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Science professor job opening limited to only women, trans, non-binary or two-spirit folk

A job vacancy at Canada’s University of Waterloo is advertised as only open to “qualified individuals who self-identify as women, transgender, non-binary, or two-spirit.”

The opening, in the school’s Faculty of Environment, requests a PhD-level scholar in “geography, earth and/or environmental science and sustainability, planning or a related discipline” who has “evidence of an active research program with emphasis on climate and/or climate change science, water science and sustainability, or future cities.”

A qualified candidate also will have to develop an “innovative program of high-quality research that will attract external funding and excellent, well qualified and diverse graduate students.”

According to LGBTQ Health.ca, a two-spirit person is one who “identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit.” The term was coined in 1990 by Myra Laramee at the Third Annual Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference.

“Two-spirit” also may include “same-sex attraction and a wide variety of gender variance, including people who might be described in Western culture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, gender queer, cross-dressers or who have multiple gender identities,” the site states.

The job advertisement includes an italicized, standard disclaimer about “valu[ing] diverse and intersectional identities” and encourages inquiries from those “who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized.”

But it notes that “this particular selection process” follows guidelines set forth by the Ontario Human Rights Commission to address the “underrepresentation of individuals from equity-deserving groups.”

This is how the University of Waterloo, a public university, can legally limit the demographic for this job opening. Section 14 of the Ontario Human Rights Code states “it is not discrimination” to establish a program designed to “relieve hardship or economic disadvantage, help disadvantaged people or groups to achieve, or try to achieve, equal opportunity or help eliminate discrimination.”

To deal with how the want ad states applicants only have to “self-identify” as non-binary, two-spirit, etc., any applicant will have to complete an “Applicant Equity Survey,” which features the following queries:

The want ad also provides a land acknowledgement, noting “much of [U. Waterloo’s] work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples” and that its “active work toward reconciliation takes place across [its] campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building.”

MORE: Job ad for science professor: Whites, Asians need not apply

IMAGES: Vector bucket/Shutterstock.com; U. Waterloo screencaps

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.