I am so off topic
Alyssa over at Apple Pie and the Universe (Is that one of the best names ever?) is hosting this month's Scientiae. While I think her idea for the theme "looking back on the past year and reflect - or to look forward to the goals for the next year" is great, it just doesn't work for me right now. That is probably because I'm grumpy (What Pat grumpy- you say-- how could that happen? Oh hush, everyone knows I get grumpy a lot- don't push it).
So why am I grumpy? Well this post from the July Advocacy and Public Policy Newsletter from AWIS might explain some my grumpiness:
The University of Texas welcomed Arthur Day as the new appointed professor, Vice Chair of education in neurosurgery, and Program Director of the medical school's residency program, despite having three gender discrimination lawsuits filed against him in recent years. In sworn affidavits during one of the lawsuits, female hospital employees said that Day often called the women he worked with "girls," would sometimes display an 8-inch phallic statue on his desk, and downloaded sexually explicit images onto a nurse's personal digital assistant. He is quoted in the testimony as saying to a colleague during surgery: "You are just a girl, are you sure you can do that?" This suit resulted in a $1.6 million award to the plaintiff, when the jury found him /responsible for > creating a discriminatory and hostile work environment. As a result of this verdict, he resigned his job as chief of > neurosurgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.As AWIS explains:
Unfortunately, this discriminatory baggage did not seem to hinder his ability to find work in a supervisory position in Houston. In this economy, when employment is highly coveted, it seems that outright sexism is less of a concern than an impressive CV. What an outrage!
So I thought (ok perhaps hoped is a better term), this must be an aberration-- so I sent it off to a couple of FairerScience friends. Their responses:
The old boys club exists and is perpetuated, I have seen it time and time again when I worked in INSERT UNIVERSITY NAME HERE. Often, these remarks and the climate it created were made by a doc in a position of authority that enabled him to demean female residents and/or undergraduates and they did not feel they could retaliate in anyway. One of the worst offenders was promoted to Dept Head of Surgery, of course.
The INSERT OTHER UNIVERSITY NAME HERE was going to hire a dean who had several sex and racial discrimination lawsuits pending and it was a group of women in positions of authority who did the due diligence and got him dropped from consideration as the new dean. It took a huge effort and many meetings to get this accomplished. Am I surprised at the Texas situation. No.
Unfortunately, my experiences here suggest that this could be a larger cultural problem within the field that is accepted, and apparently rewarded as we see with this example. They are a very powerful network that holds on to the old guard that allows the"boys will be boys" attitude. There are major issues at our own institution that no one seems willing to address.
So I guess the UT choice wasn't so much of an aberration after all; sigh.