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At Pepperdine, we often have all joked about the abundance of women on our campus, hey, a lot of guys had two my tie dates. The actual trend that leads to this is that in recent years, women have been the majority of students enrolled in university. However, this trend also brings to light that this majority does not translate into faculty.

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 Overall, Pepperdine has roughly 250 undergraduate faculty members, 144 of which are men and 105 are women. This ratio is not gaping, however, when looking into tenured professors, 52% of male undergraduate professors are tenured and only 20% of female undergraduate faculty are tenured. The rest of Pepperdine’s female faculty tend to occupy assistant and associate professor positions. 

    The Humanities department was especially interesting to me because I belong to it. It is a department of roughly 45 professors, and 19 are men and 26 are women. Though these numbers seem better, in actuality, 47% of those male professors are tenured and only 30% of the women are tenured. This means that female professors do not have the long-standing credibility to enact change to their departments, meaning that this department which is dominated by female students is being taught by men who do not understand them.

    Understanding the human condition and analyzing stories are the foundation of the Humanities, but half of the stories are missing. Male professors tend to pick literature and history that they themselves are interested in or they see value in, and oftentimes this material excludes women. Literature gives the best example of this, seeing as multiple women I know have complained about reading a few books by female authors if they even read them at all. This problem is further compounded by intersectionality because there is little to no chance that a book by someone non-white will be read in a Humanities class unless the course material is specialized. 

    Without an emphasis on female narratives, women in these classes feel frustrated, ignored, and overall just less valuable. We do not see ourselves represented in the highest positions of our fields, and we internalize this. This is a circular problem: women do not believe they are able to hold high positions in academia because they do not see themselves represented in that arena, therefore fewer women become high ranking faculty members and male faculty are still free to control their departments as male-dominated spaces.

Data taken from: https://educationdata.org/college-enrollment-statistics/

https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-academia/#:~:text=Women%20held%20over%20half%20(57.0,lowest%20ranking%20positions%20in%20academia.&text=22.7%25%20of%20women%20faculty%20are,to%2017.3%25%20of%20men%20faculty.

Mary Buffaloe

Pepperdine '21

My name is Mary and I am a writer from Simi Valley California!
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