Grothe makes diversity a priority

This is funny/interesting. From Jennifer Ouellette’s piece on the cold climate for women among atheists and skeptics:

Foster top-down change. Leadership, especially male leadership, needs to set the tone for what is and is not acceptable in a community…

JREF president DJ Grothe did just that when, a few days before TAM9, he openly addressed the rift caused by “Elevatorgate” and made it clear that unwanted sexual advances or other harassing behavior were unacceptable, and grounds for being ejected from the conference. Grothe also deserves credit for making diversity a priority in his selection of speakers and topic. That’s the mark of a true leader, and the JREF is lucky to have him.

What’s funny/interesting about that is that I briefly talked about the subject with DJ right here, four years ago, after I’d spent a couple of weeks at CFI in Amherst. I pointed out what a boys’ club it was (and it certainly was) and DJ commented to say yes it is, and he was always trying to improve the situation.

(Also funny/interesting, given that, that he’s never invited me to talk at TAM. Then again maybe it’s not; I’m probably just boring.)

(I did a talk last night [or rather a reading] and I was certainly boring then, but then they forgot to give me the dinner they’d promised [and because of which I hadn’t already eaten an early dinner] or anything to drink other than water in a plastic cup plus it was dark plus it was noisy, because in a bar. You’d be boring too with all that.)

Ah yes, I found it. Leaving Amherst.

I tell you what though: it is a boys’ club. I’m sorry to say that, but it is. (You know it is, you CfI people, if any of you are reading this. Look up the hall, look down the hall; look up and down the other hall; you know what you see. Consider, and repent.) That’s probably not entirely its fault though: on average women seem not to be as interested in this kind of thing as men are. I find that highly irritating, and also all the more reason for me to remain very interested, and to redouble my efforts to annoy everyone within hearing on the subject. If there are fewer women, then the women there are have to be all the more noisy and obstreperous.

That was then. There are more women now. Or the same number but they’re more noisy and obstreperous. Or some of both.

Here’s DJ’s brief comment. Little did we (at least I) know then…

I think youre absolutely right about it being a boy’s club, Ophelia. For what it is worth, in my time here, five of the six employees I have hired are females, but that is a drop in the bucket in this place.

Yep. It really was very male.

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