Tuesday, June 21, 2005

gender and the two main democracies in my life

Results are in for this year's American Sociological Association election: Girls 15, Boys 3 (6-0 for the top positions; for the last three elections, the score is 34-16 for all positions and 15-4 for top positions).

Meanwhile, the results for the last congressional election: Boys 369, Girls 66.

Update: See comments.


Anonymous said...

Not that you're keeping score or anything.

So what exactly are you trying to say? That Americans would be much smarter if they elected more women to Congress? Or that sociologists would be greedy, selfish, war-mongering bastards if they elected more men?

jeremy said...

I report, you decide.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, It's sort of hard to take you seriously when you refer to gender as "boys" and "girls." Perhaps you might want to describe why keeping track of female academics' success seems to be worth noting? If the feminization of the academy is somehow a moral or ethical issue to you I'm sure your readers would like to know why. For some of us, it's just a fact of life, not worth noting.

jeremy said...

Anon 4:47pm: If I had some Big Serious Intent, I probably wouldn't have used Girls and Boys. That said...

Numbers I would have liked to include in the post--but couldn't because I couldn't find them--are the proportion of ASA that is female. Does anyone know this?

While somewhere around 60% of doctorates in sociology are awarded to women, that's recent enough crossover that I would presume the overall proportion of women in ASA is such that it isn't very much different from the overall proportion of women in the electorate. As such, it's not an obvious consequence of the "feminization of the academy" in this case that you would have women come to be overwhelmingly elected to leadership posts.

So, Anon 4:47pm, while you can bask in the profound noncuriosity of being someone who sees numbers suggesting an overwhelming overrepresentation of one gender in the highest positions of an organization as "just a fact of life, not worth noting," I personally do think it's interesting, and I'm not going to feel like a Bad Liberal or apologetic for taking note of it.

brady said...

Would it be easier to take Jeremy seriously if he used "Gulls and Buoys"?

I mean, it would for me.

Anonymous said...

How about ladies and germs?

Anonymous said...

or, "men" and "womyn"...

brady said...

As long as it's not "grrrls" and "bois".
I mean, Bikini-Kill is SO 1990s and Avril Lavigne is just horrid.

Anonymous said...

Yes. You are losing weight. Your EYES look bigger.

Peter said...

A while back, it was suggested to me that women have moved into positions of prominence precisely at a moment when power was devolving from elected positions (pres, vp, etc.) to publications committees. Run some numbers on committee on publications, ASR editorial board, I'd be surprised if the proportions favor women DESPITE the fact that women make up something like 60% (I'll assume you're in the ballpark) of the association.

jeremy said...

The ASR Editorial Board, so far as I can tell since being on it, is not governing in any sense. The publications committee has been 3-3 over the last three years. Considering that to be the locus of "real power" in ASA would require a fairly narrow view of what constitutes power in ASA.

I did not mean to say that women were 60% of the membership of ASA. Women are somewhere around 60% of new Ph.D.s. In fact, according to the latest available figures on the ASA website, ASA was 55% male in 2001.

Anonymous said...

ah ha! But the feminization of the academy means exactly what Peter suggested. If the overall prestige of holding an elected position in ASA is lowered by the effects of an increasing female membership we would most likely see more women elected to these positions? No?

However, Peter missed something, in sociology, it's not so much the elected officials of ASA that hold the power as much as those who choose which articles to publish in major journals. Is that what you meant by "ASR editorial board?" And if so, Jeremy, why don't they have much "governing" power? Do only the actual editors do the choosing?

What's the gender breakdown of editorial power-holders? I'm willing to wager it's mostly men and always men and women who graduated from "top schools" (ivies and top-ranked, USNWR). In this case, being educated at a "top school" would help cancel some of the effects of being a woman. Men's status bleeds over even to their female advisees a bit. Anyone got some data?

Peter said...

Well...fair enough. Pub committee's a narrow view of power. Of course, ASA's not like looking at the top slots of, say, Goldman Sachs or something. 'Highest positions in an organization' in a membership organization like ASA is something a bit odd. And what kind of power are we talking about here? Probably not much to begin with, compared to power within a concrete setting of a university, or

The broader interest is, I think, the gender and tipping literature, which suggests that as the discipline becomes perceived as more feminine, men choose not to become sociologists, this filters up to faculty, the prestige and pay drop, etc. I think Paula England has done some of the work on this. I care only because it has produced consternation about the 'direction' of sociology that to me smacks of something icky.

The explanation for the election success, I would guess, had to do with SWS making a concerted effort some years ago to put women into these positions.

Incidentally, the ASA's site notes that there are 8 members on the Committee on Publications:
Christine E. Bose
Daniel B. Cornfield
Troy Duster
Karen Edward, ASA Staff Liaison
Carol Heimer (Chair)
Judith A. Howard
Brian Powell
Franklin D. Wilson
Erik Olin Wright

That'd be 5 boys, 3 girls, and an ASA liaison. I'm fairly sure about Carol being chair, but the rest, I've no idea.

jeremy said...

First, I don't want anything I have written to this point to be taken as suggesting that I don't believe there are important advantages to being male in the academy.

Second, seriously, being on the Editorial Board of a journal does not give you any power over how the journal is run, except that you (may) end up reviewing more articles. There is power in being a Deputy Editor, as then I think you are linked to decisions more directly than just being an ordinary reviewer.

Third, there is power in editorship, although, again, I think focusing exclusively on the journals is a pretty narrow view of the purview of ASA. Which isn't to say that it's unimportant. There are ambiguities with exactly how you would do the accounting of editorships at ASA journals, but, by any accounting, there are presently more males editing journals than females.

jeremy said...

Peter: Thanks for additional info. I was looking at the election results for the last three elections, which is as far back as ASAs press releases online go, which is why I only had the 6 most recently elected members.

In any case, I don't want to seem like I'm making something out of all this that I'm not. What started all this was that I was just struck by the thought that there are two main democracies that I participate in, both of which have roughly equal proportions of male and female voters, and one democracy consistently puts a disproportionate number of men in power and the other democracy seems to have developed a pattern where it elects a disproportionate number of women. I want to be plain that I do NOT mean, and have NOT meant, to be making some kind of insinuation that men are disadvantaged in sociology, that sociology is turning into an old girls network, etc., etc..

Constance said...

Do an equal number of men and women run? I seem to remember something about women(especially in academia), on average, being more "service" oriented.