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Women and Leading as Authorities

Women are slackers? Equal but different? No?

Lorri Neilsen Glenn relates

When teachers aim for by-the-numbers turn-taking by gender, they field boys’ complaints that girls get more turns (frequency of women’s speech is measured against silence, not other speakers’ talk)

We code-switch and can live both. Females learn Male as a second language, having a default female form that is very similar but different. We learn to inhabit the default male hero role, identify with that in novels and movies, while also being the perennial media hapless helped.

Neilsen Glenn says,

although earlier, essentialist characterizations of male and female language patterns over-simplify, it is impossible to ignore the wealth of research that reveals systemic gendered differences in how we talk with one another, how we write, and how we listen and read one another. Differences are one thing: inequities are another.

We perpetuate roles and simplifi-fictions as we live.

You’ve seen the numbers, perhaps read Michael Lista protesting that they may gloss over wrong. He may review a male but exhort in the review in summary to buy a female poet’s work instead. This isn’t accounted for.

Daphne Marlatt in her interview remarks that there is an issue but there are more pressing issues,

to even be able to think, talk, and write about gender bias in publishing circles in the West indicates a position of privilege compared to so many women’s situations both here on our streets and across the globe.

Recently at TED talks, Megan Kamerick looks at the wider numbers. Women are there in business but aren’t leading. Consistently worldwide women are not leading in journalism, government and business to the same degree as males. The ratio of 1: 10 or 1: 5 females to every male is pretty consistent. When people are quoted and interviewed for news, put on the covers of magazines, presented for consumption, there’s a cultural bias that positions women in outdated defaults.

What’s going on? Need it be retrained? Some women run presses and are head editors. That doesn’t prove that for individual reasons there are random factors causing the difference. There’s an aggregate effect. So what is going on?

There’s a cultural difference in lives between males and females. What is marked as positive behavior in one gender gets different motivations and cause ascribed for a member of another. Her example of would you want to work for this boss, giving a bio to two groups, changing only the name from male and female and watching the outcomes is fascinating.

Some people float easily, shrugging off taking their societally-assigned role personally, and doing and speaking as they like. Others are more impeded.

People think they decide as individuals but the gender meme is parasitic and is really ruling the considerations in decision making. One gets tired of the same dismissals and walls so goes another route to another niche. In some cases systemic economic blockages can be removed, such as France and universal daycare, or legally-enforced long family vacations. Rules that mandate minimal pay can help. Men are more likely to negotiate their pay and women are more likely to take what they are given. Guess who ends up better off in that case.

At TED Sheryl Sandberg talks about women in leadership. Asking women to sit at the table, not marginalize themselves as individuals, to keep their hands up to ask questions, to admit they did well. Women tend to underestimate how well they are doing and men tend to overstate. Ask a man why he was successful and he is more likely to say because he put in the work. Ask a woman and she is more likely to say, she was supported and lucky. For anyone all causes are true but how we attribute has impacts. Stay in the game all the time you are there.

Helen Guri on the CWILA count

it is a relief to have a set of pie charts to explain what have up until now been vague, persistent feelings of doubt and unfairness. It’s like a diagnosis.

I see that something has to be done about these numbers, and that doing something requires thinking about the numbers. I hope that the cure isn’t worse than the disease; i.e., that working to fix the numbers and thinking about the numbers does not cause me or any other woman writer to become so distracted from or demoralized about the main work, writing, as to lose focus or clam up entirely.

CWILA has 16 interviews so far.

There’s the plan floated to make it someone’s job to be paid watchdog. The virtual Critic-in-residence would get a $2000 stipend to

promotes public awareness of women’s literary and critical presence in Canadian letters. Specifically, the critic-in-residence will work on critical essays and/or book reviews.

The money would come from 80 people donating a membership amount.

The idea is to kickstart consciousness and behavior. If we don’t see women participating, then it’s self-fulfilling.

A society is made by individual and minute-to-minute choices, which things to pursue, which things are worthwhile, which things to press for. Top-down models are part. If 10% of the population come to hold a belief, then the majority will come to adopt it as well. That is said to work for low-cost investment beliefs. Momma and apple pie, hierarchical models of competition among gender spectrum people where there is a morality to being male or female is a more complex belief system. For understanding information, assumptions can shift. Smoking, condoms against HIV, whether women can work in the cash economy all have inverted their weights.

Aggregate behaviour and norms are changed by thousands of people in concert who may not even know they are inside music.

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