Vaginas apparently essential for taking notes in meetings

I was quite amazed to be in a team with equal female male representation. This was a industry event and the other members of my team were not academics. We were providing consultation services to an organization pro bono and due to COVID-19, we were also doing this virtually from the comfort of our homes.

The team lead, a mature gentleman mentioned that he hadn’t seen me at the industry body meetings, which are mostly in the evenings.

I used to attend the meetings regularly before I had children. But I was not about to admit that motherhood made it difficult to spend evenings away from my family. So in my best I’m so successful voice, I professed to being so busy lately that I found it difficult to get to them. I thought that was better than replying in my ‘parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life’ voice, that seemed to be on repeat in my head. He, let’s call him Max, seemed to accept this with a quizzical nod.

The meeting was going reasonable well although slightly slow for my liking.

Max opened a document with some bravado about how he had previously saved it into a shared folder, like he had just saved a kitten from a tree. He then proceeded to ask the other woman on the team if she would like to ‘take the lead?’ To which she replied with an enthusiastic yes.

The message however was lost in translation. I have a feeling she may have thought he meant lead the discussion. He meant ‘take notes by typing into this document while I talk’.

This was a long meeting and about half way through this woman excused herself from the typing and explained she needed to put her children to bed, she returned in less than ten minutes. All I could think is this woman is a goddess! 10 minutes if only, it takes me a good 30 minutes. She had previously shared that she was a single mum so the effort to juggle her work, pro bono work and her family was incredible.

But I digress…

As she left, Max quickly with a paternalistic air asked me if I would like to take over from, let’s call her Betty.

I ever so politely declined, mentioning I thought it was better that the person sharing the document typed into it.

Unfortunately, when God handed me my vagina they were out of what Max obviously thought was the stock standard secretarial skills add-on.

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.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.