May 29, 2008

Sexism in the labor market

A recent news item in Nature about sexism among physicists sparked a lively debate in its comments section - with nasty words such as "male chauvinist pig", "fool", "idiot", and worse flying around. One of the participants, Christine Nattrass, argued convincingly that "graduate admissions committees, people hiring post docs, and people on faculty search committees are, on average, not hiring the most qualified applicants" but are male-biased. She then asks "how are we going to fix this?" Maybe there is no cost-effective way to "fix" this bias. If there is, I have the most straightforward mechanism to achieve it. Turn universities into private for-profit enterprises. Greed rules over bias.

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