More women getting Ph.D.s in US

A report is out indicating that for the first time since tracking began, more women than men earned Ph.D.s in the U.S.A. last year.  (Right-click on the word ‘report’ in the WaPo story, but note that the pdf you’ll download is 3.5 megs.)

Of course, when I read the actual report, the Humanities are not where the hot trends are, and across the board, the inequities are not yet gone:

Overall, women and girls make up 51 percent of the U.S. population. But women have not conquered every corridor of the ivory tower. Men still hold the majority of faculty and administration positions. Women earn less than men at every level of academic rank, according to the American Association of University Professors. Male faculty members earned $87,206 on average and their female counterparts made $70,600 in the 2009-10 academic year. Starting salaries for newly minted faculty members are nearly equal.

Men retained the lead in doctoral degrees until 2008, largely through their dominance in engineering, mathematics and the physical sciences. They still earn nearly 80 percent of engineering doctorates.

Shame on Forbes! And Gingrich!

Neither Forbes nor the National Review is on my list on constant reads.  The following descriptions come from Maureen Dowd in the NYT

I’m not sure where the last discussion we had about bigotry left us, and I’d be interested in hearing reactions to people who publish this thinly disguised racism.

It’s probably also the case that it’s good to be aware that these influential people are saying this stuff.  It is the sort of thing that can make one fear for the future of America. 

So the smear artists are claiming not only that the president is a socialist but that he suffers from a socialism gene.

“Our president is trapped in his father’s time machine,” D’Souza writes in Forbes, offering a genetic theory of ideology. “Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.”

And Newt Gingrich

Gingrich praised D’Souza’s article in Forbes, previewing an upcoming book called “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.”

Newt told The National Review Online that it was the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama” and said D’Souza shows that the president “is so outside our comprehension” that you can only understand him “if you understand Kenyan, anticolonial behavior.”

Newt added: “This a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.”

As Dowd says, “It’s Newt and D’Souza and their ilk who put America at risk.”

France bans Niqab

Because forbidding women from wearing particular things increases their freedom. And making them feel that they can’t leave the house makes them more equal. And there’s nothing Islamophobic about this. After all, a Christian who wanted to cover their face would also be prevented.

Please don’t misunderstand me: there is plenty to criticise about the views underlying a demand for women, but not men, to cover their faces. But there’s also plenty to criticise about e.g. traditional marriage vows (“obey”), and I don’t think they should be banned either. (Though I do think one could make a better case for banning those vows than for banning niqabs, now that I reflect on it.)

(Thanks, Synaesthetik!)

Review of police handling of rape cases shelved

From the Guardian:

A major review of how the police handle rape cases has been shelved amid efforts by the government to save money, it was disclosed today.

The £441,000 study by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) had been prompted by a series of high-profile blunders by detectives…

Last year it emerged that John Worboys, a London taxi driver, had been left free to attack hundreds of women because officers did not believe victims’ reports of being assaulted.

Weeks after Worboys was jailed, Kirk Reid was convicted of more than 20 attacks, including two rapes. He had apparently come to the police’s attention 12 times before he was arrested and charged.

The Home Office defends itself thusly:

The Home Office insisted funding for the probe was withdrawn in June because it would merely have “duplicated” other reviews by Lady Stern and Sara Payne.

I don’t know enough to know whether this claim by the Home Office is true. But my level of trust in this government is low, and so I’m sceptical.

Thanks, Mr Jender!

Mental illness stigma in USA

A study carried out by researchers at Indiana University and Columbia University, and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, has discovered that although the public are more willing to accept neurobiological explanations of mental illness and substance abuse problems, these conditions are still stigmatized. This results in discrimination when people with such problems attempt to find work, housing, access treatment, conduct social relationships, and so on. As well as having a negative impact on their own lives and well-being, it also negatively affects the lives and well-being of their friends and relatives. You can read more here.