“It’s all incredibly demoralizing”

Posted: November 13, 2012 by Jender in failure to take women seriously, harassment, objectifying women, sexual comments, sexual harassment

I was just filling out a survey for philosophical society X. It includes this question:

“What changes would you like to see in future X meetings to improve the overall climate?”

While trying to answer the question I realized just how subtle but persistent, ubiquitous, and discouraging my experience of discrimination at conferences has been. Here’s what I ended up writing:

“Sorry, I really don’t know how to fix this stuff institutionally. All I can really say is, I wish the people in my field were less sexist. I am an advanced graduate student at the top of my class, in a prestigious program, with several first-rate publications. And I’m quite well-networked, so I get invited to all the dinners and parties and such. But I can’t think of a time, at this or any other conference, that I’ve gotten asked about my work, or for my assessment of others’ work, by a male prof in one of the many social-professional settings offered by such meetings. I do, however, get hit on extensively by these supposed mentors. And after presenting I have been asked, on more than one occasion, if I really made all my slides myself. I’m sure most of the misogyny is unintentional, the academic neglect accidental, and that the kind of attention I do get is supposed to be flattering. But really it’s all incredibly demoralizing. I feel seriously disadvantaged by my gender.”

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