The elephant in the room, sexism in (academic) careers, has once again surfaced in the domain of public conversations. Today, The Daily Mail published an article titled, End the ‘stigma’ of part-time work for men: Academic attacks culture that means women are ‘under promoted and under-paid’. After reading thoroughly, it seemed to me that Dr Tom Schuller (@tomschuller48) was suggesting that men take on more part-time roles in order to give women the chance to advance in their respective careers (academic and otherwise).The potency of this suggested solution is up for debate, however in this post, I would like to focus on what realities you face in terms of gender dynamics in academia.

Former PhD Life blog editor, Anna Sloan, wrote an extensive post in 2011 on this subject. In her article, women in higher education – time for a discussion, she raised interesting observations about how having a baby puts a woman at a disadvantaged position in terms of career advancement.  I think Tenure, She Wrote blog aptly captures the baby vs work drama women have to deal with as academics.

In addition, Anna explained how the difficulty of being a woman in academia influenced the dynamics of her relationship with her female supervisor, who appeared intent on not being perceived as ‘soft’ or ‘too approachable’, a position she (Anna) now sympathises with. Shortly after, Anna dropped the bombshell:  (I quote…)

I think some of the worst is done by women to other women. I think some senior female academics feel a little threatened on some level by the prospect of other, younger women achieving in academia – especially if this is because the younger women encounter less resistance and fewer difficulties than she herself did..

Is this true?

The dialogue on women in academia and the challenges they face has been on for years now, but has anything really changed? What have your recent experiences as PhD students, early career researchers or established academics been like?

Kindly comment and let’s discuss.

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