Archive for the ‘Children’ Category


Posted: June 27, 2016 by jennysaul in Bad news, Children, Uncategorized

Few years ago I was working at a university as Research Assistant in the Philosophy Department. I was there more than a year working with a senior female professor in the area of female thinker of the country. One day when my baby sitter was unwell I took my one year old daughter with me to the department as there was no one at home to take care of. Whole day I was sitting in my room working. Next day I was told that they do not need my assistance anymore.

Later I found out that one of the male faculty (he said that I shouldn’t be bringing kids to the workplace)in the department complained that he was terribly disturbed because my daughter was making noise. Actually she was sleeping half time and other half she was in the garden with some of my friends. Even the female professor I was working with made a hasty decision to remove me from job without giving me a chance to say anything.

One fine day I lost my job, after that I continued teaching philosophy and other stuff but I lost a good opportunity to work.

A highly abridged list of incidents:

I got excellent teaching evaluations from my students. But the Chair discounted the report citing the my “good looks” and NOT my “teaching” as the explanation for the high marks.

I was repeatedly denied a raise and told among other reasons that I didn’t need one because I didn’t have “a family” or “children” and that I just thought that I was “better than everyone else.”

I was initially denied an office and told that I shouldn’t have expected one because I “failed to negotiate for it” and I shouldn’t complain because I was “lucky to have a job” despite turning down several other offers. Then they tried to put my office in Women’s Studies.

I was repeatedly the subject of discussions about the fit of my clothing and general appearance. I was told that I need to “dress” like “an adult” “behave like an adult,” but probably cannot/will not until I have “real responsibilities” (i.e. children).

I arrived on campus and met with several undergraduates who report sexual harassment and discrimination by a certain professor in my department. I report the incident to the Chair with substantiating documentation and it is ignored. The offender is then given emeritus status so he can retain his office on campus to meet with students.

I was required to meet with faculty assistance center social worker and eventually ADA officer for special permissions to have my dog on campus (which was agreed to prior to accepting the position) while no male faculty member with a dog (of which there are several on our floor) was required to do so.

I go up for tenure and I am told by the Chair that my friends cannot write letters for me. When I explain that my area is very small and that my colleagues in the area of expertise are all friends, the Chair says “you know what I mean….” intimating that my relationship with these colleagues was sexual.

I came very close to getting a tenure-track job this year, but ultimately I didn’t get it. It’s always incredibly frustrating and depressing to come so close to a TT job and then not get it, but this most recent time, I got an extra special kick of sorrow. You see, I’m not just someone stuck in an NTT position, I’m also a 31 year old woman. I’m a 31 year-old woman who wants a family. I want children. And I’m starting to notice, I’m running out of time.

The prospect of a TT job, for me, is the prospect of job security. It means the possibility of maternity leave — being able to get pregnant, have a baby, and recover, without having to give up my job for it. That’s not something I have, currently. I love philosophy, and I love this profession. I feel the motivation to keep suffering through the horrible job market, year after year, even if by the skin of my teeth, so I have a chance of contributing significantly to the world of professional philosophy. And yet, I grow increasingly worried that continuing to stay in this profession will come to imply the sacrifice of the chance to have children.

Importantly, as a student, not once did someone suggest that motherhood should be a larger priority for me than philosophy. This is most definitely a good thing. I feel quite lucky, to have avoided any such insulting, alienating comments as a student. It wouldn’t have done me any good: as a 21 year-old woman, I didn’t feel time-sensitive pressure to procreate. It is just now, as a 31 year-old, after having struggled and failed so often already to secure a permanent job, that I feel a deep anxiety growing.

And then there’s the fact that I am currently a sexually active 31 year-old woman. We use protection, but there is always the chance of failure. What would I do then, if I were to become pregnant accidentally? What could I do, with a much-wanted but unexpected pregnancy and without a permanent job from which I can take maternity leave? I don’t have the answers, and my anxiety grows deeper.