And the years just fell away

Two events last week seemed to come at me from the past. They could have occurred five years ago, or even 10 or 20 years ago. I did not, however, feel a burst of youth. Rather, I felt a real sadness for all of us who had once found such things common.

One was a lecture at the Jowett Society at Oxford and the other an emailed notice. The lecture itself itself was given by Jennifer Lackey. It was terrific. In fact, I wanted to raise an issue. Indeed, I put my hand up. And then someone else was called on. When that discussion was over, I put my hand up again. And then again. For 50 min my arm was straight up whenever there was a pause for a question. I was incredulous.  I might as well have been invisible.  I finally spoke out.

The other event was earlier. The other event was the CFP for this conference.

SCIENTISM AND CONSCIOUSNESS
A Conference at Keele University, UK, 27-28th June 2017

Keynote Speakers
Philip Goff • John Cottingham • James Tartaglia • Keith Frankish • Christopher Norris

Five male speakers and no female speakers. I was incredulous, and indeed kept rereading the list to spot my mistake.

Well, one good thing: Jennifer Lackey’s sterling performance was a great example of why and how we benefit when women can speak.

Social Class, Gender, and Bias

A new study on law school internship hiring has yielded interesting and dismaying results regarding the influence of both social class and gender on hiring. A c.v. study found that call back rates for men track class indicators, with men having c.v.s indicating lower class origins markedly disfavored relative to men with markers for higher class origins. The beneficial effects of higher class origins disappear for women, however, and women with markers for higher class origins received the lower callback rates than their lower class peers. A follow up study suggests that these women were perceived as the greatest “flight risk”:

Attorneys cited “family” as a primary reason these women would leave. Parenting strategies vary between social classes, and the intensive style of mothering that is more popular among the affluent was seen as conflicting with the “all or nothing” nature of work as a Big Law associate. One female attorney we interviewed described this negative view of higher-class women, which she observed while working on her firm’s hiring committee. The perception, she said, was that higher-class women do not need a job because they “have enough money,” are “married to somebody rich,” or are “going to end up being a helicopter mom.” This commitment penalty that higher-class women faced negated any advantages they received on account of their social class.

The study itself is disturbing in multiple ways, not least because the class penalties emerge in response to what would otherwise be laudatory information (e.g., working as a peer-mentor for first generation college students) or benign information (e.g., liking country music or sports with low cost). Moreover, the benefits accrued to higher class men relative to both women and their lower class male peers were dramatic: The higher class man “had a callback rate more than four times of other applicants and received more invitations to interview than all other applicants in our study combined.”