Monday, May 9, 2011

This Month (this semester) in Sexism

We don't make this stuff up.
  • The president of our university sent an email inviting all male faculty members, staff and (male) spouses to his home for a "Men's Steak Dinner." Follow-up for us: the "Ladies' Spring Picni."
  • How about the male colleague who applauds me for all I do, and then asks - at least three times - "Do you have children?" (implied: "Ah, that explains it") or "You don't have children, do you?" 
  • Recently the University Librarian at McMaster organized an important agenda-setting symposium on the "Future of Academic Libraries." Of a possible 21 speakers, in the initial lineup were only 3 women - the rest men. Egregious in any context, but particularly insulting given that, according to CAUT statistics, a walloping 73% of Canadian academic librarians are women. Adding insult to injury, librarian bloggers who called out the organizers on the omission were accused of being disingenuous, "rattling the cage" and practicing reverse sexism. 
  • At a day-long, required meeting/professional development/conference, I watched a male administrator cut off, completely misunderstand, and then talk over a female instructor who was trying to ask a legitimate question. The morning of the conference thing was devoted to (mostly) male administrators telling us about their jobs and what they are doing to supposedly help us (but really, it was about how we needed to do better), and then the afternoon was devoted to the (mostly) female instructors (all instructors, not one of us on the tenure-track) talking about what we did in the classroom. Not one administrator stayed for our presentations. Not. One.

    I know how I feel about this: insulted, disrespected, and a little humiliated. And really, really angry. I've always been surrounded by strong female role models, so I could "hide" from the reality. But not any more. In a contingent position, however, I don't know what I can do. 
La lucha continua.

2 comments:

  1. Oh wow. This one really packed a punch. Not a lot of bullets this semester, thank goodness, but the ones here are in fact real doozies. Ouch.

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  2. It's worth noting that, notoriously, the head librarian at Mac is moving to stop hiring professional librarians (in favour of PhDs from other fields). This might be one reason he would have had trouble recruiting speakers from the heavily female ranks of academic librarians.

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