Women and tenure at Harvard

Harvard Magazine reports this month that "In 'Tenure and Gender' (January-February, page 64) we reported that there are women ladder-faculty in Harvard's mathematics department. That was incorrect. There are men and women ranked as junior faculty members, but the department does not operate a 'ladder' up which assistant professors ascend toward tenure."

Could it be that this is itself part of the problem? Not to sound self-serving or anything, but could it be, perhaps, that the way for departments to have closer-to-equal representation at higher levels is to tenure their own junior faculty? Instead, Harvard's departments conduct international searches in order to seek out "the best" in the field. How do they do this? They ask the most senior people in the field who the best midcareer people are. Who are the most senior people? Almost invariably, for generational reasons, men--and not just any men, but men who got their PhDs when women were still officially second- or third-class citizens in academia.


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