Getting Heard

Marguerite Evans p2158740 at ACSUSUN.ACSU.UNSW.EDU.AU
Fri Jan 12 23:00:01 EST 1996

Hi Sarah and Co.,

I am a post-graduate student in science and I must say that at the three 
institutes I have studied I have not had this happen to me.  However, I 
must say if I am ever in a large group (eg. at a seminar/conference) and I 
ask a question/comment I make a point of introducing myself fully.  At 
each new place of study, I try to get to know people outside of seminars 
etc...I stick my head in their door and introduce myself, or ask someone 
I trust to introduce me.  I don't know if you could use this approach to 
help your problem, but I know you should not tolerate that sort of 
treatment in this day and age.  You have obviously worked hard to get 
where you are and you if need to demand respect, then demand!



Marguerite Evans
School of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
UNSW  Sydney  2052

voice: (+61)(2)385 2030
fax:   (+61)(2)313 6271
email: p2158740 at

On Fri, 12 Jan 1996, it was written:

> In article <4d6bmp$7j9 at>, Sarah L. Pallas
> <spallas at> wrote:
> > Something happened to me the other day which happens often enough that
> > I'd like some feedback.  I am a tenure-track faculty member and the only
> > female faculty member of my department.  In a journal club format the
> > other day, one of the other faculty asked a question of the group.  I
> > answered the question, being careful to speak loudly and forcefully so as
> > to be heard.  I was completely ignored.  Immediately, one of the male
> > faculty exactly repeated what I said, but HE was acknowledged as having
> > answered the question.  This reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons
> > where a board meeting is taking place, and one woman plus lots of men are
> > sitting around the table discussing business.  The woman offers a
> > suggestion, and the chairman of the board says "That's a great idea, Ms.
> > Brown, would one of the men care to suggest it?"
> > 
> > So the questions are :
> > 1)  How does one get HEARD in male groups?
> > 2)  How does one respond when one is blatantly ignored for what may be
> > sexist reasons?  Even if it may be unintentional?
> > 
> > Sarah
> It is sad that this sort of situation still happens.  Until a year or so
> ago, I probably would have said that this was less likely to happen
> nowadays.  However this has happened to me recently too (several times
> now).  I was quite shocked when it first happened, and I still haven't
> found a way to get around it (a male colleague of mine has also verified
> to me that it is not in my imagination either).  I would also love to hear
> if anybody has a solution to this particular situation.  I am beginning to
> think that some people are incapable of hearing things they don't want to
> (eg in this case that a woman could come up with a good idea). On the
> other hand, I have also been in other places where this has never
> happened, so it's nice to know that it's not a universal phenomenon.
> Kim
> (ksnowden at
> PS I've seen the cartoon you mentioned, and also thought it was good -
> however, it's not so funny anymore when it actually happens to you.

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