In the next couple of weeks, I'll be roaming around giving some more talks on my research, mostly at universities I haven't visited recently, if ever. I am looking forward to the visits, although there is one thing that has been bothering me in a low-level back-of-the-mind kind of way. A few of the universities are in the same region/country where I did my postdoc, and I know I am going to be asked "How did you like being at University A?". Possible answers, all true:
- It was a beautiful city and I met some nice people.
- I really enjoyed starting on some interesting new research projects.
- I was so extremely harassed by male professors, technicians, and grad students that I left after a year, and it was by far the most hostile place for women I have ever encountered, which is saying a lot.
I have heard that University A has changed a lot in the past decade, including hiring several women faculty. The most evil technician was fired (for being unproductive with his work, perhaps because he was spending too much time threatening and humiliating women), the most evil professors retired, and the most loathsome grad student (who liked to tell me that it's too bad that it is becoming socially unacceptable for men to hit 'girls') got his PhD but never got a faculty position.
So, if asked, I will say something noncommittal but not particularly enthusiastic. I can certainly say some positive things about my postdoc supervisor, who is a very nice person, although terminally clueless. (example: "I don't know why you're having so much trouble with Technician Bob, none of my other postdocs -- George, Sam, Harry, and Trevor -- have had any trouble with him.").
6 years ago