Sometimes its just too much …

I work in a faculty with majority female academics but majority male professors. The usual story. In a research day there were anonymous questions. The first three. Why no women professors? Promotion for women and BME? What about opportunities? The answer by a professor: Inequality for women in academia is an old problem now, it has been resolved. When it came to being considered for promotion a female staff member was told (by a male professor) not yet, be patient, you don’t have enough teaching, enough research, enough grant money but remember no woman over 50 has a future career (the irony is that his research is about prejudice, inequalities, social justice). Even if we’ve had one victory (female professor) … the reality is grim. Women do most of the teaching, women are getting sick from overwork, women get unequal workplan time. Old problems continue and women academics get shit treatment from some men in universities. Sometimes its just too much.

Not Second, But Fifth Fiddle

I am a young woman in academia. I graduated just over a year ago with my Master of Arts degree, during which I was told I was too head strong for wanting to pursue my grant funded, permit awarded research. This verbose speaker
was my female professor and thesis chair. Perhaps blinded by her years of victimization and passiveness, she felt necessary to belittle the confidence I carried with a naive privilege. I began to rely less on her guidance and more on my mentor.

He and I have been working towards publishing an article about our research from a multi-year project over the past few months. This project embraces many collaborators, who have participated in varying capacities over the years. But more specifically, in the last two years this project has become the foundation of my published thesis. Thereafter, I drafted a manuscript of a concise and short, data-rich article to disseminate among our scholarly community. His response to this article draft was to table the piece, thinking that perhaps it could be part of a more specialized article with multiple authors. A collaboration of experts, how wonderful! I’ve come to find that the draft of this newer, more collaborative article has left me playing fifth fiddle to a string quartet.

Despite the obvious verbatim text and data borrowed from my thesis, I was listed as the fifth author to four men. The first author being my adviser, and the other three “authors” played supplemental roles of facilitating research access, rather than innovating original thought or scripture. When I inquired about the authorship order, I was told that it would be discussed among the other authors about the specific order…

What an uncivil and lawless place, where women are so poorly guided into remaining passive to these shadows who call themselves men.

Story signed by : Margaret Mead

Academic Cover Ups of Domestic Violence

My ex-husband, a faculty member at the same institution, was abusive to me and received a resulting criminal conviction, which counts as a misdemeanor in my state but a felony in other states. He continues to be employed, although administrators are aware of his conviction. I have to face him at faculty meetings, and I also have to face his male colleagues, who “sheltered” him and helped him during the separation process. He spread rumors that I am crazy and attempted to win custody of our child, which the court denied him.

The administration has supported him. One senior administrator to whom I went after all this transpired told me to separate the personal from the professional. Another senior administrator, who had earlier persuaded me to stay in the relationship, even though it showed signs of abuse, just shrugged her shoulders.

It bothers me that an institution of higher education has constructed such an incredible silence around an abuser. I wonder how many faculty are abusers and are tacitly protected by their institutions. Their faculty spouses probably move to other institutions or leave academia altogether. I know of at least one other case of a tenured professor at a nearby, smaller college who was convicted of a felony assault after chasing his then-wife (a faculty member at a different institution) while holding a knife. The man continues to teach and do research. How many more are out there?

Story signed by : Alice in Wonderland

“Who washes the coffee cups after meetings?”


This is the story of me, and all my women colleagues. In every meeting, of whatever kind, the male professors never wash the dishes, the coffee cups, they take their computers and bags and leave, often not even thinking what happens to the post-meeting mess. Sometimes they make sure one person is responsible for the key and locking the door, but that’s it.

Always a woman, generally the younger one, or the one with less titles, assumed to have more time, and less complaining power, takes up automatically and ‘voluntarily’ the job. This is not only about men, but also about senior and women professors. It seems that the power fever can get easily viral…

Story signed by : Always random?

This story happened to me as a PhD student in the year(s) [unknown or cannot tell], around an academic institution in Flanders