On being viewed as a token

Posted: July 15, 2013 by Jender in women are tokens

I always enjoyed philosophy. When I decided to go into a PhD program, I don’t think I was prepared for what I experienced as a woman in the department. I was the only woman in the PhD program (albeit it was a very small department). Soon, I found myself on several committees. This was very exciting for me. Throughout my college and even high school career, I had always been a part of department, joining academic clubs, attending and/or running student conferences, etc. I learned about 2 years in that the only reason I was accepted and on the committees was because I was a woman. This was really hard to digest. I constantly questioned whether I was *good* enough to get a PhD in Philosophy. Thankfully my advisor was great and he tried to go to bat for me on several occasions. But unfortunately he was the only one. During my entire time, I had the impression that I was only a statistic for the department. This left a definite sour taste in my mouth so much so that I changed my discipline entirely to receive a masters in another area where I could work outside of the academy. Though sometimes I think what might have been had I soldiered on in Philosophy, I am much happier in my new profession where I am known for the work I do and not because I’m a statistic.

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