The University of Colorado at Boulder announced last week it would implement leadership change in its philosophy department in order to affect a cultural shift making the department “less hostile to women,” an article in Inside Higher Ed stated.
The article stated that an external report found women were often the victim of harassment, lewd gazes and uncomfortable email exchanges, calling the behaviors “divisive” and “uncivil.”
This announcement seems shocking given the context.
One would think in the world of academia, where individuals are at the highest levels of educational work, the gender disparities would be at their smallest.
Yet this incident is an alarming one that doesn’t stand in isolation, and points to the fact that the glass ceiling in academia may not exactly be as shattered, or as close to shattered, as one may have thought, despite several women leading major universities.
Nitin Nohria issued an atypical announcement for a dean: he issued an apology to the female alumni and current employees of the school for the times they had been “disrespected, left out, and unloved by the school. …The school owed you better, and I promise it will be better,” according to Business Insider. This announcement followed an in-depth New York Times article, written last fall, which highlighted several disparities in the representation of female students and faculty members., Harvard Business School Dean
But even at other levels of academia, the struggle manifests itself in different ways.
According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education published last week, less than 40 percent of head coaches for women’s athletics teams were women.
Another study from December, also published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, found that academic articles written by women are cited less frequently than other research articles.
These events in isolation seem out of place, and one-offs, but together they paint the picture of a fairly rigid culture that, despite being perhaps the most progressive and open-minded field to enter, still has much room to grow until gender equality is reached.