A few points and one hope. First, the hope that I have for this study is that it helps score some head shots against those zombie lies (dealt with deftly here, here, and here) that pop up every year about all the cushy jobs that under-qualified women are landing at the expense of poor, over-qualified white men.
- Up to 40% of advertised positions in 2007-8 did not fill
- Women were hired in all categories in proportion to their percentage of PhDs (this includes temporary positions and postdocs, tenure-track positions and positions in Leiter-ranked departments)
- If women PhDs are regularly being hired in proportion to their numbers, and retained at the same rate as men, we should see a rise in their numbers in the profession to 28% (their numbers are around 21%).
- The percentage of women in philosophy is at a noteworthy point. The number of women PhD’s is above 25% (which is the “tipping point” for gender schemas, see Valian 1998) but the number of women employed in the profession is below 25%.
Second, the numbers themselves regarding woman hires aren't as bad as you'd expect. Women are being hired in proportion to the number pursuing Ph.Ds. And while there is obviously some work to be done with retaining women so their numbers in the profession catch up to the numbers pursuing Ph.Ds, these findings are encouraging.
Third, as noted in the report, the APA doesn't seem to keep track of any of these numbers. Why not? Why did the authors of the study have to rely on blog posts and other means for their data when this is clearly something the APA should be keeping track of?
As fellow Smoker and longtime friend S points out: "Not keeping track of the data is a sure sign that an organization or institution's not committed to fixing whatever problem you want the data about." Damn straight. No matter how many committees or reports are commissioned, having this data is key to tackling these issues. Gathering and making such data available is something we should expect from a professional organization.
Fourth, what is the significance of the fact that 40% of jobs advertised weren't filled? I mean, you'd figure with all the over-qualified white men with scary CVs getting snubbed for tenure-track positions in favor of less-qualified women or minorities, this figure would be lower. But, less snarkily and more seriously, why is this number so (seemingly) high; is there an obvious explanation, or is it convoluted?