Protestbrief G10 van de Economie en Filosofie 2017

Ook dit jaar heeft de G10 van de Economie en Filosofie weer te weinig vrouwen uitgenodigd.

Met Anna Blijdenstein, Laura Karreman en Marieke Krijnen stelden we deze protestbrief op.

 

Dear G10 organisers,

 

The G10 Festival of Economics & Philosophy, branded as ‘Scouting for the future’, has 17 male speakers and only 1 female speaker. While the website’s homepage includes photographs of two women, they are relegated to the role of moderators. Last year your organization had a similarly all-male line-up. This motivated two female PhD students to write a letter bringing to your attention the importance of gender equality and diversity. The letter was signed by almost 400 people inside and outside academia and, after one of your main guests resigned, led to some changes made in the program.

It is astounding and very discouraging that the G10 has not learned from last year’s mistakes. We are shocked that a platform that purports to present progressive views on our future lacks speakers from the group that represents half of the world population. In addition, 17 of the 18 speakers are white. This shows little comprehension of our society, which is characterized by a diverse reality. A festival like this should be trusted to aim for a more representative depiction of this reality.

We hope that you do not bring against our objections the often-heard excuse that “there were no women to be found.” Anyone who makes the effort to look beyond the “usual suspects” (which indeed often consist of white men, but that is exactly the result of gender inequality), will discover many highly qualified and talented women. You can also always contact experts to ask for recommendations. Society for Women in Philosophy (NL) has over 60 members (who would be happy to assist), as well as a database of female speakers.

While implicit bias inclines us all to associate the word “economist” or “philosopher” with white men, we need to challenge this bias by making sure to have diverse speakers at events such as these.

If gender equality and diversity are a priority for festival organizers, they should be willing to go the extra mile. Specific perspectives of various social groups provide a critical view on the economy and on society in general. Women do not necessarily have a different view or present specific “women issues”. For us, this is about a fair representation of social reality and about countering of implicit gender bias (people are less likely to think of women when they are searching for and selecting speakers). We can only draw the conclusion that in the case of the G10, gender equality and diversity have not been a priority. That being said, your current selection of speakers has led to an unacceptable result.

Since, as organizers of the G10, you seem to have disregarded all points of criticism brought up last year, we cannot, as we did last year, assume that you simply forgot to think about implicit bias or a fair representation of society. We hope you are willing to make the necessary efforts to change the program, so that we do not feel compelled to boycott this event.

Yours sincerely,

 

Anna Blijdenstein, Ph.D. candidate philosophy (University of Amsterdam)

Marieke Krijnen, postdoc (Orient-Institut Beirut)

Laura Karreman, Lecturer Media and Culture Studies (Utrecht University), Ph.D. candidate in Art, Music and Theatre Studies (Ghent University)

On behalf of the board of Society for Women in Philosophy (NL):

Anya Topolski, assistant professor in political theory and philosophy (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

Roos van Unen, MA-student Philosophy (Vrije Universiteit)

Joyce Pijnenburg, independent lecturer in philosophy, PhD candidate (University of Amsterdam)

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