A female professor is apparently not real!

A student who I had supervised for his Master thesis, came to visit after his graduation and stood waiting at my (male) colleague’s office. I asked him what he was doing now and he told me of his plans to study further for which he needed a recommendation letter ‘from a real professor’ which is what he came to see my colleague for. 🙂

Story signed by: DKL

The story happened to me as a Dr. Prof. in the year(s) 2005-2009 at an academic institution in Flanders

Why do you need a job if your husband has one?

After my medical specialty training, my PhD and my fellowship in North America, I came back to Belgium to talk about possibilities for an academic medical career at the university hospital. My husband, who has the exact same qualifications in another medical specialty, already had been accepted for a job at the university hospital. For me, there was no opening, which of course is possible. Instead, I got the following suggestion: why do you worry so much, your husband does have a job, doesn’t he?

Story signed by: Dr. housewife?

The story happened to me as a PhD in the year 2005-2009 at an academic institution in Flanders

Miss Jekyll & Dr Hide

J’ai récemment reçu un courrier en rapport avec la publication de ma thèse. Un simple accusé de réception, par courrier électronique, écrit par la secrétaire de l’éditeur. La seule chose que ma correspondante sait de moi, c’est que je suis une femme et que je viens de terminer ma thèse.
Du coup, son courrier commence par… “Chère Mademoiselle”.

Selon le dictionnaire, “Mademoiselle” est l’appellation employée pour désigner “une jeune fille ou une femme (présumée) non-mariée”. Donc, dans l’esprit de ma correspondante, une femme qui a fait une thèse est forcément jeune ou, à l’inverse, une vieille fille dans ses bouquins.Je ne suis ni l’une, ni l’autre. J’ai 38 ans, un homme et des enfants, ça va bien merci.

Est-il tellement inconcevable qu’une femme mariée ou plus âgée puisse faire des études ? Le doctorat serait-il inconciliable avec la vie conjugale (et je ne vous parle pas de la maternité) ? Lui viendrait-il seulement à l’idée d’écrire “Cher jeune homme” si j’étais un homme ? Ça n’a l’air de rien, mais le mot “mademoiselle” est tout bêtement condescendant, réducteur et archaïque.

Il est doublement aberrant qu’une femme puisse encore être caractérisée par sa situation matrimoniale et que celle-ci soit considérée comme incompatible avec une thèse.

Story signed by : Ms Jekyll & Dr Hide

The story happened to me as a PhD in the year 2014 at an academic institution in Wallonia

Why can’t a non-white male research feminist philosophy?

I am a non-white male philosophy graduate student working on feminism. I thoroughly enjoy my studies and find feminism important and existentially relevant on many levels. However, thus far I’ve found my work with feminism to be a difficult and alienating experience where male peers either dismiss my personal interests and philosophical work or neglect my personhood altogether. In this way I’m beginning to learn what it’s like for women to feel dismissed within philosophy, something that I’ve realized that I’ve been guilty of myself in the past. As a male working on feminism, I’ve become more and more aware of how philosophical discourse is utterly co-opted by male heteronormative culture.

I have women friends who hesitate to speak up in class because they don’t want to be “talked down to” by their male peers. Personally, I am still unsure of how to voice a feminist position as a male. While I feel compelled to speak up during class discussions on behalf of feminist thought, at the same time I feel uneasy about perhaps taking opportunities away from women to speak up for themselves. Especially when so many professors are prone to preface certain lectures by saying that sex has nothing to do with the content they’re about to speak on. But of course, as we know, everything is sexed.

Feeling my way through all of this has been a challenging yet beneficial experience. I just wanted to share this small snapshot of my experience of working on feminist philosophy within a dominant masculine culture.

Story signed by: queering masculinity

The story happened to me as in the year 2014 at an academic institution in Flanders

No kids allowed

Toen ik solliciteerde voor een doctoraatsbursaal, werd mij de vraag gesteld of ik toch geen 4 kinderen zou krijgen de komende 4 jaar. Deze vraag vond ik al zeer ongepast. Ik was niet van plan om meteen aan kinderen te beginnen en dit heb ik dan ook gezegd. Uiteindelijk bleek dat om ‘financiële redenen’ het onderzoeksproject niet van start kon gaan.

Achteraf hoorde ik – via gemeenschappelijke kennissen- dat de (mannelijke) professor die instond voor het onderzoeksproject vond dat ik teveel ‘oogde’ als iemand die klaar was voor kinderen en ik daardoor onvoldoende garanties kon bieden niet zwanger te worden.

Story signed by: m.

The story happened to me as a Master student in the year 2011 at an academic institution in Flanders

Al die blonde miekes …

Naast zijn gebruikelijke andere opmerkingen over de inferioriteit van vrouwelijke studenten, zei de professor aan de aula 1e jaars rechtenstudenten: ‘Al die blonde miekes, die zie je hier volgend jaar niet meer terug’. Geen woord over (al dan niet blonde) mannelijke medestudenten.

Story signed by : afgestudeerde rechtenstudent

The story happened to me as a Bachelor student in the year 2010 at an academic institution in Flanders

Professor in Hypocrisy and Arrogance

The professor I would like to call a master in hypocrisy and arrogance, is respected everywhere except on his own workfloor. Spit out by his colleagues, male and female, but especially by the female. His improper behavior more than once had sexual connotations, going from calling women ‘pussy cats’ to real sexual intimidation and assault. He’s getting promotion soon.

Story signed by: Anna

My language preference : English

The story happened to me as a PhD in the year 2013 at an academic institution in Flanders

Write your own text? No no, women can’t do that, if you want, you can correct mine!

In the master thesis writing course, I was confronted by our professor’s strong preference for male students. As a group of 4 students (2M/2F) both girls have noticed that it doesn’t matter how ridiculous the proposals of the boys are, they are always applauded by the professor, while the proposals of the girls hardly get any attention. When we ask a question or express our ideas, we don’t even get a blink of interest. As well as the 2 male students as the professor try to force the ‘silly’ tasks upon us such as writing emails, maintaining the social relations with other partners, correcting their texts (we should not write texts ourselves since we are of course uncapable of doing so), and all the other ‘dirty jobs’ you can imagine … It was already in their roots, but I believe it has been encouraged by the behavious of the professor. This whole situation is extremely discouraging for the thesis, for continuing an academic education as a woman and in general for really stepping into the architectural world.

Story signed by: Fee

The story happened to me as a Master student in the year 2014 at an academic institution in Flanders

seksism among students

In the second year of my Bachelor in Civil Engineering and Architecture, we had lectures about women and their role in architecture during an architecture theory course. In fact, they were very interesting and realistically presented by a female professor, just with facts, nothing more. But when a male professor continued the lectures later on, he made sarcastic and offensive remarks towards this female professor about being rediculous and extremely feminist, followed by laughter of (nearly) all the male students.

From this moment on, it was clear that the idea of “women in architecture” was not taken seriously and this became even more obvious later that year.

During a collaborative design, I worked with a male student-collegue, who didn’t trust my skills at all. Whenever certain decisions needed to be made, he would deride my opinion and my ideas and made comments like “you can draw if you want to” or during deadlines “why don’t you cook for me” or “just go shopping”.

Story signed by : Julia

The story happened to me as a Bachelor student in the year 2011 at an academic institution in Flanders

Vrouwen aan de haard in plaats van in het professoraat

In de periode na mijn doctoraat hadden we op de faculteit een zeer vrouwonvriendelijke beoordelingscommissie. Ik herinner me dat ik ooit kandideerde voor een plichtvak in onze opleiding, dat aansloot bij de discipline waarin ik jaren lang als assistent actief was en oefeningen verzorgde. Ondanks mijn goed gevuld CV haalde ik de eindmeet niet. Een lid uit de commissie sprak later uit de biecht en liet optekenen dat een ander lid uit de commissie, amper vijf jaar ouder dan ikzelf dus helemaal niet van de “oude generatie” zich had laten ontvallen dat vrouwen niet thuishoren in het professoraat, wel aan de haard…
In diezelfde periode kandideerde ik ook voor een ander vak. Eén van mijn tegenkandidaten was een collega, die later ook mijn echtgenoot werd. Hij had een mooi CV, maar ik had zowat vier keer zoveel publicaties achter mijn naam staan dan hij. We moesten op dezelfde dag verschijnen voor de beoordelingscommissie. Ik kreeg een spervuur van vragen over onder andere mijn publicaties. Sommige leden wisten zelfs niet eens waar ik mee bezig was – van dossierkennis gesproken. Mijn collega kwam na mij en was in vijf minuten terug buiten. Er kwamen geen vragen, geen opmerkingen. Drie keer raden wie eerste gerangschikt werd en wie tweede. Juist, ja.

Story signed by : helemaal vrouw

The story happened to me as a PhD in the year 2000-2004 at an academic institution in Flanders