Getting Heard

Chris Boake boake at
Sun Jan 14 13:43:29 EST 1996

Sarah L. Pallas <spallas at> wrote:
 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.

I have had the same experience, at a meeting in which the relative academic status of participants was very clear, and thus the only explanation was sexism.  I had raised my hand, been recognized by the moderator, and then my suggestion was brushed off.  The next person rephrased my comment and was told that it was very interesting.  At that time I had already received tenure and the man who received the positive feedback for repeating my comment was a postdoc.  A number of people noticed the sexist behavior of the moderator, and one told me that he had a reputation for being sexist.
  Someone in this thread suggested that in this circumstance one could say something like "Hey wait a minute, I already said that!"  If you are interacting with strangers or with known sexist jerks, such a remark could land you in the pigeonhole labeled "pushy woman" (or worse).  Perhaps if you know your group, you could raise the issue in some kind of witty way that would make the point.  In my case, I was so taken aback by the behavior of the moderator that I was incapable of responding.
  With a cooperative male colleague, one could have quite a lot of fun with such jerks.  Whenever some comment of yours is ignored, the colleague could repeat it; if it is recognized, you could both point out what had just happened.  I suspect that public embarrassment might result in successful behavior modification by the offender.
Chris Boake

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