Got me some new classmates, 75 of them, in fact. Together, we make up the MLIS class of 2013. A cohort of 76 people initially seems very big to me, having come from a program where a class a third of that size was considered unusually large. However, compared to past MLIS cohorts, as well as other professional schools (law, medicine, MBA), I’m convinced that 76 is rather modest. I’m not sure what is the driver behind this low number, but my first guess is that the reduced budget of the UC schools means that fewer applicants can be admitted. I deplore the terrible finances of the system, but given the tight labor market facing graduates, I believe that programs are acting responsibly in admitting (and producing) fewer students. Whether they have done so enough, I cannot yet judge.
In our midst of 76, roughly 10 (or less) are XX chromosomes carriers. Now, yours truly flatters herself that she can get along well with boys and girls alike (and even serious adults!). I’ve had both male and female bosses, roommates, close friends, and no evidence has emerged thus far to contradict this self-flattery. Nonetheless, I’m not blind to sex (except when it comes to you, my readers, who I consider all sex-encompassing), and imbalances certainly strike me. The Economist has an article this week summarizing findings that “women cluster in communications, retail, and public administration, including education and health”. These are “low-paid fields”, and “globally, women earn 10-30% less than men”. I also recall some statistics documenting that as the percentage of women workers in a profession increases, the average wage in the profession decreases.
I’m worried. (It’s what I do.) However, I foresee that interacting with my classmates, attending classes, working, doing outreach and a million other things will soon have me humming with excitement, and possibly bursting into an off-key rendition of “It’s a beautiful lworld”.