At Telex’s request, Anna Kennedy, director of the Institute of Psychology at Eötvös Loránd University’s School of Education and Psychology, said it was very frustrating to face the list because the academy emphasized the importance of women in science for some. the time. It is incomprehensible to him why the committee felt the need for all elected academics to be male in 2022.
Tamas Simon, Head of Communications at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, responded to Telex’s article in a reply letter. In it, she acknowledged that the Academy had already overlooked the past in the field of women’s science propaganda, but they wanted to change that. As he writes, 8 women and 36 men, for example, have been nominated for correspondent membership this year. All women won membership, while nine men did not.
On the other hand, Anna Kennedy told Telex that this data is not particularly proud:
“In an organization whose leadership is exclusively male, are we now pleased that 20 percent of messenger members are women?”
Update: After the article was published, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences indicated in a letter that a third of the current leaders of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences are women: Anna Erde, Deputy Secretary-General and Lam Vanda, one of the Vice-Presidents.
By the way, the Director of Communications refers to the academic rules regarding the formation of ordinary members. It relates the selection of reporters to their significant scientific achievements, which usually take more than 3 years. This means, he wrote, that it is not uncommon for a newly elected reporter to be elected as an ordinary member in upcoming academic elections. “In this year’s elections, 26 reporters were nominated as regular members, and they were all elected. Thus, the fact that there were no women among the candidates reflects the imprint of the situation 6 years ago, that is, the situation before steps were taken to help women prevail.”
Simon also argues that “the prevalence gap between female and male researchers develops at an age close to the time of their Ph.D., which coincides with a typical reproductive period.” However, the retention of young female researchers is supported by a number of academic initiatives in research.
Is science for men?
However, according to Anna Kennedy, it has been known for 6 years that this problem will arise, but they did nothing against it. “Of course it is they who choose the academic who deserves it. However, it may be useful to consider more complex the number of reasons why women reach such high academic positions in small numbers. To mention only two examples: the ways in which scientific life works and the innervation of Hungarian society. Raising children does not help women advance in their careers.”
Therefore, he argues, gender discrimination is perpetuated by a number of difficult-to-see mechanisms, while the results are often very illustrative. Just yesterday, they attended the diploma awarding ceremony of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences for Excellent Research, and four men sat on the podium, representing the leaders of the academy. “It does influence decision-making processes, and research shows that male leaders are less sensitive to discriminatory actions,” says Anna Kennedy, who says it’s not accidental to a science leader.
“After all, if we think science belongs to men, women give up these ambitions in the first place. On the other hand, in Hungarian society, a higher proportion of women have a higher education, so it is not certain that they are less intelligent or less committed. By learning or science.
The age-old question is: Are gender quotas necessary and beneficial?
The psychologist stated in his letter that as long as the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was not able to make effective changes in this field, it did not intend to support the commission in its work. What do you consider sufficient, and can it be quantified?
Kennedy told Telex that the issue of introducing a quota system stands out clearly here, against which one of the arguments presented is that it might raise the question of the appropriateness of a quota member.
“In countries where quotas have been implemented, bad practices have been successfully changed, so the quota has been effective. No matter how conservative we are about the quota, there is a great deal of empirical evidence to support its effectiveness.”
The psychologist said that in countries where there is already a greater commitment to gender equality, there are more women in academia, and the country’s scientific performance is better. “Of course, the reason for this is not the high number of women, but it can be argued that equality has not put them at a competitive disadvantage.”
When we asked him how he thinks this is 0 from a European perspective, he replied:
In 2022, in a European country, this is unacceptable. Shame.”
Anna Kennedy says she has received a lot of messages of support over the past day from colleagues and former students, mostly women, who thanked her in a private letter for standing by them.
These few critical messages came from men. They repeated the usual arguments: there is nothing that can be done, such rules, and suitable women were certainly not found.
I cannot accept any of the arguments. Because the rules can be changed and I don’t think there is any suitable woman. However, I also often feel the number of extra laps I must make as a Woman of Science to prove my competence, while under the impression that men are not usually questioned.”
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