Diversity@SPP

Archive for the ‘race’ Category

SPP 2009 Conference

Posted by anonfemphil on June 4, 2009

There will be a lunch time discussion of diversity and the SPP on June 13th; Virginia Valian, whose work on diversity is very highly regarded, will be joining us.  Everyone at the conference is welcome to come. 

Below you’ll find info about the lunch and three links to new news about diversity.  This blog is also the repository for a number of posts about diversity and even more links to other resources.

Time and location

June 13; 1:15 to 2:45.

State Room East, on the second floor of the IMU (the main conference building)

 
Links:
 
Diversity statistics for the 2009 SPP conference.  (Many thanks to the program chairs).
 
…data from several studies indicate that greater male variability with respect to mathematics is not ubiquitous. Rather, its presence correlates with several measures of gender inequality. Thus, it is largely an artifact of changeable sociocultural factors, not immutable, innate biological differences between the sexes.
(Whatever you think of Sotomayor, it is interesting to see commentary that could be drawn from a handbook on racist and sexist stereotypes.  In these terms, assertive women are bullies and Latinas are sloppy and not too bright.)  H/T to this post.
 
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So let’s just bite the bullet and hire more women.

Posted by anonfemphil on October 13, 2008

The hiring rates of women in philosophy at the TT level are among the worst in universities, worse even than physics.

If a discipline is falling behind others on its support of diversity, it probably is not such a good thing for the area.  Why should women even try to compete in a field they perceive as hostile?  Far better to go into psychology, for example.  At least in cognitive psychology, women have reached about 35%.  In 2008, 12 women submitted papers in philosophy to the SPP.  That suggests  a certain lack of growth in the field.

We may have reached a tipping point or a dead end, but whatever it is, it doesn’t look good.  If nothing else, this is not a politically healthy situation. 

So unfair though many people no doubt will think it is, maybe colleges and universities should make an effort to hire women.  Ads could encourage women to apply, committes could pay special attention to female applications and so on.  In a short period, we can turn this around, right?

Wrong.  Or probably wrong.  A lot of places have been doing that for at least two decades and it doesn’t seem to be making a big enough difference, if it is making any.  And if we look at the very well studied case of  race and jobs, we can see the same problem.

 Much prejudice tends to be indirect; bias leads one to perceive equally qualified people as qualified differently.  As a very interesting WaPo article on implicit bias says:

In perhaps the most dramatic real-world correlate of the bias tests, economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago recently sent out 5,000 résumés to 1,250 employers who had help-wanted ads in Chicago and Boston. The résumés were culled from Internet Web sites and mailed out with one crucial change: Some applicants were given stereotypically white-sounding names such as Greg; others were given black-sounding names such as Tyrone.

Interviews beforehand with human resources managers at many companies in Boston and Chicago had led the economists to believe that black applicants would be more likely to get interview calls: Employers said they were hungry for qualified minorities and were aggressively seeking diversity. Every employer got four résumés: an average white applicant, an average black applicant, a highly skilled white applicant and a highly skilled black applicant.

The economists measured only one outcome: Which résumés triggered callbacks?

To the economists’ surprise, the résumés with white-sounding names triggered 50 percent more callbacks than résumés with black-sounding names. Furthermore, the researchers found that the high-quality black résumés drew no more calls than the average black résumés. Highly skilled candidates with white names got more calls than average white candidates, but lower-skilled candidates with white names got many more callbacks than even highly skilled black applicants.

For employers who think they want to hire minority workers, an average white applicant can seem better than a highly qualified minority candidate. 

So what’s causing the  problem and what can we do?  Good questions!

Posted in bias, gender, race | 4 Comments »

Unconscious bias

Posted by anonfemphil on October 13, 2008

If you think you could consciously detect any racism and/or sexism in yourself, you might be in for a surprise.

Have a look at the tests here.

Remember that being a woman or being a black is not going to make you immune to the bias.  Judging on academic merits alone may be really harder than we may have thought.

And, in the interest of self-disclosure, I should say I did not do well on the women and science test, despite years of advocacy for women in science.

Posted in bias, gender, race | 1 Comment »