An aside on access to Big Cheese-dom

Imagine a gaggle of professors, gathered together at some swanky conference centre, with a good bar, enjoying a break from the day-to-day drudgery of work and home life, with its associated rituals and habits and face-making that one must adhere to for the sake of upholding the respect due one’s eminent position.

No, read that again: imagine a conference of uniformed professors, obligatorily donned in grey suit, academic gown and mortar board, because that’s what tradition demands, marking one out as respected authority figure, as pillar of sagacity.

No, sorry, read that again: imagine a conference of uniformed male professors. Because women, you see, in this imaginary scenario, are not allowed into the professor set. Oh, there might be a few there in their lecturer garb, attending a shim-sham of a debate on whether or not to allow the awarding of women chairs. But this is basically a boy’s club.

Silly, of course. A professorship is a professorship. It has no gender. Oh, discrimination might operate in some cases, but not officially. Because that would be illegal.


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