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April 12, 1970 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-04-12
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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4._

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Women

as

University

nigger

"Departments will admit male
studenis who are less likely
to drop out and have babies."

Or, how a young female student
sought sexual justice at the 'U'
and couldn't find it anywhere.

By KATHLEEN SHORTRIDGE
You won't find "sexism"in the dictionary, but
if you did, the definition would read like this:
sexism-n. 1. a belief that the human sexes
have distinctive make-ups that determine
their respective lives, usually involving the
idea that one sex is superior and has the right
to rule the other. 2. a policy of enforcing such
asserted right. 3. a system of government
and society based upon it. sexist, n., adj.
'U': A sexist institution
"You shouldn't be too harsh in judging the
University for discriminating against women,"
more than one administrator has told me. "After
all, our whole culture has that orientation, and
practical reasons exist for it."
I'll grant -the university reflects cultural
attitudes; it also perpetuates and helps form
them. Practical reasons help explain sex-
ism, but don't excuse it. Most people don't realize
that a locker room mentality pervades the Uni-
versity, so the first step in changing discrimina-
tory policies is to show they exist.
The academic crunch
I've spent seven or eight terms at the Uni-
versity' now, and once I took a course from a
woman. I don't imagine my experience is unique.
Almost anyone might run into an occasional
female professor, but in most courses of study, the
experience won't be common. This fact may yet
land the University in a law suit. Executive Order
11246 (as amended by Executive Order 11375)
prohibits job discrimination on the basis of sex,
and specifically forbids discrimination by federal
contractors because of sex. Violation of this
order could theoretically result in cancelled gov-
ernment contracts, a threat which might make
most university administrators eager to mend
their ways.
Now they are not so eager. A political sci-
ence professor told me, "We considered hiring a
woman, but in the crunch it came down to 'Do
we really want to do this to the department?'"
Not many professors show such impolitic candor.
Actually, however, I didn't have to trace down the
rationale behind 5,000 academic appointment
decisions to find grounds for suspecting sex dis-
crim ination. The University' person e eords,
summarized by the Office of the Vice-President
for Academic Affairs -in the following table, do
the job.

Considering all the staff with professorial
rank-categories I, II, and 111-4.8 per cent are
women. That means if you take 20 courses, the
law of averages would give you one wdonan
professor. Upon graduation, the average student
would have had two courses taught by women
professors.
If you're concerned with tenured academic
staff (which means better pay, more prestige,
and job security),, look at the full and associate
professor categories. Women make up only 6.5
per cent of the tenured faculty.
For the most disturbing piece of evidence
on the chart, take a look at the assistant pro-
fessor category, III. While I was researching
sexism at the University, a lot of people told me
that bad as things may be for academic women,
at least they're getting better. That's not so, ac-
cording to category III. Most newly-hired faculty
usually hold assistant professorships. They don't
have tenure, and they have ordinarily been
around the profession for only a few years. Ap-
parently, then only a miniscule proportion of new
professors have been women-1.2 per cent. The
current trend seems to be getting worse.
Whenever I suggest these statistics demon-
strate a pattern of sexism, I get braced for the
rejoinder, "So what do you want? Fifty-one per-
cent women professors? Maybe you don't know
there .aren't too many female Ph.D's." Granted,
I've even looked up a few facts to see how scarce
women with Ph.D.'s. really are.
Women comprised a little over 11 per cent of
the Ph.D's produced in the United States in the
last decade. According to the National Academy
of Sciences, while only two-thirds of the men
with doctorates go to work for educational insti-
'tutions, four-fifths of the women do. (most
women get degrees in the arts and social sci-
ences, not the scientific doctorates which gov-
ernment and industry snatch up). So women
actually make up a disproportionately large (?)

13.3 per cent of the pool of Ph.D's available for
professorial teaching.
How does the University of Michigan stack
up against the national picture?
Judging by the 4.8 per cent women in full,
associate and assistant professor categories--
badly.
Lowlier categories
Don't take'the 40 per cent women in the
instructor category too seriously. Most of them
hold dead-end jobs-because departments, notes
Charles M. Allmand, assistant to the vice presi-
dent for academic affairs, hire instructors only
rarely. Instructors are teaching personnel w h o
don't have doctorates, and who don't expect to
get them. The medical aid areas-nursing, physi-
cal therapy, and so on-account for many of
these instructresships. Few of those 108 women
will ever be considered for professorial rank.
You don't even find many women at the very
bottom of the academic pecking order, in the
teaching fellows category-although proportion-
ally, they do all right. Teaching fellows are doc-
torate students who do a little class work to earn
their keep-and while only 20 per cent of Rack-
ham students working for Ph.D's are women, a
disproportionate 25 per cent of all teaching fel-
lows are. Is this because women are especially in-
terested in teaching (compared to men they are.
In the education school women outnumber men
almost two to one)? Or-for suspicious minds-
because women can't get money from the cushier
research fellowships?
No one in the administration could give me
the answer. The office of the vice president for
academic affairs told me the University doesn't
have much information on teaching fellows. Even
the teaching fellows union couldn't provide an
answer from its spotty records.
I suppose each department must search its
records and its soul to find the solution.
On top of other obstacles, the University's'

Continued from Page 5
equity influenced -the Admissions Committee.
"Half the population is men, so it should be that
way in the freshman class," he said.
What extraordinary zeal for fairness! It
certainly doesn't extend to the University as a
whole, where men outnumber women, in all pro-
grams, 26,700 to 16,900 (1968-1969 figures.) And
I'm sorry to say this sense of equity does not exist
in the nation: In fall, 1969, 976,000 male freshmen
entered college, as compared to 753,000 women.
Perhaps we should take pride in the fact that
here, at the U-M, concern with equity does exist,
and politely overlook the fact that the freshman
class is not 50 per cent men, but rather 55 per
cent.
" Finally, Dr. MilholIand said "Men need the
education more. They're more likely to go into.
jobs that require a college education. They're
the breadwinners."
The idea that women need less education re-
presents not a cosmic truth but a sexist position
which the University reinforces with its admis-
sions policy. Companies (like the Dow Chemical
Corp.) confronted with accusations of sex dis-
crimination reply that they'd like to hire more
women but can't find women with sufficient
training. Thus the University policy forms a link
in a vicious circle: the University educates less
women because society says they don't need the
jobs, and companies won't hire women because
the University won't educate them.
This does not mean that women don't work
-over 30 million American women do hold jobs,
and the number is increasing. But it does mean
women are doomed to dull secretarial and serv-
ice jobs which pay them only 58 per cent of
salaries the men get.
Brighter spots
I don't want to paint too bleak a picture of
the university, however. Some branches are rath-
er open to women's interests and concerns. For
example, the Placement Service tries conscien-
tiously to -apply the federal non-discrimination
laws. Recruiters can't specify sex preferences.
In fact, however, the Placement Service has
little control over discriminatory hiring. Unless
recruiters show extremely overt discriminatory
attitudes, leading a student to file a complaint-
as was the case with a Wall Street law firm
at the Law School recently-Placement can't
do much.
I didn't find any problems with discrimina-
tion in financial aids. According to Mr. R. M.
Brown, director in charge of undergraduate fin-
ancial aids, "Scholarships are handed out on the
basis of a 'modest but adequate income' form-
ula. Men and women receive the same treatment,
and the same goes with loans.
"The only difference is,the formula expects
men to contribute slightly m'ore to their' own edu-
cation, since they can generally get better pay-
ing summer jobs. We expect them to get $100
more than women in the summer," said Brown.
Everything becomes more complicated on the
graduate level. The individual schools make most
of the admissions and aid decisions,. so there
is no central control. As a result, says Dean By-
ron. Groesbeck, Rackham has no figures on how
many women apply for financial aids, who is
getting the money and why.
As an index however, I compared the suc-
cess of women in the $4,000 Rackham Prize
competition with their representation in eah
department. Women did startingly well. The-
prestigious and lucrative Rackham grants go to
students pursuing doctorates in the humanities

and social sciences. Each department may nom-
inate a certain number of students, depending
on the size of the department, and a committee
of professors from various departments then de-
cides which nominees receive the prizes. Women
comprise 26.8 per cent of the enrollment in de-
partments making nominations last year and
received 32.5 per cent of the nominations.
Of the prizes, 30 per cent went to women--
still more than their representation in these de-
partments would suggest.
If the Rackham prizes represent the financ-
ial treatment graduate women receive, sexism
doesn't seem to pose much of a problem. I've
thought of several explanations for the good
showing women make. Perhaps there is discrim-
ination against men-though I have yet to docu-
ment a complaint. Or perhaps, by the time you
reach the upper reaches of studentdom, the
women who are still in there are unusually well-
qualified. That's how Mr. Dwight E. Durner, as-
sistant to the dean of graduate fellowships, ex-
plained it to me: "I've met a lot of these women,
and they're qualified, serious scholars. They're
aggressive. They're hustlers. And they're doing
very well as far as research grants go."
The grim ibi picture
The total outlook of women in the University
still looks bleak, however, since universities are
entering an economic slump. Just about every-
one I chatted with-in Financial aids, in Ad-
missions, in Personnel-admitted that "the last
hired, first fired" maxim applies to women. As
Barbara Newell, acting vice president for student
affairs put it, "Women are traditionally marginal
workers. They're hired with soft money grants,
(as opposed to appropriations, whose source can-
not be depended on from year to year) and
they're non-tenured. As research funds get cut
back, there will be a disproportionate loss of
women."
The fund cutback, coupled with an increas-
ed turnout of Ph.D's in recent years, has result-
ed in a surplus of people with doctorates. In
normal times colleges are more likely to hire men
and women-so imagine a period like now, when
"it's hard to place anybody," according to Grace
Oerther of the Placement Service.
And finally, as departments get less money,
they'll probably admit male students "who are
more likely to finish, less likely to drop out and
have babies," according to Dr. Groesbeck.
Barbara Newell is
the on-lytoplevel
administrator
in the Big 10.-

Other trends b
demics. Women's co
number of women P
coed, a job market
dries up. And since
new women have b
fessors in recent y
moving up to better :
Women interest
not be too optimistii
post, which usd tc
women in the upper
tive hierarchy, has
was the first woma
ministrator in the B
among major univ
field hasn't exactly
On the other hand
somewhat demeani
might aspire to the
"That job is becomi:
the academic and .
position are droppin
"Now you see more
What is to I
Bleak patches
of women in the
versity committmei
portunities might
abuses of the pas
ones. Compliance w
be a nice beginning
federal ruling, "the
tion in employmen
considered on the
ties and not on c
buted to a group."
The University
action program ge
seling women stud
professionals - 1
and Chicago univer
For enabling w+
tial poses enormou
couraged from chi]
most solely as b
Parents, teachers,
courage them fron
bitious girls who
discriminatory adr
enter college, wom
preventing them fi
yers, doctors-or pi
Everywhere, sc
what psychology p
"the motive to avoi
Sociologist Da
alysis further.
Even very
women are satisi
uation they wi
positions . . . wh
advanced to re
throttling down
college and later
vicious circle, al
preciate women
achievement.
Clearly it's g
policy statement a
barriers for the Ur
ingrained social
barriers will be a c
it comes to recog
human beings, the
start.

"Dream of the
young girl"-
according to a
LSA Bldg. plaque.

I. Full
Prof.

II. Assoc.
Prof.

III. Asst.
Prof.

Total 1268 620 850
Men 1214 553 840
Women 54 67 10-
Women 4.3 10.8 1.2
IV. Instruc. V. Teach. Fell.
Total 270 1162
Men 162 1170
Women 108 392
% Women 40 25.1

Sundy, Aril12, 970THE AIL MAG_..

-- Sunday, April 12, 1970

THE DAILY MAGAZINE

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