So this is where the girls are hanging out.

The SMT has a pretty substantial gender imbalance. A few years ago it feel from 30% women to something like 28%, and it hasn't really picked up. Despite efforts of the Committee for the Status of Women (CSW) to address this, women seem to have a problem getting into the field in the first place, and then they often leave after obtaining a masters, or before entering the job market with their PhDs.

Obviously the CSW hasn't been to the University of Western Ontario. All the girls here are in our theory program. In the degree right now there are (I think) 11 women and 3 men. It's completely unlike any other department I've ever come across.

This guy, Derek, did his masters at UWO and now he's getting a PhD at CUNY. I think he spent his Western days surrounded by girls.

This is Gretta. It was her birthday on Halloween, so her classmates brought her a piece of chocolate cake during the UWO reception.

This is Gretta and Nancy, who did her masters at UWO and is doing a PhD at University of British Columbia. Thanks to Nancy I finally know of a place to get my hair cut in London.

On Friday night there we went out to a bar called St. Elizabeth's Pub. On Saturday, we went to the school reception and then the informal "after-party," where we had long, profound discussions about such things as whether or not most girls look good in leggings, and whether or not the subconscious exists.

After a night like the first one where we stayed out late at St. Elizabeth's, Little Emilie (the shortest of the three and also youngest) and I went to Eggspectations for breakfast.

I had a crepe with poached eggs, ham, and Gruyere. Also, their potatoes were perfect.

The hollandaise on the side was how I rationalized this food.


  1. Aww, I'm one of those "left with a master's" girls! But it wasn't Theory's fault. For me it was just about personal priorities. I can't speak for anyone else, though.
    Haha, I just gave Theory the "it's not you, it's me" speech. Sorry, Theory! ;)

  2. Your reason - while quite common - is a good one. It's not easy to have a family while in academia, and the SMT only *kind of* wants to address that. I'm hoping to be the grad rep for the CSW, and I think childcare is something we need to work on a little more. They spent some time researching it this year, but the executive board kind of shot it down.

    Anyways, what I mean is, I completely respect your decision. But the fact that it's so common causes the SMT some concern.

  3. And by concern, I mean that it's odd that the other musical societies (AMS, SEM, etc) have at least 50% female membership. It's hard for them to figure out why SMT would be different.

  4. That food is beautiful. And anything on the side totally makes up for whatever you ate.

    I think it was written in one of the discarded books of the New Testament.

  5. Oh man, it was delicious. I love me some breakfast food.

  6. Yeah, I thought about the whole family/childcare thing, too. I'm surprised and fascinated at the discrepancy between musicology and music theory. I presume musicology departments don't offer childcare services, either, so now I'm really intrigued!
    Could the gender preference have more to do with the discipline itself than the conditions? I'm curious what kinds of things have been brought up during the round-table discussions that I've tragically never been able to take part in?

  7. It does seem to be an issue with the discipline, though it's hard to pin-point what exactly that issue is. Theory seemingly has the same problems as other academic disciplines when it comes to lifestyle and women's issues, but there's still such a gap. I wonder if it has something to do with the nature of music theoretical discourse, though this is complicated (I have no training in gender theory, of course), and it may not also be bloggable, if you know what I mean. It think it's a hard topic for people to talk about it because it plays on issues they'd rather not think about.
    One cool thing the CSW does (besides try to figure out what the deal is with the gender gap) is to pair younger female theorists up with older scholars who can help us put together abstracts to submit to the SMT conferences. I signed up - I'm excited to see who I get paired with. It helps balance out the number of female presenters, at least, and it grows each year.
    Sadly, one male theory student told me that he wanted to go to the meeting but wasn't sure if he'd be welcome, and that's disappointing to me, because gender equality is not just about women. It's a deep-running issue for a lot of people on both sides, I guess.

  8. We have a gender imbalance in musicology, too, it just plays out slightly differently: there tend to be fewer women in tenured and tenure-track jobs, they are paid less, and women are much more likely to take part-time and adjunct appointments, of which there are more of in musicology than theory (on account of the necessity to have someone other than a trained monkey to teach appreciation).

  9. Interesting...Thanks for weighing in, Jess. I will say, though, that theorists are often asked to teach appreciation, or fundamentals, because the tenured faculty don't want to do it anymore.

  10. Yeah, I know what you mean, Abby. It is a touchy subject for so many people. How sad that a guy didn't think he would be welcome! I hope he didn't think he would be heading into a room of feminazi's or something.
    I'm just going to come out and say that in the fight for gender equality, I feel like some people have lost the ability to acknowledge that, while men and women should be treated equally, they can still be very different in terms of thought process, personality, lifestyle, and the like. It sounds like the CSW is trying to embrace and work with that fact, rather than sweep it under the rug as taboo, which makes me happy. People are different. Genders, cultures, generations, people are different, and it should be okay to talk about.