“Females Invisible To Faculty”

The incident began when a very senior member of my faculty interrupted a conversation I was having with several senior members of the administration and he completely ignored me and didn’t shake my hand and then explained he was late because he was doing ‘real work’ (clearly implying that I was doing something else). Then a few minutes later, in conversation with the vice-rector for diversity, another professor (one who publicly groped a female friend of mine my first year in belgium at the x-mas party) made the comment that for a faculty with so few female professors, we were well represented at this particular presentation on gender at the university. I thought yes that’s true there are three of us here. What he said was “we should be proud that two of us are here'”, clearly forgetting I was in the faculty. I have never felt more invisible and less at home in the faculty.

Story signed by: Frustrated By Being Excluded

This story happened to me as a Post Doc in the year 2014, around an academic institution in Flanders

“Academic Life and Family”

I work in a research group of seven people as the only woman. The leader of the group, my boss, frequently starts our meetings by expressing his surprise that I, a mother, manage to be present and by asking who is taking care of my children while I am away. None of the male colleagues who have families gets similar attention. Their family life is not a topic of our research meetings. This well known professor has set a terrible example for his junior colleagues, because when he is away someone else from the group will pose me “the family question” thinking it is a friendly way to acknowledge my presence.

Story signed by: Anna K.

This story happened to me as a PhD in the year 2013, around an academic institution in Flanders.

“Are You Pregnant?”

During the last trimester of my pregnancy, at work I attend a research seminar with some 30 colleagues and, after the presentation, during which I make some critical remarks on the adopted theoretical perspective.

While leaving the room all together, a newly appointed male colleague of about my same age, to break the ice says, loudly and in front of everybody: “So, you are pregnant?”.

A couple of weeks later, same situation, and the guy goes again: “So, you are pregnant?” Upon which I answer: “Yes, that’s what happens when you are loose :-)”. The guy could clearly not conceive that somebody making interesting remarks could also procreate.

Story signed by : Bittersweet

This story happened to me as a Prof. Dr. in the year(s) 2005-2009, around an academic institution not in Belgium.