[INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

KORN Agnes Agnes.KORN at cnrs.fr
Tue Apr 2 09:48:50 UTC 2019

Dear colleague,

The clause you cite automatically appears in any job advertisement in Austria and Germany in the public sector. It is a legal requirement and has nothing to do with the university or department in question. Such clauses were installed at some point because of (among other things) the appallingly low number of female professors (some 14% or so at the time the legislation was introduced).

This number has slightly risen over the last decade, but so far as I can see this is chiefly due to more women available with the necessary qualifications; i.e. in percentage to women with those qualifications, the recruitments of women have not risen.

Having been a member of the women’s council at the university of Frankfurt for over 10 years (where, for instance, the faculty of medicine was composed of 80 professors, of which no women (0%)), I can assure you that discrimination continues in spite of all these clauses.


From: INDOLOGY [mailto:indology-bounces at list.indology.info] On Behalf Of Aleix Ruiz Falqués via INDOLOGY
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2019 11:11 AM
To: Audrey Truschke
Cc: Indology List
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Sexism and Bias on INDOLOGY governing committee

Dear Audrey,

I am sure that there are a thousand things that can be improved. I think I know how you feel. Please see the following clause in one of the jobs I applied for, in Vienna, realted to Indology:

The University pursues a non-discriminatory employment policy and values equal opportunities, as well as diversity (http://diversity.univie.ac.at/). The University lays special emphasis on increasing the number of women in senior and in academic positions. Given equal qualifications, preference will be given to female applicants.

So much for non-discrimination.

Best wishes,


On Tue, 2 Apr 2019 at 14:25, Audrey Truschke via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am writing to call your attention to the entrenched, worsening sexism I have been experiencing on the INDOLOGY governing committee over the past year or so (I have served on the committee for six years). Other committee members have warned me not to publicly discuss the bullying and abuse that I have faced from them in private. I break my silence and go against their explicit instructions here.

I have repeatedly faced sexism within the INDOLOGY governing committee, ranging from patronizing comments to silencing of discussions about bias to overtly different standards applied to male and female members of the committee and list. I have tried many times to raise these issues internally among the committee and privately with specific individuals. I have been met with blanket denials, belittling of my concerns, declarations that discussing sexism is not a substantive issue, accusations of being a troublemaker, and flat out refusals to discuss gender issues. Indology as a discipline has deep-seated issues with male privilege, discrimination against female scholars, and even outright misogyny. The issues within INDOLOGY's male-dominated governing committee are arguably a reflection of this larger set of problems that systematically drives women out of the discipline. If Indology or INDOLOGY are going to survive in any worthwhile form, we must face our ongoing issues of sexism and bias. I have made numerous suggestions to the INDOLOGY governing committee in this regard, including striving for gender parity on the committee by adding more female members, conducting committee business more openly as a check on bullying, and undergoing bias training. I hope the committee follows up on these suggestions. But, to date, I have seen only a desire to circle the wagons and deny bias, rather than any serious attempt to make the committee or the list a more equitable place.

Last week, following another case where I documented and called out a committee member for acting with bias, that committee member wrote that if he were in my position, he would consider resigning from the committee. In other words, if I find members of the INDOLOGY committee discriminate against women, then I should bow out. I find that suggestion highly inappropriate, and I do not acquiesce to it here. But I will no longer serve as a punching bag for men who insist I keep quiet.

I expect to face significant pushback and recriminations for shedding light on the dark underbelly of the INDOLOGY governing committee. But, unlike many of my fellow committee members, I think that this is an issue for the list at large. Many of us, myself included, find scholarly value in this listserv. But knowledge exists within power structures, and I find that I can no longer stomach what I have to overlook in order to quietly run this forum. I think it is time for us to talk about the key issues of bias and sexism facing our discipline that make women unwelcome at every turn, including in running this listserv.

All the best,


Audrey Truschke
Assistant Professor
Department of History
Rutgers University-Newark
INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info<mailto:INDOLOGY at list.indology.info>
indology-owner at list.indology.info<mailto:indology-owner at list.indology.info> (messages to the list's managing committee)
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Aleix Ruiz-Falqués
Pali Lecturer
Head of the Department of Pali and Languages
Shan State Buddhist University
Phaya Phyu, Taunggyi, Myanmar 140101
(+95) 09428757648

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