Sexism in the Academic World

By Kali Nelson

 I have always been told that I would one day go on to school after high school whether it be trade school, community college, or a 4-year school, it was always in my sight. I know my parents are setting me up to succeed, but college alone will not help me. I need to put in 110% to whatever it is I plan to do because if not I may be stuck somewhere I don’t want to be. My parents expect all three of their kids to get to college. Maybe they know, maybe they don’t, but the academic world is sexist.

 Throughout this post I will talk a lot about how women face sexism but this does apply to all minorities in the academic life. The main reason for this is because there haven’t been many studies done to see this aspect.

 Higher education has this illusion of being a white boys club. But women have been flooding the ranks of academic life for years now. In 2015, Time magazine reported that 37.5% of women between the ages of 25 to 34 had a bachelor’s degree, while only 29.5% of men did.  Despite these great numbers, women still face sexism in higher education. Let’s look at how many men compared to women get tenure in 2012. According to the American Association of University Professors, 62% were male and 44% of women. This is only startling if you look at what many universities base tenure on: reviews and publications. Reviews are left by students, mostly as the semester has ended, but can also be left on other websites like “Rate Your Professor”. These reviews usually are harsher on the women professors than they are on men. While this is not the students complete fault it has to do with society.

 Women in academia also have to handle the citation gap. This means that articles written by women received fewer citations then articles written by men. While the article I linked to says that the gap may be small it is detrimental to women because if their article is not cited, the women who wrote it cannot get credit for what they have contributed. Another thing that affects women negatively is the baby penalty. The women who want to get to the top of academic life usually must choose between having a family or having a high position. Women who want a family usually become a second tier faculty member. They fill part time positions or adjunct faculty spots. This hurts women but not men, men having a family actually helps their career.

 Women also have the problem of fighting the idea that sexism is dead in academia. It isn’t, women feel they have to work twice as hard to get the same position. While academia is lightening its attitude towards women it is still a hostile environment or them, some women may some of the only ones in their field. This causes a problem because how can women have equality if there are only a few in a huge field then how do they rise up to be equals.

 There is also the imposter syndrome. This is the feeling that no matter how qualified you are at what you’re doing, your colleges will find out that you shouldn’t be there. I suffer from this a lot. I recently got a job this summer and when I got to the meeting and I met everyone else, I felt that there had been a mistake. I couldn’t be qualified for this, I had so little experience, I felt that I had taken someone way more qualified for the job. This also happened when I got the ok for this position on this blog.  I thought that there were so many more qualified people to do this job, who was I a fairly well off, white girl to tell people what I thought about feminism. I know in my head that I am qualified to talk about feminism because I am a woman. Feminism is not just for one group but I still doubted myself about if I could do it. This is the impostor syndrome, now no matter how qualified I am for a position I still doubt. I had so little confidence in myself, I still think that sometimes I must work twice as hard to even compare with my male counterparts. This problem is not just me, it applies to every woman. This is not helpful to women, trust me, it has led to worry and stress and no sleep because anything less than perfect in anything I do is seen as a failure. People think I act like I’m smart because I like to, no I do it because I’m afraid that people will realize I shouldn’t be here. It’s terrifying. It has taken me a semester to get over the feeling that has plagued me for over a year, and I’m still not even close to over it. Every time I apply for something I trick myself to believe that I am not qualified for it, even if I am more than qualified.

 This is not something to be proud of, I work myself to the bone so that I may feel that I am adequate enough for a job. Women do not need all this extra pressure. We have so many other pressures to escape. I cannot speak for my counterparts but I continued on with school to escape this hell. I came to college to get away from the fear that the world put in me and I have found all new problems to face and one of them is sexism in college.

From Backseat Feminist to Activist

 

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A photo of myself speaking at the Idaho Against Hate demonstration in Moscow, ID

By: Paola Aguilar

This time last year, I was finishing my first Women’s and Gender Studies class and had learned so much about things I never knew about. I went into the class thinking I was fairly well-versed about the issues surrounding people within different intersections of identities and came out realizing how much I needed to learn. While I’ve always felt strongly about the things I believe in, I never wanted to go to demonstrations or start any sort of movement on campus for fear of stirring things up or making changes in places where I thought were not all that necessary.

After that first class, I studied feminist theory and started reading the news as often as possible. I was getting a more in-depth look at different aspects of feminism while reading in the news about unarmed African-Americans dying as a result of police brutality, about women being sexually assaulted on college campuses and being ignored, and about a presidential candidate who said women who have abortions should be punished. By the end of the Spring 2016 semester, I was fed up with the state of things in our country and decided I would take even small opportunities to do what I could to make a difference and positive changes in my community.

Continue reading “From Backseat Feminist to Activist”

Post-Election Self Care

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Artful image of a woman with her head in her hands.

By: Paola Aguilar

Coalition work is never easy. It’s difficult and exhausting. This election season there have been many difficult conversations happening. Sexual assault has come to the forefront because our  President-elect was accused of sexual assault by a handful of women. Conversations about race and institutional racism have also come to the forefront after incidents of racism have been circulated on social media. We’ve seen the Black Lives Matter movement publicly protesting police brutality and a recent resurgence of the KKK. LGBTQ rights with North Carolina’s HB2 bathroom law. Reproductive rights, the Supreme Court ruling that the TRAP laws in the south are an “undue burden” on a woman’s access to safe and legal abortions.

As a feminist, I have to talk to people about these issues. I have a moral responsibility to tell people the story of my parents immigrating to the United States and their struggles when someone believes an incorrect stereotype about Hispanic immigrants. I have a responsibility to inform the people around me about how dangerous laws like Texas’ HB2 are; not just for women, but for their families. I have a responsibility to remind people how important access to safe and legal abortions is. I have a responsibility to explain that my experience as a Mexican-American woman will never be the same as a white man’s.

Continue reading “Post-Election Self Care”

“It Happens” Photo Series Challenges the Stereotypes Associated with Sexual Assault

By Olivia Heersink

(Trigger warning: the following post contains images and dialogue related to sexual assault.)

From the innocence of adolescence through adulthood, women in our society are internalizing fear and silence. Most women begin their preparations for sexual assault at a young age, and are well-versed in the precautions they must take before they reach adulthood. In fact, avoiding being raped is an epidemic for women in our society. On average, there are 288,820 victims of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States, alone.

We teach women how not to be raped rather than teaching men about consent, respect, and mutual sexual expression. Not surprisingly, this strategy is ineffective at best. Every two minutes another American is sexually assaulted.

Sex crimes are unique because they are extremely private yet prevalent. Every sexual assault is unique to the victim; yet so many women, and sometimes men, have had similar experiences. Falling victim to a sex crime is an experience that makes the victim feel ashamed of something that happened to their own body.

Continue reading ““It Happens” Photo Series Challenges the Stereotypes Associated with Sexual Assault”

Women in the Media: Latina Women in Television

By: Madison Meyer

 

Media is often a mirror of our society. Ideally, it is a conscious platform for creators to express their concerns about what is going on in the world around us. Whether their material is motivated by concern over the status quo or something else, it’s no secret that the goal is to relate to the largest population possible in order to gain an audience. This often results in stereotypes and tropes about minorities being played out on screen.

Continue reading “Women in the Media: Latina Women in Television”

Why am I a Feminist?

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Photo of Paola Aguilar

By Paola Aguilar

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. While most people agree that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, few identify as feminists. I’ve advocated for gender equality my whole life without realizing the entire time that I am truly a feminist at heart. Continue reading “Why am I a Feminist?”

Discover THINX

By Stephanie Sampson

A few months ago I explored a topic many women feel uncomfortable talking about, their periods and how important it is to feel empowered, confident and beautiful during that time of the month.

I also shared how a menstrual cup changed my life by making my period no big deal. My menstrual cup saved me money, gave peace of mind, and gave me the opportunity to learn more about my body.

Since that exploration, I have discovered THINX underwear. I have heard of reusable menstrual pads before that work great, but these are underwear designed specifically for your period. THINX said that they see a world where no woman is held back by her body. They claim that they will work proudly and tirelessly until every single girl has an equal opportunity for the brighter future she deserves. This kind of thinking is exactly what I was encouraging back in January. Our time of the month doesn’t have to be miserable, but it can be a small reminder of the beauty of being a woman.

I have not yet tried THINX underwear, but I have done a lot of research for those that may not feel comfortable using a menstrual cup. A reusable pad or THINX underwear is a less invasive way of making our menstrual cycles easier. The THINX underwear is made out of a patented technology that keeps the wearer clean and dry. The underwear is also antibacterial, so you don’t have to worry about feeling dirty. They are super easy to clean and come in many different styles.

After writing about menstrual cups, my friends have came forward and have shared their experiences with alternative feminine products. Since there is a learning curve to using a menstrual cup, I think using THINX in addition to a menstrual cup would be a perfect combination in case of leaking. THINX is a great environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable tampons and pads, and are far safer than the chemicals that are in traditional feminine products.

If you have been experimenting with alternative menstrual products like reusable pads or a menstrual cup, and have found something you love, please share what works for you. You never know whether or not you could help a fellow woman out.