meetings and perceptions

ktimms at postmaster ktimms at postmaster
Thu Oct 9 11:22:20 EST 1997

|> Well, as I said in my original post -- maybe Europeans are slightly more 
|> relaxed about this (any fellow Europeans here wanting to comment on that?).
|> However, I also think that there's a difference between school (well, we're
|> still growing up in this period, although I thought by the time we reach grad
|> school we should have grown up in the field of relations) and a professional
|> conference. 
|> I'd also say that there is always a fine line between flirting (involving 
|> both parties) and people make passes at others (involving only one party).
|> My impressions so far are that Europeans seem to have an easier time 
|> recognizing this line -- but again, this might be a very personal view 
|> of these things. 
|> Sabine

My personal experience in Germany was that Europeans weren't more relaxed
they just were accepting of what I found to be extremely inappropriate
behaviour. During my year there I was constantly harrassed by another PhD
student (male) in my lab. This included inappropriate remarks and his
constantly touching me. He treated the majority of the women in the
department in this manner and when I asked them why no-one complained I was
told this was just something you had to put up with. I could find no formal
avenue for laying a complaint. When I voiced my extreme displeasure about his
behaviour to the individual concerned he suggested that I should "grow up"
and that if I were a mature woman I wouldn't feel this way. This was a major
reason why I left the department and returned to NZ after only a year. I
should also mention that this behaviour occurred in a high profile
institution where there was one group leader with a firm "no females" policy
in his lab and another who seemed to think that an essential part of mentoring
his female students and post-docs was to sleep with them.

After spending a year in Germany it wasn't difficult for me to understand why
the proportion of female grad students was so low, and also convinced me that
this was not a place I would ever consider living or working again.

My impressions were that women in this department at least were powerless to 
stop this sort of behaviour, and as a consequence accepted it as inevitable.


More information about the Womenbio mailing list