Title Companies who don’t do what they say on their D&I tin
From Demoralized Engineering Manager
I am an engineering manager who moved jobs last year, leaving behind a pay gap that had been thoroughly demoralizing. The new job pays ok, but I am now looking to leave this one due to sexism and and exclusion issues. Both companies claim their D&I credentials are good, but all around me I see men progressing up through the ranks who don’t deserve to be where they are. I have seen two other senior level women drop out of engineering over the last year, and I may go the same way, even after a substantial career in the sector. Are there any decent companies left?
Title Racist misogyny in STEM
From Latina Lab Tech
I used to work in a small laboratory for a small engineering firm. My coworkers, who are all male, are an absolute hell to work with.
Most of them seem perfectly willing to spread racist stereotypes about Hispanic people and then backtrack when I call them on it. One of them actually had the gall to come into the lab with a “Make America Great Again” hat knowing it would piss me off. They also spread the whole “all women in STEM are diversity hires” bullshit over and over. Itmade this workplace extremely hostile for me and forced me to leave.
What made me leave this job however was one time when I overheard my male coworkers discussing their dating preferences. They then started talking about how awesome Latinas are and started spouting misogynistic racism about how Latinas are superior because they’re more submissive. What really got to me is how, at the end, one of them said “Latina ass is worth more than Latina crazy”.
This is an extremely common racist stereotype of not only Latinas but Latinx people in general. The idea that were somehow more aggressive is one of the many reasons Latinos are discriminated against by police. Moreover, labeling aggressive female behavior “crazy” is, as you can guess, sexism.
In my experience, most STEM men deny sexism/racism in their fields not because of “unconscious bias” but because they’re more than willing to engage in it themselves. This notion that white men are somehow unaware of their bigotry seems to me as being profoundly exonerating of some truly nasty attitudes that need challenging.
I’ve never ever met a man in my field that wasn’t at least a little bit sexist. While some actively try to check their privilege, most seem perfectly willing to engage in sexist bigotry even if called out on it.
Title Dear Sirs
I’m on the hiring committee for my Mathematics Department, reading files. And then comes a letter of recommendation that starts: Dear Sirs, ….. Give me a f&*&ing break. Is this 1950?
Title It can happen anywhere
I was a 2nd year student, majoring in physics and electronics, on a scholarship. The scholarship required that I work 20 hours a week in the relevant fields, so I was working for a small optics company, doing QA. The company had ~30 employees, and mostly the environment was rather amiable. Then one day, I sat for lunch with the Head of Production, and a couple of guys from his department. What followed was a 15 min conversation about how women never do anything productive, and only waste the money men make.
I was on a first name basis and had decent conversations with all three, and worked constantly with the HoP (and he seemed satisfied with my knowledge and work ethic). You’d think that having an actual, working woman at the table would deter them. It didn’t. Neither did the fact that in this particular company, both the CTO and the Head of R&D were women with Phd’s, and that the all of QA and half of Special Orders were WOMEN.
When I tried to confront them, they claimed to be joking, and then continued on as if I’m not there. I finished eating as fast as I could, and spent the next 10 min crying in my office from the humiliation.
From Female Facebook User
Title Unconscious bias uncovered through Facebook posts
I’ve noticed a peculiar trend among the Facebook shares of my openly conservative Facebook “friends”. It seems that, since women have been earning more doctorates than men, this apparently means men are discriminated against on a societal level.
Yet I then see them post articles about how STEM disparities are natural and how the gender pay gap is a myth.
It’s almost as if when equality becomes the norm (or at least more of the norm), the oppressed feel victimized.
I say this because all of said “friends” are male.
It’s almost as if unconscious sexism is proven by this. Statistics show women often times earn higher grades than their male counterparts in STEM fields, how diversity, particular gender diversity, improves performance and many other such things. Even though this is the case, women are still biased against.
These men believing men are somehow biased against means they severely discount women’s abilities.
My male science lecturer at a very prestigious university told me I would get better grades if I “didn’t wear a bra”. The next day I came in without a bra and he removed me from the class because I dressed “provocatively”. As a disabled person of colour, I find this disgusting as this is still happening in 2017.
Title Examples of unconscious sexism
– Believing that, if women earn more doctoral degrees, men are discriminated against, but if women go less into STEM fields, it must be because of biological differences.
– Believing that all women’s successes are due to affirmative action, but that affirmative action discriminates against men.
– Dismissing any evidence of women being as less as being pseudoscience but immediately accepting any study proving women being biologically less inclined towards certain fields without criticism.
Title My “cute” results
I submitted a manuscript to a prominent peer-reviewed journal. This was not my first first-author publication, but it was my first as corresponding author. I was excited and nervous when our reviews came back. One of the comments hit me straight in the stomach, and I’ll probably never forget it.
“This is a cute result.”
Now, please understand that myself, my colleagues, and the editor all felt like the result in this manuscript were of significant scientific interest. Further, no clipart was used in making the figures.
When forming a rebuttal to our reviewer comments, I wanted to address this microagression head-on. This language has no place in a professional peer-review report. It is meant to demean and belittle. And I would argue that had the first author been a man, this term would not be used. I was, and still am, disgusted.
I was further shocked at my male coauthors’ response.
“This is probably a positive comment in the reviewer’s first language.”
“You don’t want to embarrass the reviewer by addressing this.”
“You’re misinterpreting their comment!”
The journal in question has several articles about sexism in STEM, and if they’re sincere about fighting the bias agaisnt women in science then their editors need to be on the frontline. This kind of language is non-constructive and unprofessional, and editors should do more to call it out. I don’t care if a reviewer’s feelings are hurt, because their feelings do not get to supersede my own.
At the upcoming Turbomachinery and Pump Symposia in Houston, TX run by Texas A&M University’s Turbo Lab, there is a special program for spouses of attendees: Cake Decorating and Jewelry Making.
Two male graduate students in an academic genetics lab, speaking to various female undergraduates:
“See the number on the scale? Subtract 10 and that’s what you should be aiming for.”
Same male graduate students responding to my (female postdoc in the same lab) protests about their comments:
“It’s just a joke.”
Principal Investigator of the lab:
10 years later, this memory still makes me sick to my stomach.