Gender Tutorials: Causes and Cures

 I was reminded yesterday of Virginia Valian’s Gender Tutorials at a Hunter College web site.  All of them are worth going through; the second and third are especially imporant for understanding gender schemas and their effects, even effects on how one judges oneself. 

The 4th tutorial is about what you – students – can do.  I don’t think it is all right.  For one thing, she starts out by telling you that you’ll encounter a receptive environment if you suggest changes.  Well, maybe  in the sciences (tho’Mr JJ says “no”), but philosophy is thousands of years old, and I can tell you, a lot of people do not like new ideas.  BUT there are  some useful ideas about trying to improve the environment.  For example, TAs can ask the professor to introduce them to students in a way that increases confidence  all around.  Just the presence of more women helps, so you can ask that women be invited to give talks.  (She doesn’t say this, but I’d have some names in mind, and maybe even a list with some accomplishments mentioned.)

There are more ideas.  So see what you think!

3 thoughts on “Gender Tutorials: Causes and Cures

  1. I hadn’t seen those tutorials before. They’re really a nice introduction to the underrepresentation problem.

    I agree that the last tutorial is a little lacking. I’m also not sure how putting together a personal board of advisors (or whatever that was called) is going to help challenge underrepresentation as a systematic or institutional problem.

  2. i agree with above….i think we should question the methodology….

    at my 59 yrs, i wonder whether it wouldnt it be more productive to just let ourselves go, be creative, and ignore some of the theories that are not only just that, but that can mine our self confidence. Remember the self fulfilling prophecy?!

    From reading this thread if feel as if tho we had to justify ourselves!!!!! — i dont believe we are less analytic than males….period paragraph.

    Wouldnt it be more fun to just ignore all this and let our imagination go?????? (lets nobel prize winners, etc. prove we are less analytic….and us….lets us dream…!)

    why do we pay attention??? would blacks react the same way??? or other races????

    should we let ourselves just fly?!!!

  3. Noumena,

    It does seem to be a mixture of how to protect oneself and how to improve your department.


    I can understand how you feel and I think you are raising a complicated question. Let me first, though, say that I think some of the recent discussion may have been misleading. Some people do say that women are not really analytic enough, and I at least was trying to oppose that. The idea was that the fault might be that too much of the analytic philosophy is caught up in insignificant questions (Noumena’s terminology, I think).

    I would also expect that all of us on this blog are firmly opposed to the idea that women should continually justify themselves. It is exhausting to occupy the role of a permanent outsider who always lacks initial credibility, and it is one of many unfairs drains on many professional women’s energy.

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