Monday, April 06, 2009

Poster child

My university has a program to study and promote university-level activities relating to recruiting and retaining female faculty members in disciplines where they are in the minority at the faculty level. It's a fine little program, full of useful networking opportunities and interesting guest speakers.

They recently launched some kind of branding activity where they came up with a specific font and some slogans and graphics for all their flyers and so forth, and the header image for all their materials is a row of little photos of academic women doing professory things. They emailed me to ask if they could use a photo of me, since the university has some laying around from previous photo-worthy events. I don't mind. But when I eventually looked at the promotional materials I noticed that two of the six photos were of me, I'm just wearing a different shirt in each.

Now, really, are we so hard up for women faculty? Maybe it's supposed to be a hidden statement about why we need these programs ("Look, there are so few women faculty members we couldn't even find 6 different people that had been photographed.")

(It's not any kind of statement, though. When I pointed out to them that I'd been twice included, they were like, "Oh. I guess none of us really noticed when we were putting that together.")

Still, aren't they lucky that I was recently approved for promotion & tenure? How ironic would it have been if 2/3 of the women in the promotional photos had in fact not been retained?