Flaws, tables and chairs

July 10, 1998

One of my teenage daughters pointed out to me a logical flaw in your universities' league table of proportions of female professors (The THES, July 3).

For each university, you should have divided the number of female professors by the number of women working in the university. That figure ought to have been compared to the equivalent ratio for males.

Those ratios would have told us something interesting about promotion prospects and sex discrimination. Unfortunately, your table did not: the universities at the foot of your "promotion probability" table simply do not have many female employees.

My daughter often lectures me on girl power. She claims it is consistent with good logic.

Andrew J. Oswald

Professor of economics, University of Warwick

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