Re: [OPE] Women and OPE-L

From: <>
Date: Mon Sep 08 2008 - 09:13:55 EDT

Hi Howard:

You ask good questions and raise legitimate concerns.

There are eleven (11) current subscribers (from 8 nations) who are
women. Two (2) of the twenty-six (26) former subscribers are women.

There have been some postings in the last year from our women subscribers,
but not many.

I'm not sure which Italian women you are referring to below (and hence
can't say whether they were sent invitations), but there have been
invitations sent out over a period of many years to many other Marxist
women who - at some point in their lives - have shown an interest in some
of the topics we discuss on the list. The reasons cited for non-acceptance
of invitations by these comrades has always been personal and related to
time constraints and other commitments.

In any event, a few points should be made:

* As you suggest below, this is not simply a 'numbers' question. It's a
matter of creating and reproducing a culture on the list in which women
comrades will want to participate. This relates both to _what_ we discuss
and _how_ we discuss.

* As you know from attending conferences on political economy (such as the
former mini-cnferences organized by the IWGVT), this is a problem that
goes well beyond this list. Quite simply, there are not a lot of women (or
men, for that matter!) who are currently doing research and writing on
topics concerning Marxian political economy. Still less have a concern for
value theory. It is worthwhile asking why this is the case.

* Most importantly, from my perspective; who is on the list is a
consequence of who is recommended by listmembers. As I have repeatedly
emphasized over the years, we are a collaborative group and this means
that each member should take responsibility for improving our discussions
and making recommendations. I don't want to - and I don't think the list
wants me to - 'micro-manage' the list to the point where I look around the
world and make recommendations myself for new members. I want *YOU* (by
which I mean not just you, Howard, but everyone else on the list) to make
recommendations. BUT, please do so *OFF-LIST*. It's not fair to the
individuals concerned to have an on-list discussion about whether a person
should be invited and we could not have a frank discussion knowing that
everything would be preserved in our searchable archives. So, my
suggestion is that if you have specific people in mind, please contact me
off-list. At that point, I can tell you whether the person or persons have
already been invited in the past and, if so, what happened. If the person
has never been invited before then you should be prepared to motivate the
person and provide some arguments and information about why she/he would
be a valuable addition to the list.

In solidarity, Jerry

> Many thanks to Jerry for providing the update on OPE-L. I am
> concerned that I can recall none of the 2800 posts that were by
> women. No doubt I missed some. Also I suspect very few women are
> among the 95 subscribers, though I don't know the actual figures. On
> that score we can claim an age well beyond our calendar years -- we
> resemble nothing so much as a conversation among very very old
> leftists. I do recall two interesting posts forwarded to the list
> over the last two years by two Italian marxist women and wonder
> whether invitations have been extended to them or persons like
> them. The list needs affirmative action. Also it may very well be
> that it takes a critical mass for women to participate comfortably
> and often. One or two additions may not have any effect.

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Received on Mon Sep 8 09:23:42 2008

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