Homogenous diversity

January 24, 2008

Sometimes I even irritate myself in my demand for an answer to the question "where are the women?" when I see an article that offers the opinions of a string of academics.

It's the complaint my students make after we've deconstructed one of their favourite shows that they can never look at it in the same way again. Of course, for me (and as I rehearse with them), this can only be a good thing, part of the fundamental purpose of a university education to cultivate and exercise a critical mind.

So, call me an unreconstructed feminist, but how can you justify publishing an article over six pages, with a title that includes the word "diversity"("Diversity challenge", 17 January), for goodness sake, and not include the thoughts of even one woman ?

Yes, there was a photograph and a pithy comment by Flannery O'Connor, but is that the best you could manage? Perhaps the arguments would have been the same on the distaff side, but I wonder if the debate would have been quite so polarised between the crusties and the wide boys if a few women had contributed a wise word or two? Don't even get me started on the invisibility of the student voice, the use of the word "chairman" and assorted other little annoyances because I accept that one article cannot do everything but, still, it could do one thing better.

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