Academic Challenges: Sexism

Posted on October 31, 2017 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

From the student level to tenured faculty, academia poses a vast set of challenges. Every two weeks, Al-Diwan brings you a collection of articles and perspectives that touch upon one problem within academia. This week's focus is sexism.

The Sexism That Permeates the Academy
By Peggy O’Donnell (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

While teaching at West Point, Peggy O’Donnell became well acquainted with sexism in an academic setting. West Point does not have a monopoly on sexism in academia, but O’Donnell says that the sexism at West point is “unique in a way that could serve as a warning,” and lesson in understanding the longstanding effects of gender hierarchies.

The gender bias in peer reviewing reveals the sexism in academia
By Neha Thirani Bagri (Quartz) 

The low number of female peer reviewers in STEM fields is a less considered manifestation of sexism in academia. However, there are severe consequences for having fewer female peer reviewers, especially when it comes to hiring, promotions, grants, and conference invitations.

Writing About Sexism in Academia Hurts
By Kelly J. Baker (Chronicle Vitae)

“Scholars shouldn’t just study what comforts us; we need to examine what unsettles us, and why,” says Kelly J. Baker. It is with this mindset that she approaches writing about sexism in academia. Initially thinking that she would run out of material after a few months, Baker now confronts the sad reality that there is enough material for her to continue writing on sexism until the end of time.

Yes, I Got Tenure – And A Lot of Grief Along The Way
By Ellen Meara (WBUR) 

Tracing some of the many subtle sexist comments that she experienced on the road to tenure and after earning tenure, Ellen Meara brings up the role sexism plays in making academia a “leaky pipeline” for women.

100 Years of Sexism: An AAUW Fellow Reflects on Women’s Treatment in Academia
By Teal Gregory (AAUW)

Elizabeth Colson, a professor emerita of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, reflected last year on the state of academia for women today. Recalling the experiences she went through as a student at Radcliffe College and then when she was faculty member. Comments she made on hiring practices years ago still ring true today.

To Be Seen, Not Heard at the Boys’ Table: Sexism in Academia
By Anonymous (Write Where it Hurts)

Academic conferences can be spaces for conversation on a variety of topics; however, panels are also a space for sexism in academia to become apparent at any moment. The author of this piece recounts how the moderator of the panel—in his tone and time keeping skills—made the experience one marked by frustration.  

Getting Schooled for My Sexism
By Karen Kelsky (The Professor is In)

For Karen Kelsky, her own internalized sexism was brought to the fore by a female senior professor Kelsky brought to campus early in her career. The guest professor’s comment never left her and helped Kelsky start to realize the added expectations of being “available,” open to “pitching in,” and putting in a little bit of “extra” work.

A Different Kind of Academic Performance: Using the Arts to Address Sexism in Australian Universities
By Emily Gray, Mindy Blaise, and Linda Knight (Australian Association for Research on Education) 

Speaking out every time they experienced something sexist was exhausting for Emily Gray, Mindy Blaise, and Linda Knight, and it often cam with consequences. To bring a conversation on sexism in academia to light, these three created #FEAS-Feminist Educators Against Sexism and they use performance art to connect the history of feminism with creating change in academia.

Female academics face huge sexist bias – no wonder there are so few of them
By Laura Bates (The Guardian)

RateMyProfessor.com is well used by students to get a better sense of faculty teaching styles. Benjamin Schmidt, an assistant professor at Northeastern University, though, “created an online tool that allows users to compare the frequency of particular words in evaluations of male and female professors,” and the difference in word choices between reviews left on male versus female profiles is stark.

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