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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: Blinky Bill on Lateline

Bill Shorten must be hoping that this issue of what Prime Minister Julia Gillard knew and did back in the 1990s goes away.

Richard Farmer

Crikey political commentator

Marks for bravery. I have to give Bill Shorten marks for bravery. He was on a hiding to nothing by going on the ABC’s Lateline has night but he did not squib it and subjected himself to a grilling about those historical problems of his old union the AWU. But that being said, the Workforce Minister looked decidedly uncomfortable. How he must be hoping that this issue of what Prime Minister Julia Gillard knew and did back in the 1990s goes away.

Coalition lead continues. Not much movement in the Crikey Election Indicator over the last month despite the slight improvement in Labor’s position as shown by the opinion polls. The Coalition remains a very firm favourite to win the next election.

Interest rates to the rescue? Perhaps the board of the Reserve Bank will give things a boost for the government at its meeting next month. The market is pointing in the direction of a fall in the official rate being more likely than not.

Proof of that male bias. What equality of the s-xes? Not if men have anything to do with organising it. New research confirms that male-organised scientific symposia have only half as many women presenters as symposia organized by women.

Lynne Isbell and colleagues from the University of California, Davis, analysed women scientists’ participation at major scientific conferences for primate scientists and anthropologists, where symposia are largely by invitation but posters and other talks are initiated by participants. They found that within the field of primatology, women give more posters than talks, whereas men give more talks than posters. Their analysis also shows that symposia organized by men on average included half the number of women authors (29%) than symposia organized by women or both men and women (58 to 64%).

They describe their results as particularly surprising given that primatology is a field with a significant history of women scientists. In their discussion of these findings, the authors say, “Regardless of the cause of gender bias against women in invitations to prestigious symposia, its discovery requires attention in a field that is exemplary in being gender-blind in so many other ways.”

Lynne Isbell adds, “It is difficult to imagine in this day and age that a gender bias by men against women in primatology could exist, but the evidence clearly reveals the sad truth. If it is still happening in a science that is so heavily represented by women, what does that mean for other sciences where women remain in the minority?”

News and views noted along the way.


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One thought on “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: Blinky Bill on Lateline

  1. alan smith

    I recently saw that you posted a article last year about bega cheese not making their own cheese.
    You sir are a liar?? I work for bega cheese as an maintenance person.Are you suggesting that all the milk that gets delivered
    goes down the drain.I see the milk come in,see it pasturised,go into vats then pressed into 20kg blocks
    to then be cut down into various products.I suggest you meet me at the plant and i will take you on a tour and show you.How can you blatantly
    lie about what goes on.If bega doesnt make cheese then where is all the milk going to.How come i have to repair cheese vats and various equipment.
    Ask Coles where does bega cheese come from (They just awarded us a contract to produce their slices.
    What sort of journalist are you???? or do you work for a competitor??