where are all the female orgtheory bloggers?

The academic legal blogosphere is asking the question: Where are all the female law bloggers?  The Conglomerate’s Christine Hurt provides a few, quick thoughts here; Legal History Blog’s Mary Dudziak provides some reasons (and possible remedies) here; and Ann Althouse addresses the question here.

In the organizational domain, I’m not aware of any female academics who might be blogging.  In the parallel domain of sociology, of course, there are more female bloggers (for example at scatterplot).  And, while we’ve had a few female guest bloggers, only 2 of the 17 guest bloggers were female (though, this is not necessarily due to the lack of invitations).

I am guessing that the reasons for the lack of female bloggers in the organizational area are similar to the academic legal blogosphere (see the lawprof links above), so, I won’t venture to provide any more reasoning. If you have additional hypotheses, leave a comment.

Of course, Isabel already called us out on this issue.

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Written by teppo

October 9, 2008 at 4:26 am

Posted in blogs

19 Responses

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  1. Sigh. This is a horse beaten to death. There’s actually some stats , just not good theories–or at least, they’re not tested. No one is doing a survey of all female law academics to see which ones are blogging, which ones aren’t, and why. Hypotheses are being generated, they’re just not being tested. It’s a lot of anecdotal evidence, conjecture, hands being thrown up in air in either mock protest or defeat. I’m not giving up that easily on the question, but I think it’s an interesting one that’s not being answered in interesting ways.

    There’s plenty of reasons not to blog. I often think of quitting. And hey, I’m a female law academic blogger! I definitely have used my blog for pre-market marketing. And hey, I occasionally blog org theory, if you count law and organizations from a more micro-foundational perspective. If you do, count Orly Lobel (USD) (and here and here) too, one of the few blogging female law professors.

    I don’t know why more female org theorists don’t blog. I certainly have been enjoying all of the presentations at my university’s org behavior school’s colloquium, and half of them have been by women. A fair number of our faculty are women. Why don’t they blog? I don’t know. Perhaps we should ask them!

    In all fairness, it’s a tough question to ask, and I know most of the big group law blogs actively seek female bloggers, both as guests and as permanent bloggers. But as you all know (and where is Omar these days?), blogging is a lot of work, and so long as female faculty have a disproportionate share of the family and household care because of lingering gender structures at work and home (and while we’re at it, more service appointments), it’s going to be hard to fit in the blogging.

    I’m thinking of retiring my blog as soon as I go on the market or graduate. I don’t know when/if I’d come back, except that I do think it’s fun and I’d miss harassing Jeremy.

    belle lettre

    October 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

  2. Incidentally, Mary has good reasons and recommendations. I pretty aggressively marketed my blog to bigger law bloggers (gaining friends, contacts, like-minded senior scholars). That takes a lot of work and a little tech-savvy. I tried to ignore the trolls who can say very mean things when I write feminist posts. Even though I’m not always a serious blogger, I try not to let the blogospheric misogyny that can devalue women’s voices (e.g., female bloggers who blog on politics and occasionally feminist topics are always ghettoized as “feminist bloggers”, male bloogers who blog on politics are “pundit experts”, lots of male bloggers have transitioned to full-time web journalism at established mainstream media, few women, etc) keep me from blogging, nor affecting my blogging.

    Plus, Jeremy Bothering Freese somehow chanced on my blog and then offered me a spot. That was pretty helpful. Individual blogs are hard to market. Joining established group blogs with lots of big names is great for a young scholarly blogger.

    belle lettre

    October 9, 2008 at 8:23 am

  3. There are also very few female econ bloggers. Then again, there are relatively few female economists.

    Peter Klein

    October 9, 2008 at 4:58 pm

  4. Quick note: Over email, I mentioned to Teppo that I’ve been 1/4 with invitations to female scholars. Perhaps I’m asking the wrong people, or I’m asking in a very wrong way. Maybe it’s the alpaca posts? Well, I’ll continue to issue guest blog invitations to people I think would make exciting bloggers and hope they’ll join the fun.


    October 9, 2008 at 5:41 pm

  5. I just noted that Jenn Lena linked to this post:

    “It is worth noting that today the post at Org Theory finally saw the light of day: “Where are all the female OrgTheorists?” I have indicated to Brayden, after his kind invitation, that I will seriously consider accepting the guest blogger post this November. My expertise is unquestionably in organizations, and I think even more than my gender, I will bring to OrgTheory new ideas about the application of organizational theory and questions to topics of aesthetic and cultural production. But I will note that it is a set-up. Especially in the shadow of this post (and OMG am I dreading what folks will write), the next female blogger over there will be viewed as a token, pure and simple.” [Full post here.]

    A token? A set-up? Not a chance. As Fabio suggests, we’ve made almost an equal # of invitations to female guest bloggers as males — it’s just that most of the males accepted and females not. (It could indeed be Fabio’s ferret/alpaca series of posts, or his fanny pack — those are the residual explanations for any unexplained phenomenon around here.)

    We’re excited to (hopefully) have you guest posting here!


    October 9, 2008 at 8:53 pm

  6. Sorry that I was so unclear about the agent of the “set up”. I didn’t intend to call out you fine gentlemen–I’m convinced the cause (of the relative silence of women bloggers/Org Theorists) does not lie in a (lack of) invitations. I simply meant that in calling public attention to the issue, the next female guest blogger is bound to be marked by her gender in a way she might not have been (or not so strongly) were it not for the issue having been raised. I would add that this is not (either) intended to mean that calling attention to the issue is ill-advised. Just that the stakes have been changed.

    I thank you for adding your invitation to Brayden’s. I was (and am) very flattered. I just have to be sure that I can measure up to the challenge.

    And I do not find Fabio’s fanny pack. I have been looking for one, myself! But I’ve never followed the alpaca thing. What is that about, anyway?

    Jenn Lena

    October 9, 2008 at 9:34 pm

  7. Lolz! I meant to write “And I do not find Fabio’s fanny pack objectionable.” But I also have not found it. Have you seen it?

    Jenn Lena

    October 9, 2008 at 9:40 pm

  8. I for one would herald your guest blogging with harmonicas and kazoos, and cannot wait to read your posts. I don’t think that there will be shadow of tokenism. Your posts will speak for themselves, and they will say “awesome.”

    belle lettre

    October 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm

  9. tf

    October 9, 2008 at 9:50 pm

  10. And, see also.

    belle lettre

    October 9, 2008 at 10:11 pm

  11. So — I’d love to know what is in that fanny pack.

    Any guesses?

    My guess is: one 20-sided dungeons and dragons die, four pens, gummy bears, some wadded up (slightly moist) tissue, a map, and a pic of his second-life avatar.


    October 9, 2008 at 10:13 pm

  12. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s that my brain is fried because I just returned from a 20+ hour flight from Asia, but this comment threat got really weird, really fast.


    October 10, 2008 at 12:12 am

  13. I agree (and, I contributed/created the weirdness — well, it’s too late to delete this now).


    October 10, 2008 at 12:19 am

  14. I took the tissues out.


    October 10, 2008 at 12:22 am

  15. Lena’s a token. I’m not even really sure she’s a woman.


    October 10, 2008 at 2:34 am

  16. More seriously, I think it’s not a matter of invites vs. invites taken, or the number of org theorists in the population. Instead, different blogs have different tones. I say this with the understanding that my own blog seems to generate some readers, but few comments and little interaction between me and others. I don’t much write about the latest journal articles or updates on the field, more a combination of my personal life, art markets, and financial markets. Likewise, the diffs between OT and, say, Scatterplot, is again a mix of personal and substantive kinds of posts.

    These differences in tone and initial constellation of contributors has, to get all Stinchcombe on you, an inertia that persists. But then down the line, to say that it’s about the number of women or the chance number of invitations taken is kind of misleading. Again, this is not a suggestion of malfeasance, more just an observation of how it works.

    Add to this the relative upsides-vs-downsides of blogging that most of us face, a ratio that is not at all the same for women scholars (and especially junior, but both junior and senior), and I think that accounts for most of it.


    October 10, 2008 at 11:24 am

  17. After a bunch of conversations at the ASA (let me be flaky and use that as “evidence”), I am convinced this is primarily not a demand issue [i.e. invitations]. And although I still think that the other well known mechanisms that generate these differences are present, I completely agree with Jenn on the dangers of tokenism. Bummer… the system conspires against you guys trying to sort things out, doesn’t it?


    October 10, 2008 at 2:09 pm

  18. Where are the female OT bloggers? I’ve been wondering that myself.

    One explanation for their/our absence is that there are so few OT/Org level issues bloggers at all. For example, it’s weird to me that out of the 15,000 members of the Academy of Management, there are (by my last admittedly casual googling) less that 20 blogs by AOM members. I think that this low percentage is in part because we don’t learn to link theory to many things topical (and thus interesting to read on a weekly/daily basis), and also because we don’t teach our students and each other that Organizations as entities are worthy of thoughtful attention . It’s easy to find blogs about leadership, management, org change and development, and ‘business’, but much harder to find blogs about organizations — non profit or commercial, big or small, changing or not really changing, with or without a#%*holes, and so on.

    Turning to the question of where are the women OT bloggers, their/our absence/under-representation is also strange because (according to the 2006 Pew study) men and women equally represented in the blogosphere, and there are 50 million women with their own blogs (according to BLogHer). Compared to other academic disciplines, OT seems to be doing much worse than Literary Theory, Law, Economics, and Womens’/Gender Studies.

    And, while OT as a discipline (and OMT as a division) seems (to me) to have more men than women, especially relative to OB, the numeric disparity doesn’t seem to be all that large. Plus, there are many ‘big’ OT folks who are women… So, overall, I don’t see any uniquely OT reasons for the under-representation of women bloggers.

    I can’t even figure it out from a purely personal perspective. Beyond myself and Sandy Piderit, where are all our OT girlfriends? It’s not because we don’t think/talk/review/write Org Theory amongst ourselves and/or with male colleagues, because we obviously do … so really, I’m stumped.

    But hey, remember that we don’t have to have a complete diagnosis (or a high R-squared for any specific variable) to move to correct the issue…Does anyone have a colleague, student, or practitioner-friend who wants a chance to blog about Org Theory? Please ask her to email me. I’m working on plans for an MOC Division blognetwork with some other colleagues, and we’re trying to create some space where colleagues can blog with less technical ‘overhead’ and less-than-weekly frequency.

    In the meantime, I’m checking out the blogs by other women who’ve commented here…..

    CV Harquail

    October 15, 2008 at 3:53 pm

  19. Hi CV: Thanks for the comment. We’ll forward names onto you (please do so vice versa). And, please send us an email as soon as the MOC network is up!


    October 15, 2008 at 5:03 pm

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