I have been watching the news for the past year wondering if there were a growing incidence of reporting sexism in higher education or if it was just because I was looking for it that I found more of it – it seems it is the former. In the US there has been a growing movement of students at universities lodging complaints that their university is in breach of Title IX. So much so that there is now an official investigation that was announced by President Obama in regards to 55 universities.
Today I read a letter of solidarity by Columbia University faculty to students that have come forward. Speaking from personal experience, it was not until I found solidarity and practical support from professors and senior members of staff that I, as a student, was able to come forward with complaints. The repercussions to being a killjoy or whistleblower are real when it comes to our future careers in academia. After all, who writes our reference letter when we have called out our supervisor on sexism?!
So to any people in positions of power reading this post, please consider making your position clear and public on sexism and offer your support – whether that is through a letter, boycotting sexist events, or even through offering supervision to a lost student – we need your help.