The Dean of our College sent our Mathematics department an email to let us know that a STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) workshop will take place, and he highly recommending that anyone on a hiring committee go to it. He called for a composition of the faculty to be reflective of society at large. “For example, ideally the Math department would be 50% women. As an intermediate goal I’d like to see the composition of our faculty reflect the composition of PhD recipients in each department in the college. For the Math department this would mean ~32% women according to the AMS”. Here is one of the responses from one of the faculty members (with names removed).
Let me take the liberty to add my two pennies.
First of all to make this clear. I am absolutely for involving women in mathematics. Here is some background
I supervise a female undergraduate student of xxx origin. What could be better for diversity? She got a WIM stipend last year. And the first place on a student exhibition for the project she is doing under my supervision. She came to xxx this August to continue her work with me on her project before a busy semester starts. I covered her travel from my funds.
I had several female PhD and Master students.
I collaborate and discuss mathematics with quite a few female mathematicians including xxx , xxx, (who came to xxx by my invitation a couple years ago to work with
xxx and me), xxx and many others.
If you ask my opinion, the best candidate for the next chair of our department would be xxx. Even though she … I would be happy to work under her leadership.
I wrote this to indicate that I am not at all biased. Having said that I am sorry to say that the goal figure of 50% IMHO is absolutely unreasonable. Men and women are different. Women give birth to our kids and almost always take more time for taking care of them than men. I hardly can imagine a boxing match on Olympics with a man agains a women. If this happened, if near from there, walking with my cane, I would run there to protect the lady. I would.
My understanding of the term “equal opportunity” consists of two contradictory goals which somehow should be combined for coexist.
–There should be no difference in our attitude towards women and men, Black, Indian, Mexican, Hispanic and so on.
— On the other hand, we need to take into account that some of them had less opportunities, and we want to give them more opportunities to realize their potential.
This is a hard task.
In my family, both parents of mine were brilliant mathematicians. When my younger brother was born, it became clear that two parent entirely dedicated to Mathematics can not take reasonable care of the kids.
They decided that my mother gived up her position at xxx Institute and switched to a teaching position at xxx University. She was a great teacher. When xxx received (one of) his latest prizes, in his celebrating speech, in the first sentence he said first that without her he doubts he would become a mathematician. After my mom retired in xxx, she taught for xxx for two years.
If one likes numbers (as a mathematician, I hate them), I still would not like to look at %% at xxx. Better look at publications in the Annals.
My wife xxx, an M.D., does not work as a doctor. She takes care of our daughters. She is essentially a co–author of my mathematical work, my paintings, literature.
Setting a specific goal of 38% or 50% – I don`t like this. This seems unreasonable to me. Moving in this direction -– I like this a lot.