I’m just a girl right?

My supervisor called me. I was on the panel when we hired him a couple of years ago, for a position at a level lower than I was.

He mentioned how busy he has been, but it was worth it, ‘they’ have secured research funding, no further details given. We are a small team. I’m not included in any of his research projects or included in grants.

Research projects and grant applications are things I have had to put on the back burner, not through choice, I’m so busy. I have an increased teaching load and am helping out developing the new courses, which he, my supervisor asked me to do. I thought everyone in the team would be doing development work. That’s what was said in our team meeting, what is suggested in team emails.

My supervisor mentions that ‘Bob, Frank and Mike (names changed to protect – well me) haven’t been able to assist with the course development. He started to mention workload, thought better of it and simply said ‘we all have different commitments’. He asks me to take on the development of another course.

I don’t hesitate, I say yes. I feel I have to. I want to keep him onside. I don’t feel like part of the team, I’m not one of the guys. I’ve been in the team the longest and I’m good at what I do. They got rid of the other female in our team, she’d been here even longer, she was even better.

That night, I can’t sleep, I ruminate on the conversation, my speed to please.

I think back to my last performance meeting, only a few months prior. My supervisor told me that I’m spending too much time on ‘teaching related work’ and it will never get me promoted. That I need to spend more time on my research and grants. That he doesn’t expect me to do that much teaching and unit development. This is what is documented. He allocates my workload. I remember feeling relieved, excited. In the last few years my teaching workload has been so high that I have essentially worked a extra year of teaching above what I am paid to do. Perhaps he really gets it, perhaps things will change.

Don’t count your chickens, as they say. This same man has just handed me more ‘teaching related’ work. Work that is not documented in my workload. What is said, written in policies, in legislation and what is done, are very different realities.

I’m now taking on three times my share of the unit development work. Some male members of the team are doing none. We get paid the same, I should be grateful, I am, I still have a job.

I’m just a girl right, perhaps I should know my place. Wear my apron and serve the coffee at the next meeting, be a good little stepford scholar.

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