Tags: academia, For the Cause, For the Win, men, success, Women
Tags: academia, Equality, femininity, sciences, Strategy
That was a tough day at work today, and with little immediate effect, although I think everything went alright. I’m an equality officer without a budget at the place where I work, and there is absolutely no infrastructure in place to integrate the EQ officer in any of the crucial decision that have to be made in a place like this (description of vacancies, appointments, definition of strategies – nada). All I can do is keep my eyes open, like a tiny chihuahua trying to oversee a herd of buffaloes. My latest effort now is to set up a forum for our women in sciences: a support network, a counter public (Gegenöffentlichkeit?), a non-gender-biased agenda, a launch pad for career development.
More than half of the women that were invited came, and I am very happy with that result. It’s not as though women in sciences, just because they are women, do all think positively of EQ strategies. Quite a few think that’s all big fussing about nothing – mainly women who have found other ways of dealing with the drawbacks of being a woman in an academic/scientific community. You’ll find all stereotypes represented: the ones that deny their femininity, the ones who’ve turned to workaholism and think that that’s the only road to salvation, the ones that think that all problems are nothing but a result of them looking at the situation as problematic (and who therefore deny that there’s a need for a strategy to counter-balance gender-bias), the ones that think that feminism has harmed women more than patriarchy, the ones that wear miniskirts to carve out a career for themselves.
The discussions today were good, but some of the participants were dissatisfied because they had a very specific result in mind, a very specific idea of the action that should be taken. My thought was, however, that we cannot just skip the phase of brainstorming, and that all ideas must be heard at the early stage. I still think that this decision is the right one, it just needs a little patience from everyone now.
EDIT: The single good thing about being an equality officer is that you can suddenly be completely outspoken about all your concerns about the patriarchal structures of the institution around you. It’s actually almost expected that you do that, and while you still might find women who think you’re a pathetic feminist, you won’t get that response from men – for as long as they know you’re the equality officer. They’ll even listen to you eagerly, at least the men here do, because they know what a fucked-up place this is in terms of gender equality, and they’re afraid that you, the EQ officer, might officially point your bony finger at them.