Gender bias follow-up (5 Feb 2015)

In the 5 February 2015 edition of the Charlatan (link here), Kathleen Saylors wrote, “The Ontario minister for training, colleges, and universities visited Carleton on Feb. 3 to tour new research facilities and learn more about the university. Minister Reza Moridi … also said the university has done an excellent job of specializing itself, making it a leader in the sciences and engineering.” As mentioned in my previous posting, overall Carleton has far fewer female faculty members than do other Canadian universities, and Carleton’s percentage of female faculty members in science and engineering is far lower than our overall 35% female faculty members across all faculties (science, engineering, business, public affairs, and arts & social science, the latter two of which do well with gender equity). Is the minister saying that we are a leader in science and engineering because of our deplorable gender bias? If Carleton really is a provincial leader in science and engineering, then maybe we should welcome a greater diversity of faculty members, especially women in science and engineering. That would constitute genuine leadership.

In response to my 2 February 2015 blog posting, a colleague asked about possible policies for increasing gender diversity (in addition to my earlier suggestion of double-member ridings). The above paragraph suggests another policy option. As part of the differentiation framework, the province imposes various metrics by which to gauge performance of universities. Carleton would get its act together quickly if the ministry made hiring diversity one of those metrics. Measuring gender diversity is trivial, at least if individuals are willing to self-identify gender. For more sophisticated measures of hiring diversity that incorporate Aboriginal status, race, and even people that self-identify as multiple races and/or multiple genders see the following link. Furthermore, not only is this a policy option for the province, but also for Carleton University insofar as each university was given the opportunity by the province to suggest institutional metrics that only apply to themselves. Yes, this would be bitter medicine, but nonetheless, in the long-term, very effective medicine. I encourage readers of this blog to suggest other policy ideas.

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