Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A tale of misogyny

So I work for the army research lab (ARL) as a co-op. I have a female co-worker who I was reminded of reading this post by Molly of Molly saves the day regarding an event of misogyny in the sciences. This co-worker (who shall remain nameless) was transferred from one post to another (as the army likes to do) and she went to duty. She did a variety of things (as she still does) but no one ever gave her a job description. Eventually someone came to give her a job description and found that she did duties that should have earned her much more pay. She could have sued for lots of money (she chose not to because she wanted to keep her job).

After writing this it seems much less damning than hearing it in person and knowing most of the people involved. Very few are explicitly misogynists, but many seem to have internalized the woman = clerical labor idea that lead to this (not that there is anything wrong with clerical work, I know nothing would get done without the branch and division secretaries, and it's a shame they aren't paid enough to make it an attractive position). That she performs many clerical tasks (making phone calls, making sure things get shipped, etc) may play into it, but she nonetheless was treated like something she wasn't and paid less because she is a woman.

There are other tales I could tell of misogyny, but that is the most egregious one. The reason there are few more is largely because there are so few women at ARL. It is mainly physicists and electrical engineers, and there are so few women among those groups that I can count on one hand the number of scientist/engineer positions held by women at ARL that I know of.

That is the real tragedy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Indeed it is.