Archive | October, 2012

You gotta dig to get at the root

19 Oct

(Video still from “I Am an Emotional Creature“, via YouTube)

My mother used to say this when we were gardening. “It’s no use pulling the top of the weed if you don’t get down deep. It’ll always grow back.” I’m not beneath applying a gardening metaphor to sociopolitical issues. In fact, I think it is an extremely useful one when considering the state of gender equality in academia.

Activists are one of the main drivers for exposing, attacking, and helping to eliminate the root causes of social ills. One of my favorites is Eve Ensler; poet, playwright, activist, and feminist-extraordinaire. You may know her for her infamous show “The Vagina Monologues,” but did you know she also wrote a play for the teenage generation? “I Am an Emotional Creature” exposes the secret lives of young women, and gives a voice to a largely unheard portion of our population.

Click here to watch a sneak peek of “I Am an Emotional Creature,” new premiere at the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre in New York City.


Don’t let yourself be silenced,



“A shocking experience” (via What Is It Like to Be a Woman in Philosophy?)

18 Oct

I recently attended a conference in Asia. Over the three day period, there were something like sixty talks. It was not a small conference. I was one of three or four women in attendance.On the way home, I noted that I felt good and that it had been an excellent conference. I found this odd, given the maleness and foreignness of the conference (this point about foreignness is supposed to pick up on the thought that one is more likely to feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar environments/groups etc.) I quickly realised that it had been the first conference I had been to where no one tried to have sex with me, or involve me in something, in some way, inappropriate.

The incredible speed of the internet community: Binders Full of Women

16 Oct

In case you missed the debate, here’s a spoiler: Romney actually referred to binders full of women in his remarks. I’m not sure exactly what he was hoping to say, but I do know that the internet community has already rallied and launched an attack of new internet memes.


These are my favorites:

1. The Standby Meme


2. The Comeback Meme


3. The Totally-out-of-left-field-and-slightly-terrifying-but-still-stellar Meme

(All images taken from the Binders Full of Women Tumblr.)


Wishing I were creative enough to come up with one of my own,


(Late) Summer Reading

16 Oct
Hi everyone,
Quick round-up of some pieces from late summer/early fall, two of them courtesy of early WITA panelists:

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
I am often asked by other female academics whether—and how—they should respond to the “micro-inequities” that many of us face in our professional lives. Should we object to each and every sexist remark and demeaning incident? Or should we just let them pass because it is too exhausting to respond every single time, and doing so might do more harm than good?
From the Higher Education Network at the Guardian:
A recent report reveals that only 12% of third year female PhD students want a career in academia. Curt Rice looks at the reasons why and warns that universities’ survival is at risk
From Inside Higher Ed, by way of the Feminist Philosophers blog:
Numerous studies have focused on how women in academic science balance their quest for career advancement with their family responsibilities. A study released here at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (by researchers who have done considerable research on women in science) turns to male scientists, and asks how they balance work and home responsibilities.
– Kris

The Academic Feminist: Virginia Eubank on Feminism, Technology & Activism

15 Oct

 Check out the latest Academic Feminist post on Virginia Eubank of the University of Albany, SUNY shares about her interests, her latest book, and steps for future action. Don’t miss it!

(Photo source:


Thanks for reading,

– Danielle


Is Student Life Becoming More Sexist?

12 Oct

Is Student Life Becoming More Sexist?

From a quick piece from across the pond:

Everyday Sexism, a blog that collates thousands of stories about misogyny, reports a new sexist tactic: the slut-drop, where male students offer a lift to women stumbling home from a club – then leave them miles from where they asked to be dropped off. It doesn’t sound dissimilar to kidnapping.

So: is behaviour getting worse on campus? How widespread is slut-dropping? “I’ve only heard one example of it,” says Laura Bates, founder of Everyday Sexism. “I don’t want to suggest it’s a national trend. But it is just one example of what seems to be a disturbing wider phenomenon. On the one hand, women are being told that they’ve got to go to all these club nights dressed like a slapper or a slut. And on the other hand they’ve got these boys deriding them for that. It’s a double bind.”

– Kris

Adrienne Pine, breastfeeding, and the nuances of working privilege

11 Oct

Susan Harper, Program Co-Chair for the Association of Feminsist Anthropology, takes a closer look at a recent controversy. When American University professor Adrienne Pine breastfed her sick child during a class she was teaching, it led to a loud media response.

Harper looks more closely at exactly what it was that elicited criticism from various people, including her own social media contacts. Click here for a link to the article, which includes links to various news sources that cover the original story.

Join us on Facebook!

10 Oct

Ok folks, I think I went a little Facebook-crazy tonight. Apologies to everyone I am FB-friends with, I know I blew up your walls tonight…. I understand if you need to unfriend me.

In any case, click here to see the WITA Group page and stay in the loop even more effortlessly!

Until next time,


Australian Prime Minister attacks sexism & misogynism in taped debate

10 Oct

(Video still source: BBC News)

Julia Gillard’s virulent attack of the leader of the opposition Tony Abbot plays out like a real-life movie. Picture a mix of the dramatic flair of Atticus Finch and the eloquence of Severn Suzuki (but with much more bile), with the inspirational mojo of this YouTube standby.  Gillard criticizes Abbot’s rampant misogynous actions, and draws an unruly response from the members of the Australian House of Representatives. Now THIS is a woman who is not afraid to speak up. This is a woman who has the courage to identify and call out injustice.

Watch for yourself: BBC News has a great clip with some of the highlights of the 15-minute long rant. This article gives some good context, while this article highlights the more memorable quotes and throws in a dash of dry political humor.

There’s nothing better than seeing a high-ranking woman of power lay it out, finger-pointing (literally) and all.

Keep it going, Julia!


Half the Sky: a little perspective

8 Oct

While we are considering the issues of equality and sexism in higher education, it is important to take a step back and consider what it takes to get to higher education.


(Source: Half the Sky, episode 1)

Half the Sky is a new series on PBS (Mitt, are you listening?) which documents the oppression of women around the globe, based off of the best-selling book. In Episode 1 of this series, the final segment focuses on the effort to get young Vietnamese girls educated. Gabrielle Union joins a young student on her near-20 mile bike ride to school, a commute which she does each day to attend classes. While this is barely the beginning of the barriers that exist for young girls wishing to pursue an education, it is a striking example of the lengths that these incredible young girls go to in order to educate themselves.

Don’t miss watching episode 1 online (only available through October 9, 2012): click here to stream video on the PBS website.

You can also visit the movement’s website here for more information as well as a video trailer.


Thanks for reading,

– Danielle