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wThursday, April 17, 2003

So, who goes reading through essays written on failed Gubernatorial Candidates websites? Me, of course. And while usually I spare you the policy ones, every one of you should read this one.

The Day I Became a Feminist
I have begun to notice small things. A recruiter for a large company calls to ask about a student who is being considered for a job. "Does she plan to have a family?" he inquires, innocently enough. "Is she really -- er -- serious about a career?" It is not the first time such a question has been put to me about a female student, but it is the first time I hear it clearly, for what it is.

A male colleague is critical of a young woman assistant professor: "She’s not assertive enough in the classroom," he confides. "She’s too anxious to please -- doesn’t know her own mind." Then, later, another colleague, about the same young woman: "She’s so whiny. I find her very abrasive." It is possible, of course, that she is both diffident and abrasive. But I can’t help wondering if these characterizations more accurately reflect how my two colleagues feel about women in general -- their mothers, wives, girlfriends -- than about this particular young woman.

At a board meeting of a small foundation on which I serve, the lone woman director tries to express doubts about a pending decision. At first, several loquacious men in the group won’t give her a chance to speak. When finally she begins to voice her concern, she is repeatedly interrupted. She perseveres and eventually states her objection. But her concern goes unaddressed in the remainder of the meeting, as if she had never raised it. It seems to me that this isn’t the first time she was ignored, but it is the first time I noticed.
It's by Bob Reich. Who, as you are undoubtedly aware, is a college professor, co-founder of The American Prospect magazine, was Clinton's Secretary of Labor, and had a failed run for Governor of Massachusetts in 2000. Oh, and he writes a lot of books too.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 12:13 PM

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