While women in academia face a lot of issues specific to academia, there’s a lot of issues they face that are faced by working women everywhere. So I thought it would be good to start putting all the articles about this in one place.
Here’s a few to start with. Unfortunately they’re all rather depressing.
Mansplaining: how not to talk to female Nasa astronauts
Ah, mansplaining. It’s not a new phenomenon, but if social media has done anything positive, it’s making ‘the public’ (by which I mean men) aware of how prevalent this sort of behaviour is. What I loved about this article was the rejection of the idea that this is something for women to deal with,
However… the way to fix it isn’t simply to suggest that women need to be more assertive, as we are often told. The problem doesn’t spring from hesitant women wringing their hands and dithering until a heroic man rides in and provides an explanation. The aforementioned astronaut, astrophysicist, Marine Corp veteran and Olympic cyclist hardly fit that description.
No, it arises when men are brought up in a world that teaches them that their knowledge and opinions are worth more than those of a far more qualified woman. It happens when some men act on these ingrained assumptions. And its impact, particularly in the workplace, can go far beyond the initial annoyance. The only way to stop it is to change the narrative that sets up male contributions as superior in the first place, not to “train” women to deal with it later on.
Obama’s Female Staffers Came Up With a Genius Strategy to Make Sure Their Voices Were Heard
Next up is an article I find really depressing but I seem to be in the minority. Every article I’ve seen has touted how this is a ‘genius’ or ‘brilliant’ strategy. It’s not. It’s a good idea though one that really shouldn’t be necessary in the 21st century, but I think that rather than praising the strategy we should be asking why it’s needed. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, it’s not, but it smacks of those ‘one simple trick to lose weight’ ads that promise so much only to lead to disappointment. It seems to imply that being heard in meetings is simply a matter of all the women supporting each other but things are rarely that simple. What if you don’t agree with an idea? What if you’re the only woman in the room? What if the men start realising that you’re all supporting each other and think that you’re just being a ‘clique’ and begin to ignore you all? More fundamentally, it puts the onus on women to get heard rather than getting men to start listening and doesn’t seem to do anything to address the culture that makes these sorts of strategies necessary.
On-Site Daycare Is Disappearing as a Company Perk
The title says it all and all I can do is despair.