On introducing speakers

Posted: April 17, 2012 by Jender in double standards, trivialising women

I attended a fabulous session at the Pacific APA this week that opened with dismaying introductions. There was one primary speaker (a male) and two commentators (one male and one female). The male chair opened the session by introducing all three presenters. When introducing both men he mentioned several of their notable publications and spoke very highly of each of them. He then introduced the woman by stating her name and institutional affiliation; that was it. He did not mention any of her publications (of which she has many!), nor did he “talk her up” in the way he did the two men.

I leaned over and whispered to the female graduate student from my department who was attending the session with me that the introductions seemed sexist to me. She said that she had been thinking the same thing and was glad that I had said something. At least I was able to validate her interpretation of this event as an instance of sexism, though I failed to speak up more vocally on behalf of my accomplished female colleague.

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