LINGUIST List 6.1611

Tue Nov 14 1995

Disc: Gender and Linguistics

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. birchm, Re: 6.1567, Disc: Women in linguistics
  2. MARC PICARD, Re: Your recent message to the Linguist List

Message 1: Re: 6.1567, Disc: Women in linguistics

Date: Tue, 07 Nov 1995 09:20:52 Re: 6.1567, Disc: Women in linguistics
Subject: Re: 6.1567, Disc: Women in linguistics

On the whole I agree with Elizabeth Burr's list of 7 reasons why so
few women are present at the higher levels of academia, in particular
in linguistics. But I point out the heterosexism (and couplism) of #5.
Burr says

5. for many women the decision for a career means a decision against
children, either because they cannot see how they could combine the
two, or - and this is probably the most important reason - they regard
*their partner*s work as more important - *he* is probably quite
capable to make it look like that - or don't expect *him* to join in
which in most cases *he* wouldn't anyway, and so on and on. In the end
they dicide against an accademic career. (emphasis mine)

While this is the way things have gone traditionally in straight
marriages, since there is now two and a half decades history of
political activity by gays and lesbians, one of the main points of
which is to let our presence be felt, I am dismayed that Burr, who
sounds like a feminist, seems to have no awareness of lesbians at
all--or at least feels that we don't have to be acknowledged.
Lesbians are academics and face gender discrimination just like
heterosexual women. We also have children. A related issue is that
*many* women are single parents. Having kids is not necessarily
assoicated with having a partner.

Birch Moonwomon-Baird
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Message 2: Re: Your recent message to the Linguist List

Date: Fri, 10 Nov 1995 11:45:11 Re: Your recent message to the Linguist List
Subject: Re: Your recent message to the Linguist List

 Deborah D. Kela Ruuskanen has made some very interesting and
thought- provoking observations concerning the status of women in
linguistics. She says: "One point I would like to see raised is why,
when most of the students writing foreign languages or e.g. English
Studies for their Matriculation Examination (on leaving secondary
school), most of the students entering university in language depts.,
most of the graduates with majors in linguistics or foreign language
studies, and most of the research assistants post-grad are FEMALES,
and the proportion of those obtaining a Licentiate or Habilus degree
in language/linguistics is about 2 females to 1 male, then HOW COME so
few Heads of Dept. and so few Professors are FEMALE?"
 I don't really know WHY this situation exists but I have some
idea as to HOW it comes about. Consider what has taken place in a
Montreal university in the past two years where there were two
openings in historical linguistics, one for an assistant/associate
professor and the other for an assistant professor. Both job
announcements contained the following commitment: "[This] University
is committed to employment equity and encourages applications from
women, aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and disabled
persons. All things being equal, women will be given priority"
 So who did they hire? Two while male anglophones from the same
Ivy League university. Of course, once one of them got in, it was
child's play to get his *confrere* to come and join him given that
this scandal-ridden institution has never shown much concern for
equity and fair play.
 For anyone who is interested in the problems women face in the
wonderful world of academia, let me recommend BREAKING ANONYMITY: THE
CHILLY CLIMATE FOR WOMEN FACULTY (Wilfrid Laurier University Press,

Marc Picard
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