakdown by gender for Ph.Ds awarded in the United States in 2009. Some nice pictures: Percent female by Division (with Philosophy picked out); Percent female for selected disciplines; and a giant percent female for (almost) all disciplines, with Philosophy picked out for emphasis. The links go to PDFs.
Feminist Philosophers reports on some egregious behavior under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities: a good friend of mine (a tenured philosophy professor in the states) was just accepted to an NEH summer seminar in [European city]. She’s a single mom and, obviously, wants to bring her son along. But, she says, she “has just been given 12 hours to “demonstrate” that she has full-time childcare arrangements for her son for the month of July that “are to the [completely unspecified] satisfaction” of the Institute directors; if she fails to meet this requirement, she has been told her accceptance in the program will be withdrawn.
What happened is part of the public record, so there’s no reason to be unclear or misinformed about the nature of the crime and subsequent events. This includes the victim’s stated wish — repeatedly, later — that legal action not be continued, but also the actual facts of the crime, which was a one hundred percent real rape of a drugged 13 year-old. So, now. Who’s going to cover themselves in glory?
Good for a laugh in Soc 101.
I’ve only seen the headlines, but I expect all the clowns put on their clown suits this morning and are presently climbing out of their clown car at the studio. I’m thinking liberal, activist, Puerto Rico isn’t even a state and the Bronx isn’t either, law-into-her-own-hands, affirmative action, closeted lesbian, the guy in front of me at Dunkin D’s said she wasn’t too bright. On that last point, it’s well known amongst alums that whereas the Princeton Sam Alito graduated from in 1972 was a bastion of civilized learning, the Princeton Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from four or five years later was a hippie “learning cooperative” where minorities got a coupon book of “A” grades upon admission to use up as needed, were all given the Pyne Prize automatically, and the concept of truth was rigorously suppressed by the leftist faculty.
Excerpts from an email forwarded from a philosopher of my acquaintance: Hello, I hope you are doing well! I am a casting producer for ABC Television’s hit reality show, Wife Swap. I am currently trying to cast families that promote philosophy as a discipline for a special episode of our show and thought perhaps you might know some scholars that would be interested in such an opportunity. An ideal family would have 2 parents that are both philosophers and children that also believe in the discipline.
Donated Kidney is Center of Divorce Dispute: A Long Island doctor is demanding that his estranged wife give him back the kidney he donated to her seven years ago. Dr. Richard Batista’s lawyer Dominic Barbara says his client would also be satisfied with the value of the kidney: $1.5 million. Newsday reports that Batista married wife Dawnell in 1990 and that he donated the kidney in 2001. According to Batista, their marriage was on the rocks then, but “My first priority was to save her life.
For those of you who keep track of Satoshi Kanazawa—evolutionary psychologist, co-author of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, and the Fenimore Cooper of Sociobiology—is now blogging at Psychology Today Magazine. Let’s turn the mike over to him: Both World War I and World War II lasted for four years. We fought vast empires with organized armies and navies with tanks, airplanes, and submarines, yet it took us only four years to defeat them.
Question: what is the latest—i.e., most recent—example you know of an academic’s first book where, in the acknowledgments, the author thanks his wife (or some other person’s wife, as in “the redoubtable Mrs Elizabeth Arbuthnot”) for typing and retyping the manuscript with great patience, forbearance, accuracy, and so on? The acknowledgments to academic books are a mini-institution with pretty clear rules that change only slowly over time and show a high degree of homogeneity, particularly for first books.
The other day David Brooks wrote a column which appeared to be a stock piece of standard conservative anxiety about what he called “hard-boiled, foul-mouthed, fedup, emotionally self-sufficient and unforgiving” young women. Matt Yglesias picks up on on the piece today, salvaging the key insight of Brooks’ piece from the muddled pop-culture framing. As Brooks says, Now young people face a social frontier of their own. They hit puberty around 13 and many don’t get married until they’re past 30.
By all accounts not any sort of couch potato, Ogged is understandably distressed to look at the age-group records for his chosen event, the 50 meters freestyle, and find that he has to go all the way up to the 75-79 age group to find a time he would stand a chance of beating. I have the related experience of having family members who are irritatingly athletic. For instance, my brother was on the Irish cross-country team and won a bunch of stuff in college.
There’s a discussion going on at Brian Leiter’s about the role of race and gender. There are a lot of anecdotes, which is fine, but little in the way of good data. Just for some context, here’s a figure showing the number women in full-time positions, as a percentage of all full-time positions, at U.S. philosophy departments surveyed in the Philosophical Gourmet Report. Click on the image for a larger version.
Tyler Cowen asks, So why are women more religious than men? Is it just greater risk-aversion? According to my colleague Louise Roth, in an article from the current ASR co-authored with Jeff Kroll, the answer to the second question is, “No.” Here’s the abstract: Scholars of religion have long known that women are more religious than men, but they disagree about the reasons underlying this difference. Risk preference theory suggests that gender gaps in religiosity are a consequence of men’s greater propensity to take risks, and that irreligiosity is analogous to other high-risk behaviors typically associated with young men.
Aha, via Andrew Gelman I see that a book I’ve been waiting for has just been published. Sarah Igo’s The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public is a study of the history of quantitative social research in America, documenting how Americans came to think of themselves as the subjects of social science, and how the categories of survey research got embedded in our culture. From the publisher: Igo argues that modern surveys, from the Middletown studies to the Gallup Poll and the Kinsey Reports, projected new visions of the nation: authoritative accounts of majorities and minorities, the mainstream and the marginal.
Just before lunch, I had the following conversation on the phone: [Phone rings] KH: Kieran Healy. Woman: Oh, so you are a man. KH: Uh, yes, I am. Woman: This is [someone] at the editorial desk of the New York Times. We referred to you as a woman yesterday in a post on our Opinionator blog. We’ll change it now. KH: Oh, OK. Woman: Thank you. Goodbye. KH: Goodbye. The Opinionator is behind the Times Select Paywall, so I haven’t seen the original reference or the corrected one.
So by now everyone and his same-sex partner knows that Maggie Gallagher’s stint at Volokh is one long struggle between her strong argument that marriage has many benefits and her handwaving about gay people bringing down the Roman Empire. As I said originally, if you think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, you probably believe that same-sex marriage is the least of the threats to civilization-as-we-know-and-like-it. Well, via Lawyers, Guns and Money here is Leon Kass—Addie Clark Harding Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and The College at the University of Chicago, and Chairman of the President’s Commission on Bioethics—in the first of a three-part series on what’s really wrong with America: Today, there are no socially prescribed forms of conduct that help guide young men and women in the direction of matrimony … most young women strike me as sad, lonely, and confused … today’s collegians do not even make dates or other forward-looking commitments to see one another; in this, as in so many other ways, they reveal their blindness to the meaning of the passing of time.
Since my earlier post about it, Maggie Gallagher’s guest appearance at the Volokh Conspiracy has taken a rapid turn for the worse. She keeps putting up scattershot posts that resolutely fail to engage with any of the reasonable questions and criticisms an increasingly exasperated group of commenters have repeatedly offered her. It irritates the commenters no end that she begins posts with phrases like “Let me clarify” and then doesn’t clear anything up.
Over at Volokh, Maggie Gallagher is visiting for a bit and arguing against the legalization of same-sex marriage. At least, soon she will begin arguing against it. Right now, she is clearing some ground to prepare for her main case. It looks like she wants to make some broad sociological generalizations about the place of the institution of marriage in society and the likely effect of a legalization of same-sex marriage on that institution.
Here’s an irritating piece from the New York Times about how high-achieving women students at elite schools are planning to quit their jobs and have children when they’re a bit older: Cynthia Liu is precisely the kind of high achiever Yale wants: … So will she join the long tradition of famous Ivy League graduates? Not likely. By the time she is 30, this accomplished 19-year-old expects to be a stay-at-home mom.
I went to watch the Arizona Wildcats beat Northern Arizona University in the first home game of the season last night in front of a happy home crowd. I’ve only been to one other American Football game in my life, so there was a whole novelty dimension. During the halftime show, as the marching band played Led Zeppelin favorites and marched in complex, quasi-aesthetic formations (it looked and sounded like you might imagine), the color guard drew a disproportionate amount of attention.
Just back from a weekend in Sydney. The Australasian Association of Philosophy’s annual conference started today. We went down a few days early and I fled back to Canberra this morning before the philosophers really got going. Laurie presents her paper later in the week, but this afternoon she was on a Career Workshop panel about balancing career and family. At precisely the time she was doing this, I was back in Canberra, standing at the side of the road with a small baby, wondering what to do next.
The suggestion that women in Saudi Arabia might, conceivably, be allowed to drive cars provokes squeals of outrage: Consultative Council member Mohammad al-Zulfa’s proposal has unleashed a storm in this conservative country where the subject of women drivers remains taboo. Al-Zulfa’s cell phone now constantly rings with furious Saudis accusing him of encouraging women to commit the double sins of discarding their veils and mixing with men. … [Opponents], who believe women should be shielded from strange men, say driving will allow a woman to leave home whenever she pleases and go wherever she wishes.
Pope John Paul II came to Ireland in 1979. It was the first time a reigning pontiff had visited the country and the nation went crazy. I was six. I went to see him in Limerick, along with my father, my brother, my uncle Donal, and about 300,000 other people. He faced a similar-sized crowd in Galway, and filled the Phoenix Park in Dublin with nearly a million people, by some estimates.
Nothing like teen sex to get sociology in the newspapers. Here’s more interesting stuff from the AddHealth dataset, and more particularly from Peter Bearman and Hannah Brueckner. This is the most recent in a line of papers on abstinence pledges and adolescent sexual activity more generally. A summary from the L.A. Times: Young adults who as teenagers took pledges not to have sex until marriage were just as likely to contract a venereal disease as people who didn’t make the promise, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
A must-read from Digby. She says, in part: By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient’s family’s wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother’s wishes in Texas just this week.
Now that Larry Summers has begun to live up to his putative commitment to open, freewheeling inquiry by finally releasing a transcript of his infamous remarks, various people are commenting on it. Matt Yglesias says I don’t think you can reasonably expect any given university (or corporation, or person) to singlehandedly shoulder the burden of changing a set of social expectations that’s become very well entrenched over a very long period of time.
Two posts sit side-by-side at the Volokh conspiracy at the moment. In one, Eugene Volokh updates a post making fun of some women protesting about not being picked for parts in a production of The Vagina Monologues: Auditions Are So Patriarchal: Early this year, I blogged about a controversy related to The Vagina Monologues, in a post titled “Life Imitates The Onion.” An excerpt: … In flyers handed out to audience members at the show, University graduate Nicole Sangsuree Barrett wrote that while there was “diversity” in the show, it was minimal.
For the sake of reducing the general level of snarkiness in the world, the pursuit of truth to its innermost thingys, and of course the children, I’ve looked a bit further at the question of May-December marriages and what that tells us about revealed preferences. As is often the case, the data tell us both more and less than you might think. The amateur demography continues below the fold, at Holbovian length.
Quick, in high school were you ever told not to date your old girlfriend’s current boyfriend’s old girlfriend? Or your old boyfriend’s current girlfriend’s old boyfriend? Probably not. But I bet you never did, either. This month’s American Journal of Sociology has a very nice paper (subscription only, alas) by Peter Bearman, Jim Moody and Katherine Stovel about the structure of the romantic and sexual network in a population of over 800 adolescents at “Jefferson High” in a midsized town in the midwestern United States.
Divorce was declared illegal in Ireland by the Constitution of 1937. A referendum to repeal the ban was proposed in 1986 and soundly defeated. Almost two-thirds of the electorate voted against it. In November 1995 a second divorce referendum was put to the country. That one passed, by a margin of just over nine thousand votes in a total valid poll of 1.62 million. I had just started graduate school at Princeton that Autumn and remember the slightly frozen expressions of fellow grad students when I told them about the constitutional debate raging at home.
I’ve never found the argument that conservatives are discriminated against in academia terribly compelling. But it does seem like an interesting case, if only because in making it common or garden conservatives are forced to admit the existence of institutionalized inequality, something they are usually loath to acknowledge. Andrew Sullivan just bumped into this question. (Via Pandagon.) He raises and then dismisses the most parsimonious explanation for this inequality, namely that conservatives are just not as clever as liberals and so don’t get hired.
Kevin Drum asks why kids don’t walk to school anymore: according to the CDC, only 31% of children ages 5-15 who live within a mile of school walk or bike. That’s down from 90% in 1969. But I still can’t figure out why. Why do parents ferry their kids around when there’s no reason for it? What’s the motivation? There might be more than one initial impetus—irrational concerns about safety, heavier school backpacks making walking more difficult, busier parents using the commute as quality time, and the like.
An article in the New York Times reports that the (white) relatives of Strom Thurmond are all upset since (black) Essie Mae Washington-Williams told the world last week that Thurmond was her father. Her mother had been a teenage maid in Thurmond’s household when Strom was in his early twenties. The article doesn’t have much in the way of commentary, but it doesn’t have to because you just have to listen to them damn themselves out of their own mouths.
Jennifer Roback Morse’s views on sex and marriage are worth reading if you are interested in what happens when natural law theory, evolutionary psychology and conservative family values are stewed together and left to simmer in a base of visceral disgust toward homosexuals. I leave it to legal scholars to explain what’s wrong with arguments from “what nature intended.” Feminists can take Morse’s complaint that “we have already redefined the social context of marriage in the name of equality for women” and invite her to pine for the days before the Married Women’s Property Act.
Via my former RA Brayden King comes news that you can now Marry Your Pet if you feel that it’s, you know, the one. Matilda, who has been a “Pet and Partners Priest for longer than she’d care to remember” will marry you and your chosen pet in one of three sizes of wedding. Many happily married interspecies couples testify that it brought added depth and meaning to their lives. It was the disclaimer that convinced me the site was on the level.
I’ve written before about the way debates about work-family conflict are framed. In general, men with children are not thought to face work/family choices. Alternatives to this way of thinking about it—analyzing the institutions that structure people’s choices, for example—are often dismissed as utopian flim-flam. It’s a good example of how social facts are mistaken for natural facts. Quite sensible people—who know that it’s silly to argue that cloning, contraceptives and representative government are wrong because they are “unnatural,” for instance—can often be found insisting that the Pleistocene Savannah has set implacable constraints on the institutional design of work/family policies in postindustrial democracies.
Over at Slate, Steven Landsburg has a piece on the finding that the parents of daughters are more likely to divorce than the parents of sons: In the United States, the parents of a girl are nearly 5 percent more likely to divorce than the parents of a boy. The more daughters, the bigger the effect: The parents of three girls are almost 10 percent more likely to divorce than the parents of three boys.
Jane Galt is worried about the economics of childcare and she gives a good account of the hard choices women often feel they must face about bearing and rearing children: Should we stay home, or shouldn’t we? It’s a difficult question for professional women. … We want to be successful as much as our husbands do. Taking five or eight or ten years off to get the kids started off right before they go to school is going to mean irreperably harming our prospects for advancement.
In Newspaper Land, Summer is the season of fake lifestyle trends. There’s nothing like a bit of pop sociology to fill the feature pages on those long, hot days. The New York Times has been doing quite well on this front recently. A couple of months ago it was telling us about metrosexuals, the allegedly new breed of straight male who uses Neutrogena products and so on. They also had a story about the rise of the thirtieth birthday party.
In an aside to a post, John Quiggin asks, I know the spelling of my name is not obvious from its pronunciation, and I always take care to spell it out when I’m talking to someone. But how can people get it so consistently wrong when they’re taking it from a printed source? Believe me, I sympathize. At least they don’t get your last and your first name wrong, John. Nor are they likely to think you are a woman.
John Quiggin follows up on my post about occupational segregation. He says: I’d argue that the bulk of the explanation can be found in high school or earlier. Girls do relatively well in language and boys in mathematics. Although I have no data, the disproportion seems to be higher the further up the performance scale you go, so that the very best students (the future PhDs) are highly gender-segregated. Given the incredible power of social pressures in high school, I think it’s reasonable to assume that this outcome is generated by social stereotypes rather than by differences in genes.
Brad DeLong congratulates Steven Levitt on winning the John Bates Clark Medal and gives us a list of previous winners. Awarded every other year since 1947, all of the winners are men. Brian Weatherson picks up on this point and notes that analytic philosophy “has done a very poor job over the years in attracting and keeping bright women,” though he thinks the situation is not quite as bad as economics.
Back from his holidays, Chris Bertram has comments about the male brain/female brain multi-choice quiz that I complained about before. Chris stakes out a reasonable position. He’s a bit more precise than I was when I wrote my original post—my excuse is that at the time I was, to quote Raymond Chandler, full of no coffee. However, I’d stand by what I said. The main point as I see it is that the questionnaire instrument is no good.
Via Maria Farrell I see that yet another psychologist is laughing all the way to the bank with a book and multiple choice quiz about essential differences in the brains of men and women. A significant commonality in the brains of men and women is an endless appetite for tests of this sort that comfortingly reinforce what you already know. Men, clever boys that they are, typically have a high “systemising quotient” because their brains are “hard-wired” for understanding and building systems.
Sick of Battleground God? Take the IQ test at the Center for the Study of Inequality and see how much you know about income inquality, gender and occupational segregation, social mobility and other cool stuff. There are 12 questions. I got one wrong, but I suppose it’s my job to know this stuff.
The responses to Eugene Volokh’s question are a bit disappointing. Most of them just restate the problem in a faux-Darwinian language of “signalling” that doesn’t explain anything. Eugene’s favorite answer—it signals lack of success for men but not women—doesn’t tell you why the signal should have that meaning, just that it does. Nobody seems aware that there’s rather a lot of research and thinking on the social organization of gender that might be of use here.
Kevin Drum is a little worried: (d) For the purposes of this section, the term “material that is harmful to minors” means any communication that— (1) taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion…. Excretion? What’s up with that? I mean, the last time I looked kiddie TV was so full of fart and poop and pee jokes that it even makes me a little queasy.
Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum both comment on a survey that Republicans think, by a margin of 61-39, that homosexuality is caused by upbringing; whereas Democrats opt for genes by a margin of 66-34. This confirms a throwaway comment I read a few years ago, I think in the context of the Bell Curve debate. Conservatives think that everything except being gay is determined by the genes and Liberals think nothing but being gay is caused by genes.
Slate’s Mickey Kaus joins a distingushed line of snipers at social science as he makes fun of a study finding that mothers often have little idea that their children are sexually active. “New York Times … or The Onion? You Make the Call!” he snickers. “Next: A team of researchers discovers that when teenage women say they can’t go on social outings because they are “busy,” they often are not describing their schedules accurately: 45 percent are in fact not busy at all.” I suspect his main motivation for highlighting this piece is to smack the Times around a bit, which seems to have become his main role in life.
I just heard a report on All Things Considered titled “Waiting too Long.” (Listen to the segment in RealAudio.) Here’s a precis from their website: As more and more women are waiting to conceive a baby, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) wants to display advertisements to remind women that the biological clock keeps ticking. NPR’s Allison Aubrey reports the campaign has run into trouble. The gist of the story was that women think they have forever to have a baby, and then—- whoops!—- they find themselves in their late 30s or early 40s and then have difficulty conceiving (or no success at all).
Via Brad DeLong, a story about the regular everyday folks invited to the President Bush’s economic summit in Waco. In response to criticism that the hand-picked attendees were unrepresentative, Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill cited attendee Marilyn Carlson, ‘who owns a travel business. She should be able to give us perspective about what it means to be on the front lines.’ Well, Marilyn Carlson’s ‘travel business’ is the Carlson Companies, the privately-held conglomerate that owns the Radisson hotel chain, TGI Friday’s, and a dozen other entities.
The American Sociological Association’s annual meetings took place this week in Chicago. As usual, there were far too many sessions and not nearly enough time to catch up with everyone I wanted to talk to. If you are hoping to run into people at giant conferences like these, the best place to meet them is at the book exhibit. This is also the best place to hang out for another obvious reason: the books.