Hierarchy and Gender in Political Science
by Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham and Wendy H. Wong
In a recent blog post, Macartan Humphreys candidly reveals a critical part of how discrimination can happen – a lack of awareness. It’s hard for those who do not get discriminated against to see discrimination, especially when it isn’t overt and obvious. Humphreys walks us through several telling examples from his life where he wasn’t aware of such issues, and then did not know quite what to do with newfound awareness of gender inequities, discrimination, and the frustration around such problems. We appreciate Humphreys’ openness, both in actively seeing these dynamics and work and in acknowledging his participation in them.
Yet, his blog post brings to the fore other concerns, namely hierarchy within the profession (its correlation with gender, we are already familiar with) and why we need to start thinking about discrimination, inequities, and frustration not just as a problem particular to certain women we know and sympathize with, but as something that needs to be tackled with general policy and practice change. It’s not enough that a conscientious few (or even many) try to anticipate the ways in which they might mess up and then try to prevent themselves from messing up, it’s that we need to transform our environment in ways that prevent harassment, promote collegiality, and that make balancing a productive career and family not such a harrowing experience for female and male academics. Such a transformation is not only about helping women, it’s about creating a culture of engagement and innovation that benefits the entire field.
Read the full blog post on the Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession website.