University of York marks International Men’s Day. Sigh.

I am not one of those feminists who thinks it’s always wrong to talk about ways that men unjustly treated in our society. I think patriarchy causes injustice for many groups, including men, and that these are intertwined. For example, men have far less support (both social and institutional) for taking career breaks to do caregiving. This harms people of all genders, as well as anyone in need of care. Men who defy gender norms face sanctions– again a part of the general harms of strictly enforced gender norms. We should, as feminists, talk about these things and do something about them.

But it’s thoroughly unhelpful for a University’s Equality and Diversity Committee to put up a website blithely announcing that “In academic staff appointments, the data suggests that female candidates have a higher chance of being appointed than men.” There is, it is true, a rather controversial study which has been wrongly reported as establishing this. (Michael Brownstein discussed it here.) There are also masses of studies arguing the opposite. To toss this in as if it’s established, and in such a way as to suggest the people whose progress we should now worry about are men, is grossly irresponsible in the face of numbers showing that women are still massively underrepresented.  (There is a note at the end saying that obviously women should be the main focus, but since it’s already been claimed that women now have an easier ride in academic appointments, this rings hollow and sounds pro forma.) One wonders if they will soon be withdrawing from Athena SWAN.

By all means, let’s talk about the ways that patriarchy harms everyone. That’s good stuff, and we need to over turn the stranglehold of gender roles on men in order to achieve gender justice. But statements like York’s are very counterproductive. One expects better from an Equality and Diversity Committee.

UPDATE: Here is the open letter signed by York staff and students.

Maria Lugones, Distinguished Woman Philosopher

If you’re like me, you are probably shocked to learn that Maria Lugones had not yet received this honour. But now she has! And she will be honoured at the Central APA, due to a scheduling conflict with the Eastern.

Central APA meeting*:

Wednesday, March 02, 2016 7:00 PM-10:00 PM
Palmer House Hilton, 17 East Monroe St., Chicago Illinois

Panel info:
Speaker: Alison Bailey (Illinois State University)
Speaker: Shireen Roshanravan (Kansas State University)
Speaker: Christine Keating (Ohio State University)
Speaker: Ernesto Martinez (University of Oregon)

Commentator: María Lugones (Binghamton University)

A dreadful night for Paris, a good night to help refugees

Many of us are concerned tonight for friends, family, students and colleagues in Paris. If you wish you could help, then here is a suggestion: Note the immediate interest on the part of some powerful actors to close borders and prevent refugees from moving, and consider helping those refugees. France’s leaders are already stating their intention to respond to these attacks. I’m no politician and I don’t know what nations should do, but I know that some refugees are in Europe now because they were trying to flee deadly attacks like those in Paris. Don’t let tonight be a night that hardens hearts against refugees. Let tonight be a reason to reach out.

Edited to add: If you don’t know to whom to give, here’s Charity Navigator’s site rating different helping groups.