Many readers were duly aghast when I highlighted this “call for applications” (we won’t call it a “job ad”), for a “non-stipendiary residency” at a feminist research center. I was upset about what is apparently a call this center makes (presumably with success) on an annual basis, for one very simple reason: It is advertising for scholars to come and work at this center in exchange for “networking,” “collaboration” and “prestige” instead of money. Its requirements might not be as much work as your average TT job, but they are work. Sitting through a weekly seminar is work. Writing and giving a colloquium talk is work (I get paid, for example, an honorarium between $500-1500 to do so nowadays, in case you want to have me come speak at your institution, which I am delighted to do if compensated for my work). And doing your own research is work — work enough that if you’re on the TT it’s usually considered a full 40% of your duties. So sure, this “residency” seems kind of part-time, and maybe it shouldn’t pay a full 50K a year (about what it costs a single student, all told, to attend 4/5 of the institutions that affiliate with the “center,” by the way), but the idea that it is acceptable to pay nothing — to, indeed, expect the “resident” to pay for her (and it will be her) own everything — is what is so patently offensive to me and anyone with a brain. I’ll allow one of my astutest commenters from yesterday to put it to you best, since s/he explained it better than I ever could:
Let’s be clear: this is a conversation about both gender and economic discrimination. This position uses the terminology of employment to advertise itself but pays nothing (the very point of employment).
Research shows that women (and this ad will have only female applicants, presumably) under-earn men throughout their lifetimes, they negotiate for too little, and they are far more likely to work for free (a.k.a. “prestige”).
And the only women who can apply for this position are likely to not need financial compensation anyway. If there are children (daycare) or spouses involved, or involved moving from an entirely different state, and the woman did not come from economic privilege, would she be able to afford this appointment? *That* is the problem with this “ad.”
Exactly. And if you don’t understand this, like I said, you are not just part of the problem, you are the problem.