After writing about general academic issues in The Chronicle of Higher Education for the past year or so, I wrote a column specifically about being a Female Science Professor. Predictably, there are a mix of negative and positive comments, but most are positive, much like the comments to posts on that topic here in the FSP blog.
The first comment to appear in the CHE re. my column, however, was a classic one: men in other fields have it hard too, a woman has won a Nobel Prize in physics so women physicists "ain't all that rare", and I should "shut up".
In the column, I picked almost at random a few example incidents to mention about my experiences as a Female Science Professor. In the comments, there are examples of other sexist incidents, all of which I have also experienced. This gave me the idea to make a list of all the ones mentioned -- and ask blog readers to add to the list -- and then we can check off the ones we've personally experienced. Kind of like Sexism Bingo, but in list form.
Here's what I've got so far:
__ Someone who has read your papers and doesn't know you assumes the papers were written by a man.
__ Someone mentions that hiring/including women might involve a lowering of standards.
__ Someone refuses to believe a woman is a professor (extra credit if disbelief persists after being told unambiguously that a woman is a professor).
__ A particular person (student or colleague) routinely and aggressively questions the knowledge/expertise/authority of a female professor but does not do so with male professors.
__ Someone assumes that your co-author is your adviser rather than a colleague, even though you have been out of grad school for quite a while.
__ Someone says, contrary to the data, that in fact women aren't all that rare in your field because they know (or know of) at least one.
__ The men in your field are simply known as scientists or engineers or researchers etc., but you are typically referred to as a female scientist, female engineer, female researcher etc.
__ When you are in the department office, visitors assume you are an administrative assistant (extra credit if people, including students, command you to do a task for them without even asking if this is your job).
__ Someone tells you that you shouldn't complain about sexism because men have difficult lives too.
1 month ago