A reader writes:
Some grad students recently came to me complaining about the gender climate among the grad students. It is the usual sort of thing – the men talk over the women, patronize them, make sexualized jokes, ogle them, etc. I find it totally credible, though I have not witnessed much of it – the grad students do a lot of things independently (reading groups and so on ) and also, I think they are on their best behavior when faculty are around. The department in general is probably average on gender climate. Things are better than they used to be. (It is certainly not the case that the grad students are just modelling what they observe in the faculty). We have tried hard to raise awareness, with fairly regular workshops/sessions on implicit bias, and other issues facing women in philosophy. It is, of course, quite likely that the worst offenders simply don’t show up to these things. Another problem is that turnover for grad students is of course, faster than for faculty – this year’s first years many not have been to any talks on gender, though the events feel fairly regular to me. One thing I think I need to do is make sure that I do something targeted at new students at the start of the academic year.
I’m looking for advice about what to do – both with new students and also about how to intervene with the current cohort. It is very hard to make anything compulsory, though not out of the question. But I am also aware of the need to tread carefully, not to trigger the backlash. Any suggestions welcome!
Put your suggestions in comments!