Statement on CU-Boulder

H/T Daily Nous, Carol Cleland, Alison Jaggar, Mi-Kyoung Lee, Claudia Mills, from CU Boulder have published a statement in the Daily Camera:

We are the tenured women professors, and a professor emerita, in the philosophy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Over the years, students and faculty in our department, mostly but not only women, have made numerous complaints about unprofessional behavior by certain members of the department.

Many of the complaints focused on sexual misconduct, but others included violations of harassment policy, including its anti-retaliation clause, and violations of the amorous relations policy. On its own, the department was unable to deal with these complaints — many of which were not formally reported because of fears of retaliation; in any case, by university and state regulations, professors are prohibited from undertaking investigations and sanctions on their own.

For this reason, we, and many of our colleagues, are grateful both to Andy Cowell, our external chair, as well as to the CU-Boulder administration, for taking strong and decisive action to investigate wrongdoing, for committing significant resources to punish those found in violation of university regulations, and for investing in the future of our department. Although the process has been and continues to be painful, we believe that the outcome will be positive.

We are in the process of stopping behavior that was harmful, especially to the women students and faculty in our department, and we are taking steps to make sure that in the future, such problems either will be prevented or, if they occur, will be addressed quickly and effectively. Although these measures may have temporarily damaged the reputation of our department in some quarters, we are confident that we can rebuild on stronger foundations.

We intend to repudiate a secret culture of misbehavior and to win back the confidence of prospective students and faculty on the basis of hard-won achievements with respect to the climate as well as the commitment of a solid core of faculty members to an inclusive and welcoming work environment for all.


Gender Bias in Technology

The Atlantic published an article this week about issues of gender bias in technology. Check it out here.

“[…] Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi bragged that the app [Apple Health] would let users “monitor all of your metrics that you’re most interested in. As promised, Health is a powerful app. It allows users to track everything from calories to electrodermal activity to heart rate to blood alcohol content to respiratory rate to daily intake of chromium. But there’s a notable exception. Apple Health doesn’t track menstruation, an omission that was quickly seized upon by many tech writers as, well, ridiculous.”

The article frames all of this as bias against women. While there is lots of bias against women and female bodies in technology, I want to qualify that at least some of this bias is I think more accurately bias against bodies that do not conform to (culturally ideal) male bodies.

As a point to consider, not everyone who experiences menstruation is a woman, and not all women have experienced menstruation. It is absolutely true, however, that our dominant cultural norms do not take menstruation to be a process of the (ideal) male body. Therefore, leaving out menstruation affects people of various genders whose body does not conform to what we tout as the ‘normal’ male body, which includes many women.

CFP: Intersectionality, Work and Gender (Journal)

Volume 9 No 2 of Work Organisation, Labour & Globalisation will be a special themed issue on Intersectionality, Work and Globalisation.

The paradigm of intersectionality developed by race relations activists and feminist theorists has been popularised beyond institutional frontiers and these important developments have produced significant insights alongside single equality strands such as gender, age, race, class, sexuality (Tomlinson, 2013). McCall has claimed that intersectionality is ‘the most important theoretical contribution that Women’s Studies in conjunction with related fields, has made so far’ (2005: 1771). Indeed, intersectionality provides a methodological framework that contributes to capturing aspects of complex historical contexts, and some of the multiple dimensions of experiences of marginalisation, and has led to important research on identity and power (Yuval-Davies, 1997, 2006, 2011; Choo en Ferree, 2010; Lykke 2011). Social class, age, race, gender and sexuality are aspects of power relationships, which are embodied in patterns of social inequalities that involve forms of exclusion and inclusion (Verloo, 2013). Moreover, both coercion and consent are actions that can sustain or challenge these inequalities. The formation and exercise of power is central in all these dimensions. However the concept of intersectionality has also been criticised for leading to a focus on ‘identity politics’ and a fracturing of solidarities.
Women play a pivotal role in the global value chain as both producers and consumers. Although women’s work in the value chain in the less developed countries is often under-valued and tends to be at the lower end of the chain, paradoxically, it can offer opportunities for gainful employment, skills development and emancipation. Nonetheless it is clear that women in different countries have different experiences of the value chain. However, in the main, much of the work on the intersections of gender with other strands in relation to work and work organisations has focused on women in developed countries. Secondly, extant research on intersectionality in emergent or developing countries and economies has focused on geography (e.g. Valentine, 2008) or development studies that engage with gender equity in education, poverty alleviation, health and citizenship. With few exceptions, the intersectional literature to date has failed to explore the similarities and differences in the work experiences of women in different areas of the developing world. For example what are the work and employment experiences of women in rural Pakistan compared to their counterparts in Ghana? Also to what extent are there comparison and complementarities between female software workers in India and those in Ukraine?
This special edition welcomes papers that address the work and career experiences of women in developing countries, who work within global value chains from an intersectional perspective. Papers are invited that contribute to the evaluation of the interface between different intersections of women’s working lives within these chains. It welcomes papers that consider the relationships between structure and agency in the working lives of these women and their access to material and social resources including, social, cultural and economic capitals, and constraints and enablement. Papers will also be welcomed that focus on regulatory frameworks at the structural, as well as the institutional/organisational levels that impact the global labour market experiences of these women. Whilst the main focus of the issue is on women in developing economies, papers will also be considered that compare their situations to those in developed countries or examine complementarities and interdependencies at an international level.
We welcome:
• Empirical studies of the work and career experiences of women in global value chains in Latin American, African and South East Asian countries.
• Theoretical papers that critically assess the contributions of intersectionality to understanding the gendered character of the new global division of labour
• Analyses of similarities and differences in the work/career experiences of women and men, as well as among women of different classes, ethnicities, locations and other demographic variables across global value chains.
• Analyses of the impact of the intersection of gender with other social structures (e.g. religion, class, culture, sexuality, disability and age on the work/career experiences of women in these countries.
• Studies of the impacts of legislative interventions/frameworks and organisational support on women’s experiences of work in global value chains.

Submission guidelines can be found here.
This issue will be edited by:
Dr. Cynthia Forson, University of Hertfordshire, contact
Dr Natalia Rocha-Lawton, University of Coventry contact
Dr Moira Calveley, University of Hertfordshire contact
The editors are happy to discuss abstracts prior to submission.
Please submit to the editor contact by February 22nd, 2015


Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation is an independent, international inter-disciplinary peer-reviewed journal, founded in 2006. From January 2015, it will be published by Pluto Journals with online distribution by JSTOR.

More information about the aims of the journal, its editorial board and the contents of past issues is available at Until December 31st, 2014, journal content can still be accessed online here