I’m a female full professor at a research university in the United States. Two of my male colleagues routinely act as if they are above our process for determining the agendas for meetings, and hijack them at their pleasure. The process is that our support staff sends out a call for agenda items and then the department chair forms them into an agenda. Despite receiving the agenda in writing, these two choose to ignore it and introduce new items without obtaining the consent of their colleagues. When female faculty members whose items (buried at the bottom of the agenda) complain about the situation, the chair brushes them off and won’t use even the most diplomatic of strategies to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, even when the complaining professors outrank the chair. This strikes me as unconscious sexism. Unsurprisingly, the upper administration uses the same marginalizing scripts as the chair when confronted with various complaints from female faculty from across campus. And they wonder why they can’t remain women faculty!
Last week my husband and I arranged a meeting with our solicitor to discuss the house purchase we are currently in the process of. Our solicitor was on leave, but we were seen by a locum instead. She politely addressed my husband, “you must be Dr Smith”, then to me “I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are”. My name is on all the paperwork, our financial contributions to the purchase are equal, yet she hadn’t bothered to learn my name or address me with the same courtesy she did my husband. “I’m Dr Jones” I responded shortly. But the must frustrating part was that once we were in the meeting, she would only address my husband. I was the one with our notes in front of me, but it was as if I wasn’t there. Even if I asked a question, her answer was directed to my husband and she rarely made eye contact with me. It was husband who was first to comment on it when we left their offices.