Some striking lines.
The real problem with political science academe today isn’t that the professoriate’s leading lights and prominent graduates are incapable of disseminating impactful ideas.I would argue that in fact that that is a substantial part of the problem. I would also argue that the source is four-fold: 1) there is so much background noise going on in the national conversation(s) that it is hard for any single point of view to break through, 2) scholars have a hard time translating refined and nuanced ideas into the rough and tumble vox populi, 3) much of what scholars deem of interest and importance is not obviously relevant or important to those outside the field, and 4) the prevalence of vacuous and unsupported arguments within the field is too high to yield the moral authority that might buy attention otherwise.
Tchalakov doesn't believe that the problem for political science academe is that it is unable to disseminate impactful ideas.
The problem, rather, is that still so few of them are women.So the most important problem is not the absence of pertinent and impactful ideas but rather that genders are not equally represented. The puzzling thing is that she never identifies why this is a problem. What is the impact of the differential representation? There are certainly arguments that could be made, not necessarily good ones, why this disparate representation might be consequential. But she doesn't advance any claim that the differential has any consequence on the quality and impact of ideas. That's rather maddening. Why have a discussion if there is no identifiable consequence?
A glance across the contemporary marketplace of foreign policy ideas, from peer-reviewed articles to monographs, from graduate school syllabi to the glossy pages of Foreign Policy, reveals a field in which women remain few and far between.
The impressive thing, is that she then goes on, in rather substantive detail, laying out why the disparate impact occurs. It is basically the argument I have made elsewhere - this is not a matter of competing individuals; this is a matter of competing family units. Those that form two adult homes with a primary market person and a non- or secondary market person, are more likely to achieve exceptional productivity and recognition. This is simply an empirical observation. Full-time focus yields exceptional results and that full-time focus is harder to achieve when there are shared domestic responsibilities or full domestic responsibilities (either single parent or single person). Not impossible, but harder.
The rub of the issue is that Americans, and basically people worldwide, still have the tradition of the full-time market role being fulfilled by a male and the non-market or support role by a female. Unless that changes, it is unlikely that the 15-30% representation of females in the elite segments of fields will change.
Tchalakov is very forthright about the cause of the disparate representation.
Family obligations, for example, typically prevent women from being as productive as men.Tchalakov does an impressive job of walking through all the candidate reasons for why there is disparate impact, in virtually all instances providing solid evidence to support those explanations. Its all about productivity.
A 2011 study on faculty research productivity in political science found that men published articles at roughly double the rate of their female counterparts, even when controlling for age and faculty rank.
But instead of grasping the explanation that all her evidence supports, Tchalakov concludes with:
Unless we begin to self-consciously examine the processes by which we consecrate our public intellectuals, the question for young women today will not be whether they can or can’t have it all; rather, it will be whether society would value their contributions equally even if they could.What a strangely passive and abstract rendition. Who is this generic "we" and how do "we" consecrate public intellectuals (if that occurs at all)? And this conclusion seems completely at variance with her evidence. Where women have invested the time and effort to the same degree as their male colleagues, they have roughly the same recognition. That part already seems answered.
It is the preferred structuring of the family unit as an economic engine that is the root issue, not nebulous society recognition. All her evidence shows that the issue is exactly that of not being able to have it all. Regardless of gender, you can be the best if single or be the best if supported (via a specialized role within a familial structure). Hardly anyone achieves both professional excellence AND parental excellence simultaneously. Division of labor allows a couple to achieve excellence in both domains (one excellent professional and one excellent parent) and therefore via a family unit you can vicariously have the best of both worlds, but more rarely as an individual or as a couple with equally shared roles.
I don't think this is a retrograde conclusion; it brings clarity to life decisions and choices. Figure out what you are willing to do and want to do, understand the likely consequences, make your decision.