Why don’t we use checklists to remind us to include women in our readings and gender in our analyses? Bureaucracies use checklists all the time. I use checklists when I’m packing for a trip; suitcase manufacturers include templates. We’ve documented cognitive biases that lead everyone, men and women, to denigrate or forget women’s work, and to exclude gender as a category of analysis.
Checklists take out the contention and focus on the goal. If they work at all, they require that we agree on the goal. The suitcase company has to want me to pack what I need. All the strategic planning, learning assessments, and diversity language in universities is hinting we could at least in principle agree on the goal of inclusion. University leadership needs to make that point clear.
A terrific new symposium in PS gives multiple examples of how to mainstream gender in specific courses. A panel I’m on Thursday at APSA this week is inviting more examples of mainstreaming gender, so I started thinking about a strategy to organize individual cases in an era of information overload. We know there’s no shortage of work; making it more available helps but a general strategy could remind us not to keep overlooking women’s work in politics and political science. A computer and an internet connection, a checklist and a commitment could help organize the surfeit of information that surrounds us. I look forward to talking about self-regulatory strategies on Thursday. All the sociolegal literature on regulatory strategies–on nudging, on goal setting, on not following rules for their own sake–can help us start with good will and improve our courses and scholarship.