Institutional Sexism in Academia.

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Before you think you know what this is about, No. I am not moaning that women are under-represented in STEM- please read on.

I wanted to find a definition of ‘sexism’ to check these examples fit the bill, but it turns out the definitions of sexism are sexist themselves, i.e. (google definition)

“prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. “sexism in language is an offensive reminder of the way the culture sees women”

Nonetheless, to my understanding sexism refers to the discrimination of a person based on their biological sex.

Right, now onto two examples I have recently come across (both sent directly to my uni email);

  1. A PhD offered exclusively to women. The University of Dundee is offering a PhD studentship exclusively to women. They simply state, “because of the nature of this research, only female candidates can be considered”. The research is on exiting commercial sexual exploitation. Yes it is a sensitive subject, but you are suggesting that only women can research this?! What is the basis of that? Are you suggesting only women can speak to other women about sensitive issues? That all women would prefer this? Is it based on some kind of evidence you didn’t feel the need to include in the advert? I have never in my life seen a PhD aimed exclusively at males and I know for a fact that all the femi-nazis would have that down in a second. Yet this is completely acceptable? PhD places are very limited, studentships are even rarer. A quick search on jobs.ac.uk finds 44 psychology PhD studentships in the UK, that is not enough to start delegating some to only one gender.
  2. A career development program offered exclusively to women. “Sprint is the groundbreaking new development programme designed for undergraduate women of all ages, from all backgrounds and stages in their lives and study. ” well its obviously not that fucking open to all backgrounds and stages of lives if you’re excluded for having a penis. “Sprint is designed to develop female students to their fullest potential and address study and career issues.” Oh ok, what’s the group called to help develop male students then? Oh there isn’t one. Ok. So women get this advantage over men because… sexism?

 

Its disgusting. You can’t create equality by creating unequal opportunities. How are men supposed to respect women when institutions are favoring women to this degree? When I get a position I want it to be because I am the best, not because females are under-represented in the field and they want to boost the numbers. That’s how we end up with fucking idiots in positions they really shouldn’t be in.

With academic institutions supporting programs like Sprint how can I trust that my achievements are my own?

Whilst I’m on the subject of inequality, I worked very hard throughout my undergraduate to achieve a 1st for one simple reason. If you got a 1st and then did your Master’s at the University of Exeter, you got a £5,000 scholarship. So I hit that threshold, was ecstatic to qualify for this so I could pay my fees. Enrollment comes around and I find they have changed the excellence scholarship to apply to international students. So I am £5,000 down just because I was born in England? Fucking discrimination.

Feel free to share any other examples you’ve come across of institutionalized sexism or racism, especially if it targets the normally ‘non-marginalised’ groups.

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