“Raising tuition fees perpetuates gender inequality”

Readers of the Chronicle of Higher Education may have already read “The Biggest Student Uprising You’ve Never Heard Of.”

On an unseasonably warm day in late March, a quarter of a million postsecondary students and their supporters gathered in the streets of Montreal to protest against the Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75% over five years.

Media in Canada and the U.S. have been slow to pick up on the story, although it is finally gaining some attention in Canada, and relatedly, this coming weekend will see an Edufactory conference in Toronto, The University Is Ours!

As a reader pointed out to me, equity is good for everyone and this, in particular is also a feminist issue.  She directed my attention to the excellent Concordia University Simone de Beauvoir Institute, which released position statements including this one on tuition hikes:

[Men] and women do not earn the same income. On average, a woman with such a diploma will earn $863 268 less than a man with the same diploma over the course of her lifetime. Suppose that two students – one a man, one a woman – each finish a BA with a debt of $25 000. Each and every month, the woman has to spend more of her income to pay back her debt. Asking individuals to “invest” in their future asks women to pay more, proportionally speaking, than men over their lifetimes.  The Québec government is asking women to “invest” in their sustained inequality for decades to come. We reject this kind of neoliberal logic… Raising tuition fees perpetuates gender inequality now and in the future.

“Feminine” scientists less motivating as role models

Researchers found that middle school-aged girls signaled little interest in science, technology, engineering and math when presented with successful female role models who specialized in those fields and displayed feminine characteristics, such as wearing makeup and dressing in pink clothing.
By contrast, successful female scientists portrayed in a gender neutral manner —wearing glasses, dressing in dark clothing and reading— had a greater motivational effect on the students, the study found.

For more, go here. (Thanks, J-Bro!)

Georgia Philosophical Society

A guest post from Shay Welch:

Dear Colleagues,


Let me tell you a story about my interaction with the Georgia Philosophical Society:


I was first introduced to the organization in Fall 2011 by a colleague at a nearby college.  I was invited to attend the Fall semester meeting at Emory University and I decided to go and take my Spelman students so that I could meet local philosophers while introducing my students to professional philosophy. 


When I attended the meeting, all presenters were white males.  Aside from my students, I was the only female member in attendance (there was one female grad student who attended one of the talks).  And aside from undergrad students from HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities), there was only one person of color present, and he was from another state.  As you can imagine, I had quite a bit of explaining to do to my students when we returned to class. 


While I was at the conference, I was approached by one of the committee members and asked if I would be willing to host the Spring 2012 meeting on Spelman’s campus.  I readily agreed.  Yet I did not do so unconditionally.  I made it very clear to the conference organizers that they would have to conduct a representative conference that had a diverse set of presenters.  I explained that Spelman College is an all-women’s HBCU and an all white male set of presenters would be contrary to the College’s mission and contrary to my own position as inclusive philosopher and student role model.  I made it very clear from the beginning that if the program were not diverse, Spelman—via me—would revoke the use of its facilities. 

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