Sexism in academia

November 17, 2018 by Joshua
in Education

Why are women’s studies and gender studies departments so gender segregated—in particular, female dominated?

I clicked the top few results in a search on “gender studies department.” Nearly every name and image I saw on those pages seemed female.Gender symbols

I then searched on “problems with male dominated fields” and got this post stating, “Male-dominated industries and occupations are particularly vulnerable to reinforcing masculine stereotypes that make it even more difficult for women to excel,” then listing challenges women face in male-dominated fields, harassment, pay gaps, underrepresentation, and so on.

Why would we not expect similar problems in female dominated fields? Are there no problems with women dominating fields?

Incidentally, when I searched for “problems with female dominated fields,” most results still covered problems with male dominated fields.

Are men not interested in fields like gender studies or women’s studies? Asking such questions about women’s interest in STEM fields led to Harvard’s faculty passing a lack of confidence vote against Lawrence Summers, leading to his resignation.

Fixing gender gaps in female dominated fields

If it’s fair to ask if men are not interested in gender studies or women’s studies, should we ask if women might be less interested in engineering then?

Suggestions I’ve seen to move the sex ratio in male dominated fields change the fields, never women, as far as I’ve seen.

Should such suggestions apply to women’s and gender studies?

Should we presume men would be interested if the fields were more appealing to them and therefore change the fields?

Should we see problems in the departments’ lack of diversity and their leadership and members fostering that lack of diversity?

Should we change the fields to appeal to captains of men’s football teams, engineers, and other places with mostly men?

Should we create scholarships and other incentives exclusively to help men to promote men entering those fields?

Are men excluded and harassed in female dominated fields?

Captains of men’s football teams seem interested in women. If they aren’t interested in women’s studies, is there something in women’s studies that makes them uncomfortable? If we should change STEM, should we change women’s studies?

If we did those things and found men still not joining those fields, should we increase the incentives? Should we continue changing them until men join them at 50%?

Could we conclude that women are making men feel uncomfortable or harassing them?

If men never joined those fields at 50%, is there ever a point we could conclude that men aren’t interested in them as much as women are? If so, could we ever conclude women aren’t interested in fields they don’t join in the numbers men do?

Should we change nursing, teaching, and other female dominated fields?

Why almost no men’s studies departments?

When I search for “men’s studies department” almost none return. Why so few?

Are men not as interested in it as much as other pursuits? For that matter, why aren’t women creating such departments? If STEM fields should be 50/50, should all fields also be 50/50?

Possible answers

Is it possible that men and women differ in ways that they like different fields differently. Maybe difference between us go beyond social constructs.

For those who consider differences between genders and sexes social constructs, can you change your interests? Can the women dominating women’s and gender studies departments develop similar passions for STEM fields? Are there meaningful numbers of women doing so?

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