I hope this post will be the first in a series, in which people write in to tell us about their efforts to achieve a better gender balance in conferences, volumes, etc. It would be great to know what measures people are taking, what works, and what doesn’t.
Simon Kirchin wrote to me yesterday:
Hi Jender and all,
I’m a frequent reader, but a non-writer (save for the discussion about my ‘Thick Concepts’ conference last year.) This is just something about The British Society for Ethical Theory (BSET) of which I am President. I know that there is a continuing worry about conference line-ups, and a worry about ethics recently. (A worry I share, I hasten to add.) Three items of BSET news, plus one other item:
(i) For our 2011 conference one of our two keynotes will be female (Susan Wolf, UNC Chapel Hill);
(ii) For our 2012 conference we have managed to get our first choice pair of keynote speakers, both female. (I’d better not reveal their names just yet.) I should point out that the BSET Exec Committee does not have a deliberate policy of making sure we invite at least one female, and we don’t take the view that any three of these speakers is ‘token’! But, we are aware of people’s concerns in this regard and we did talk about it at length at our July meeting, in relation to keynotes and other things. Similarly:
(iii) For our 2011 open sessions we have decided to instigate super-anonymous review (?), which we’ll advertise in the next CFP. All papers will go to an email, and all identifications removed *before* the papers are sent to the ‘Chief Referee’, whose job it is then to send out to referees, gather and read reports, and compile the programme of 9 open sessions.
I hope this goes someway to show that BSET is aware of people’s worries. Not perfection yet, perhaps, but better than before.
(iv) On another note, if you are interested, I am compiling papers for an edited collection on thick concepts, following the conference last year. Of the probable 11 contributors (inc. myself), two are women, one early career, one mid-career. Again, the numbers aren’t perfect, but I had four women turn me down for various reasons when deciding on the eventual list.
It’s great to hear that these concerns are being discussed, and that people are tracking their progress toward better gender representation. Also interesting to hear– again– about a high proportion of women turning down invites. (It would be interesting to know the reasons they gave, to see if there’s any pattern) And, of course, I’m very pleased to hear about the super-anonymous reviewing.
And please do let us know what you or your organisation is doing to achieve better gender balance!