Tag Archives: rank

Cranky Feminist Academic

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!


I am a female full Professor with a Ph.D. at a research university in the United States. A “good old boy” colleague who schmoozed his way to full Professor many years ago despite low research productivity insists on speaking to me in a condescending manner: sometimes (especially after I’ve challenged “good old boy” privilege-taking) he talks to me as if I were an ingenue who needs explanations of the way in which a department in which I have worked for over ten years is run; at other times he issues direct orders, as if he were a supervisor (which he is not) and I were his subordinate (which I am not); when he is asked to negotiate with me as an equal over an issue of shared concern, he insists on making the decision and delivering it to me in writing. Sadly, this behavioral pattern is common at my institution (once, when I chaired a committee at the university-wide level, a colleague of equal rank tried to treat me like a secretary, and doubled down when I called him out on his conduct): and my university’s leadership wonders why there are so few female faculty, let alone full Professors!