Problematic Gender Quotas at Harvard Law
posted by Kaimipono D. Wenger
I saw this post from a few weeks back, and I agree with Professor Bainbridge that there appears to be a highly problematic quota at play in Harvard hiring. But I think we might disagree on the details. Here’s the Bainbridge post in its entirety:
Gender quotas at Harvard Law
The Harvard Crimson is currently running “a three-part series on gender disparity issues at [Harvard] Law School.” Part I reports that there are 17 tenured or tenure-track women out of 92 total on the Harvard Law School faculty. It goes on to report:
Since she took the helm of the school four years ago, [Dean] Minow has worked to change these numbers. Her first step: hiring equal numbers of men and women for entry-level faculty positions since 2009. This year, the Law School has made two hiring offers, one to a man and one to a woman.
Annually, the entry-level hiring committee conducts about 40 interviews, which are balanced in terms of gender breakdown. From these initial interviews, the hiring committee whittles down the pool of potential candidates, who must present to a faculty workshop, secure the recommendation of the hiring committee, and finally secure the approval of the faculty as a whole before they are hired. All the while, the hiring committee is careful to retain an equal number of male and female candidates, according to Law School professor David J. Barron ’89, chair of the entry-level committee.
The goal of having more female faculty members is “very much part of the consciousness, and consciousness matters,” said Barron.
At least as described, this sounds rather like a strict 50/50 gender quota, doesn’t it?
It’s not entirely clear from the short post, but it seems like Professor Bainbridge is saying that the pattern of recent hires (3 men and 3 women) shows a problematic gender quota.
Meanwhile, I’m of the opinion that the problematic quota lies with the prior hiring pattern, which led to the eye-popping gender imbalance of 75 men to 17 women.