lack of posts

klier at klier at
Tue Jul 20 20:32:35 EST 1993

In article <CAHB4A.5w3 at>, diqui at (Diqui LaPenta) writes:
> "I don't know if this is right, but..."
> "I could be wrong, but..."
> "I think that maybe..."
> These are not statements that indicate confidence in one's own knowledge, and
> I hear myself and too many female colleagues use them over and over. How can
> we go about changing this, so that we feel more confident expressing ourselves
> in groups? How can we be taken seriously, if we don't appear to take ourselves
> seriously?  I don't expect that there is any one answer to this, but I'd be
> interested in hearing what others have to say.

Well, I don't know, but... ;-)

I heard an interesting tidbit on the radio as I've been driving around
doing fieldwork, so I have no references... perhaps someone else can help...
but the story was reporting some work done on authority and likeableness
in communications.  Seems that men who came across as authoritative and
likeable were trusted, but women who came across as authoritative weren't
liked, and those who came across as likeable weren't trusted.  Undercutting
ones own authority with "I could be wrong but..." is apparently more likely
to work for women (i.e., get results) than "It's this way."

Came across a line in a novel last night... "There's no need for a woman
PhD to be humble.  Circumstances do it to her often enough." (referring
to the assumption that any woman in a group of men is the subordinate).
I've sure seen it happen here... I've had dozens of students address me as 
Mrs. Klier (which I'm not)... and never heard my male colleagues addressed
as Mr. ___.  I did have a male grad student who delighted in answering
my phone and ostentatiously telling callers, "_Dr._ Klier is in lab right
now.  May I take a message?"   Although I prefer for my students to call
me by my first name once we've gotten acquainted, it still rankles a bit
to be called "Mrs Klier"... I worked hard for that PhD.

Where do we learn it?  I was working with a Science Education grad student
the other night... she'd surveyed her 6th graders on their attitudes toward
science.  Many more males rated themselves as "very good at science" than
did females (about a 3:1 ratio, if I recall), and more of the females said
they couldn't do science at all (about 10:2 F:M).

The good news is, that about equal numbers of males and females rated
themselves as "good or very good" at science... and that pretty much
squares with their teacher's evaluation, their test scores, and their
scores on ITED tests.

I've got lots of anecdotes, no real answers...

Kay Klier  Biology Dept  UNI

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