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Athene Donald what a ditz!

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  • Athene Donald what a ditz!

    Not many American visitors to this site will be familiar with Athene Donald, and believe me, you are lucky that this is the case!

    She is in charge of "gender equality" at the University of Cambridge, and a government scheme has been named after her called Athena Swan, which means that science departments in the UK will only receive funding if they have been shown to advance women's careers in the so-called STEM (science and technology) disciplines. So in other words positive action in all but name.

    Most recently she and her supporters have suggested that the whole concept of academic merit should be redefined, so that - get this - discriminatory and 'male-orientated' measures of assessing academic worth, like publishing scientific papers and obtaining research grants, should be replaced with more "meaningful" and "holistic" criteria, like whether a university scientist has undertaken mentoring or pastoral care.

    A few days ago she published an article in a left-wing newspaper, claiming serious evidence of discrimination against women in academic science careers, but this "evidence" turned out to be nothing more than a survey of women scientists, using leading, socially manipulative questions to achieve the desired results.

    Is the situation as bad in other countries (i.e. US and Canad?) At any rate let us hope that the authorities do not pander any further to this silly woman, otherwise UK science really will be in a mess!

  • #2
    It's bad everywhere. With the growing MRM worldwide however, I see there is hope.


    • #3
      Yes I agree that does give some cause for optimism. Trouble is, I can see all kinds of motives for male scientists to go along with this. If they are younger
      they may worry speaking out will jeopardise their career, whereas if they're older and have tenure they may feel it's no skin off their nose to kick the ladder away from underneath them, and get all the favour that comes with saying the right thing at dinner parties.

      But it seems there's a ridiculous paradox about all this. Cambridge is one of the most prestigious research institutions in the world. If Miss Donald gets her way, so that merit is redefined and along with that the criteria for promotion, what are the chances that it will retain its ranking in the top academic league tables? So by the time all these professors have got promoted, on the basis of their incredible track-record of pastoral care, then the institution will no longer have the esteem that she is seeking for these female professors in the first place! What a short-sighted and thoroughly idiotic plan.


      • #4
        "The institution will no longer have the esteem that she is seeking for these female professors in the first place! What a short-sighted and thoroughly idiotic plan."

        It's definitely short sighted Monty. The aim is to feed off the good name of the institution until people figure out that the standards have been lowered, and the quality of graduates is no longer there. Short term gain (for women), long term damage to the institution.

        Pastoral care? What's farming got to do with universities anyway? Just kidding lol.
        Last edited by nawotsme; 03-18-2014, 05:50 PM.

        What can I say?