Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Workshop on Gender Issues Atlanta: CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

Dear Members:

Call for Participation

ISA-Global South Caucus Gender Workshop: Meeting on Global South Women in IR

This meeting is a follow-up to the first ISA-Global South Caucus Global South Gender Networking Workshop, held in Singapore, January 9, 2015, and constitutes a preparatory session to the second such workshop to be held at the Third IS-Global South Conference (2017, TBA).

The Caucus is inviting participation in this discussion session in Atlanta from all persons interested in the status of GS women in academia, whether those working in the south or those who occupy academic positions in the north. We will be particularly pleased to welcome and hear from Adriana Abdenur who has been organizing fellow academics in Brazil.

Note: Participants in the GS Workshop, Singapore, are specially invited!

For Your Information, the results of the Singapore discussions are available here: http://gscis.blogspot.com/2016/02/workshop-on-gender-issues-atlanta.html

When? Friday, March 18 9:00-10:15am
Where? Crystal Boardroom (Please note: NOT the Ballroom), Hilton Hotel, Atlanta.

RSVP by March 7 to GSC Communications Secretary marianakalil@gmail.com (we would be grateful if you can send a short bio as well)
Issues to be discussed include networking, mentorship, barriers to success, publication, employment, social media etc.

The following is a summary of our discussions in Singapore:
Global South Gender Networking Workshop, Singapore, January 9, 2015

Among issues highlighted were the following:
1    1. Collegiality and marginalization: Interaction with male members of departments is often difficult. Women faculty often feel isolated (because of identity, cultural, family and other issues). There is often disrespect for women’s achievements, no matter what the level and quality of publications produced. Women faculty are often decried as “aggressive” or self-promoting.   Some women are the only ones in their department and feel particularly estranged, not to mention in some instances there is sexual harassment or the threat of it. Foreign professors in northern situations have the additional problem of being perceived as the “other.”  (On the other hand, it was noted that in Iran women are not so much marginalized as desexualized – which raises its own problems.)
Solution discussed: need to form networks both with allies in a department and with institutional allies. (Of course we recognize that in some instances female faculty do not support their colleagues but this is a conversation better left for the future.)  Both south-south and north-south mentoring are desirable. Female faculty need to seek male allies as well as female. There is a need to find out what/ how the south’s men are doing.  There is a need to pressure universities regarding sexual harassment (here the north is more advanced than the south overall).
2.    Research: Research on south issues and work employing critical pedagogy are often devalued in the north. Moreover, northern scholarship on the south is often presumed to be more valid than southern scholarship on south areas and issues. This attitude pervades even the professional elites and hiring authorities IN the south. Patronizing attitudes toward south scholars and scholarship are common in many places. This also means that access to mainstream publishing outlets is limited.
Solution (JBW’s comments): This is a major issue which the Global South Caucus is seeking to address  via workshops, mentorship, and discussions with ISA journal editors.  Discussions are underway about whether to pursue the ideal of impacting the northern discourse or develop more south-oriented  outlets or how best to meld the two. As the world structure changes toward more inclusiveness, it is to be hoped that specialists of the south will be more in demand. The furor that erupted when ISA offered a series on current events in New Orleans, featuring only northern scholars, predominantly male (The Sapphire Series), is perhaps indicative of a move toward greater concern about diversity overall.

3.  Family life: Finding the appropriate balance between family life and work is a much-mentioned issue which actually pertains to men as well, in a world which strives for gender equality). When it comes to work, it was noted by one participant, “your family does not exist.”
Related to this, maternity leave is not a given.
A special note on online universities: while online teaching may help ease the family life problem, it was noted that it also harms women in that such work is usually non-tenure track.

Solution: There is no easy solution to this. Labor legislation in the north helps; workshops for young faculty help. Inclusive gender networking is needed.

4. Burden of work:  women, and southern women in particular, tend to be overburdened with student mentorship duties and undergraduate teaching . Neither of these areas are as important for tenure and promotion (usually) as research. Requirements for tenure in particular are often ambiguous.
Solution discussed: networking, being proactive, making sure you receive clear guidelines, seeking senior external allies who will be helpful as evaluators of your work for promotion and tenure.
   5.    Left for the future: a discussion of whether ethnic issues and issues of inequality are more problematic than gender issues in the south.

Thank you for your participation. We will continue the conversation.