The Reproduction of Sexism
For a long time now, I have not been what you would call a believer in progress. That is, I do not think things are bound to improve in the gender equity arena. I think we are in the middle of a backlash (more on that later); women’s enrollment in undergraduate engineering has stalled or declined; it isn’t just a matter of waiting for the old fogies to die off and be replaced with young men who won’t be sexist asshats. Since sexism is structural and institutionalized, it is perfectly capable of replicating itself unless it is actively fought and dismantled.
And if you don’t believe me, read this post from Female Science Professor. (Hat tip to PhysioProf.)
My colleague sighed and said that now some of the younger generation do the same thing. He sits in hiring committees and hears young male faculty question whether female applicants are capable of having their own ideas and working independently, but these issues are not raised for male applicants. He has been fighting this attitude for so long, he was discouraged that it wasn’t something that went away as younger faculty were hired.
We can’t afford to just sit around and hope that someday all the sexists will be dead. They’re busy reproducing themselves. When they prefer hiring “people just like me”, it’s not just because they’re white and male. It’s because they share – or will tolerate – egregious sexism.