American novelists are dudes, according to wikipedia

From a recent NY Times Op-Ed:


I JUST noticed something strange on Wikipedia. It appears that gradually, over time, editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. So far, female authors whose last names begin with A or B have been most affected, although many others have, too.


Apparently, women novelists from the original list are being moved systematically (in alphabetical order) to the “American Women Novelists” category. An explanation at the top of the “American Novelists” explains that the main list of novelists was getting too long, and so as many names as possible are being moved to subcategories. Naturally, prominent male novelists are also being moved off the main list and onto the “American Man Novelists” category, and the original list has been left only with those who reject a binary gender identification. Except ha, no, of course not.

Because, of course, if the likes of Jane Austen, George Eliot, Emily Bronte, Willa Cather, and Harper Lee taught us anything, it’s that women will forever be second-rate, subcategory-only novelists.

[Thanks for the tip, S!]

Sometimes you win one

It was many years ago– not even sure how many– that I found out about Sheffield’s wonderful WARP programme, which provides funding to help restart the research careers of women returning from maternity leave. It was a little later that I learned this was only for women in STEM. And it has been every opportunity since then that I have been a broken record, arguing for the extension of this outside STEM subjects. And guess what? It’s finally happening!!

A small happy dance ensues.

Next step: extending it beyond women.

Ethics in Academia by May 1

Deadline approaches:

The Society for Moral Inquiry invites proposals for our session on Ethics and Academia at the 2013 Eastern Division APA meeting in Baltimore, MD, December 27‑30, 2013.  Papers might address topics such as the obligations of university faculty and administration; the ethical aspects of teaching at the college level; ethical issues related to gender, race, or disability in academia; and general issues related to scholarship. The three hour session will comprise three 30 minute presentations with discussion period. Submissions should be prepared for blind review and emailed to both Chris Herrera (Chris… and Alexandra Perry ( by May 1st, 2013.

The Society for Moral Inquiry (SMI) was founded in 2009 to advance academic research on ethical problems, and to improve understanding of how that research might contribute to discussions of social policy. SMI is devoted to the belief that public engagement with philosophy can inform debates about values in areas such as medicine, science, sport, law, and social policy. The Society hosts scholarly conferences on ethics, awards fellowships for early-career scholars, and edits both Theoretical & Applied Ethics, a peer‑reviewed journal published by The University of Nebraska Press, and Studies in Theoretical & Applied Ethics, a book series published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

For more information, see here.

Reader query on Climate: immediate interventions

I’ve had a reader query about toxic climate that I wanted to pass on.  There are a lot of quite horrendous problems in her department.  There are also actions being taken to do something about them– a climate survey being analyses, concerned senior faculty speaking up, speakers on climate issues being booked in. But all of these things will take time to have an effect.  Is there anything that can be done to help those who are suffering in the short-term?  I have suggested getting those who are trying to fix things together to provide support for each other.  Perhaps also holding some women-only social gatherings.  What else?

Women’s Studies Conference in Cuba

Women in the XXIth century
IX International Conference

Havana Riviera Hotel

Havana, Cuba, November 25 to28, 2013

First Call

The Women’s Studies Department at the University of Havana calls for the IX International Conference “ Women in the XXIth century”, which will take place in Havana from November 25 to 28, 2013.

The overall purpose of this conference is to facilitate academic exchange, update and assessment of what scholars and students are doing on issues related to feminism, gender, women’s studies, collaborations with women and the contemporary women and feminist movement.


–       Encourage a dialogue and exchange of experiences in related topics among experts and researchers from diverse scientific disciplines and perspectives.
–       Promote the results of scientific research and studies on women’s issues and to encourage further works and exchanges in the field
–       Facilitate the exposure to information on the collaboration and work with women and the contemporary women and feminist movement

Scientific Program.

The sessions will be divided into panels, roundtable discussions, and individual papers.


Languages: the papers can be submitted and presented in Spanish and/ or English


There will be a pre- registration by:

•       Submitting an abstract or summary (200 words maximum) and the contact info that will include: title, name(s) of author(s), email contact and the Institution of affiliation via mail or personally by September 15, 2013.
•       Emailing (Microsoft word attachment) or delivering to our office by October 30, the full text with the contact info, session in which to present the work (individual, roundtable or panel) and whether visual supports to use during the session are needed. The format of the paper is Arial 12 font with double spacing.

CUBATUR Eventos ha diseñado un paquete turístico que incluye:

– Alojamiento diario con desayuno incluido
– Traslado Aeropuerto – Hotel – Aeropuerto
– Asistencia en aeropuerto y hoteles



Habana Riviera  40.00   59.00

Registration costs100 CUC (120 USD)

The registration fee will be paid in cash at the moment of registration on November 25th in the morning hours directly at the accreditation office of the conference at the school of Psychology in the University of Havana located at San Rafael corner of Mazon, Plaza municipality, Havana (near the university)

Please contact Dr Norma Vasallo, president of the organizing committee, if you are interested in attending the conference or for more information by :
Telephone: (537) 8783450
Postal address:
Cátedra de la Mujer
Universidad de La Habana
San Rafael 1168 esq. Mazón
Plaza, Ciudad Habana CP10400

Striking workers will lose benefits

Folks in the UK who earn less than £13,000 a year are entitled to benefits to top up their income. If their salary decreases, the benefits correspondingly increase to keep people on a reasonable wage. This has meant that if such workers go on strike, the loss of earnings was compensated in the form of benefits. Now, however, Iain Duncan Smith has decreed that this will no longer happen under the Universal Credit system next year. Low income folks who go on strike will lose both their earnings and their benefits whilst striking, which, of course, means that there is pressure on the lowest paid workers in the UK not to strike, making it harder for them to improve their lot.

Media Darlings offers the following analysis:

Our hypothetical prospective picketer earns the upper limit of £13,000 a year and is employed in a single full-time job somewhere in the economic hub that is London, nine-to-five, Monday to Friday… That’s a take-home pay of just £6.25 an hour, or £218 a week after tax. Assuming again that they have no dependents to worry about, under universal credit that means a budget of £225 a week to cover rent, travel, fuel, groceries and all the rest of it. £6.25 an hour is coincidentally the same amount the cleaners at Buckingham Palace were taking home before the civil servants’ PCS union led a campaign demanding the London living wage of £8.30 an hour. Public pressure over the royal wedding and looming jubilee forced the Queen’s contractors to buckle, conceding a rate of £7.50.

But imagine how the union branch in Buckingham would have fared under Duncan Smith’s diktat: for the worker we dreamt up earlier, a vote to strike would have meant losing £45 from their weekly budget for every day spent on the picket lines. That’s 20 percent of a household budget that is already barely scraping past the national poverty line.

And who is our cleaner, so improbably reliant on these benefits? Roughly ten percent of the entire UK workforce.

As I write this, I am mindful of a conversation I had with a reader on an earlier post highlighting welfare reform in the UK. It’s true that folks in the UK are amongst some of the richest in the world, and there might be something problematic about describing people here as living in poverty. I can’t work out exactly what to think about that issue.

But the problem with what’s going on in the UK at the moment is that (i) these measures increase the gap between the richest and the poorest in the UK; (ii) they make things harder for the poorer people in our society, whilst making things easier for the richer folks; (iii) being poor in the UK is not comparable to being amongst the global poor, but this doesn’t negate the fact that it’s difficult, stressful, has a negative impact on one’s health, and so on; (iv) these are measures dreamt up by a group of largely (male) millionaires, and as such, really have no idea what it’s like for the people whose lives are affected by their decisions. And that seems rather despicable. No doubt there are other reasons why this is problematic too. But now I must return to preparing lectures…

You can read more from the Telegraph here.