Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gender in the Social Sciences

Progress! This study shows that women are getting more PhDs in the US across all fields compared to 30 years ago.  With the social sciences and education leading the way, but the life scoiences not that far behind and ahead of humanities.  Of course, we should not be surprised since the comparison is to 30 years ago.  Which is forever in terms of gender relations.  Not quite as forever ago as Mad Men's era, but 1979 was the year of 3 Mile Island when nuclear power plants seemed like scary ways to provide electricity.

I found that this news  to be most interesting because I am traveling from a workshop in the English countryside (complete with sheep and very narrow roads) on Adaptation in Afghanistan that was an entirely male crew.  At drinks last night, this oddity was observed, with the Europeans noting that there are far more senior female scholars of International Security/War Studies in the US and Canada than in Europe.  Why?  Not entirely clear but the idea was raised that American security scholars come from political science whereas they are based in War Studies type places in Europe.  I don't know if that is true, but I did notice the discrepancy when the group first met.  I tend to find myself chatting with female security/conflict folks at North American meetings much of the time since the younger folks are doing lots of interesting work, and the gender balance is pretty balanced (as far as I can anecdotally observe). 

I would be curious to see the same figure up above for various European countries, but my guess is that, except for Scandinavia (the new Danish Prime Minister is female), the Europeans are behind North America. 

In related unrelated news, Australia will now be allowing women to serve in combat, including in Special Operations Forces, joining the Israel, Canada and New Zealand. 

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