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What proportion of your professors are women

已有 35 次閱讀2018-1-10 09:34 |個人分類:教育| 教育

She intends to do this at Nottingham, too, and her team are already scrutinising the whole recruitment process to work out where unconscious bias might creep in. This often involves small changes like changing the language in adverts if it is putting women off. But she isn’t afraid to intervene if things aren’t appearing equal. “If we aren’t getting the percentage of women applying that we want, we push it back and have a look to see what’s going on,” she says.

Both vice-chancellors are very open that they have a long way to go on this one. Amos says that at Soas things look good on the surface, with a high proportion of women across the whole institution. But if you strip out the support roles, men have about 60% of academic positions, and only 28% of professors are women. “It’s really patchy and we feel very strongly that we have a lot of work to do,” she says.

It is a similar story at Nottingham: 54% of academics are women, but only 20% of professors. In apologising for this figure, which she very much wants to increase, West explains that academics tend to love the institution and stay for “many, many years” – a headache in equality terms, because in the 1980s and early 90s she says the people hired were predominately men.
Is there a danger that you will demotivate men by pushing for female promotions?West is diplomatic: “I’m talking about trying to make the whole process as fair as possible for everybody. We are trying to take bias of all kinds out and just look for talent.”
But Amos is unequivocal. “I think for a place like Soas, which prides itself on values and inclusiveness, it’s important I am not embarrassed to be a champion. I care passionately about gender equality. I care passionately about diversity and inclusion, and I think it’s important that people see that.”
She agrees that there are lots of processes that can be tweaked to improve equality. Yet she says there are also much harder questions to ask about the culture in your institution. “How does it feel? Do women feel comfortable in your institution? Who dominates the agenda in departments?”
What advice would you give to younger women starting out in academia?
“I would say be very careful about making yourself a victim,” West says. “If you get overlooked – which you will do because it’s a rough, competitive world and it happens – don’t automatically take the role of a victim. I work with a lot of women’s networks and often they can get into a negative frame of mind.” She says that women need both mentors and sponsors to help them navigate their careers.
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Amos nods vigorously. “I entirely agree. In any sector you need mentors and supporters and promoters; people who will point you in directions you hadn’t thought about. That is incredibly important. Environments can be hostile and you need to know how to bounce back.”
She adds that often women may be turned down for a job they feel they deserve not because of their gender, but because someone else performed better on the day. “The trouble is, because we are in a society that has structural discrimination against women, it is hard to tease out what is what. I think women also want to see that the culture is changing, that society is changing – and that’s the hard bit because that can be so slow.”
When West took over as VC of Nottingham, she set up a private email address for staff to share their concerns or thoughts about the university with her directly. She says that people told her she was mad to do this – and reading and acknowledging every one of the hundreds of emails she has received has been very time-consuming. “People have poured their souls out,” she says, and the exercise has taught her a lot about the institution she now runs. I wonder whether she was more likely to take on this listening exercise because she is a woman.

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