Talk

Advanced search

Stonewall survey

(32 Posts)
worstofbothworlds Mon 09-Oct-17 09:41:43

We got a message round to take part in this - it's the usual guff - but I put under gender "my sex is female, gender is a socially imposed construct" and also told them that women can't "be themselves" in academia. Will they care do you think?

If you haven't had a link then the survey link is here www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=149907370564
However you need your institution code and name so you'll probably have to search on your University web pages for that. On ours it was under "equality and diversity" but maybe try HR as well, or News.

As I said on the general chat thread, I don't know any out lesbians or bi women who are academics at my institution though there are a small number of out gay men. But some of this may be subject specific as it's not a theoretical debate in my branch of STEM (or at least nobody in my department specialises in it - it is I know possible to research this area in my discipline).

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 09-Oct-17 10:24:05

Oh, interesting. That is not the survey I saw - at least, I don't think so!

HouseholdWords Mon 09-Oct-17 12:48:15

I'm on my Faculty's Diversity committee. Part of the agenda was reviewing the Stonewall survey. I have a very outspoken gay male colleague who seems to think that transgender issues need to be thoroughly discussed. FFS we are still dealing with a pay gap and a gap in promotions for women ie 51% of the population He brought up case of "gender neutral" toilets has already come up - I had to say very strongly that these should not just be Women's lavatories converted as has happened elsewhere.

I completed the Stonewall survey ages ago & added stuff about the definition of female & the difference between "sex" and "gender."

I think the difficulty for me, as a straight person completing the Stonewall survey, was that I don't really feel competent to comment very much. For me gay is normal ... and one of my Departmental colleagues said that he found the rainbow lanyard we're all encouraged to wear to be patronising, not "welcoming."

I said I'd wear a white lanyard in solidarity with men against domestic violence & the 2 women murdered each week by their [usually] male domestic ex/partners.

But what we noted in my university's Stonewall results is that non-LGBT employees think things are better for LGBT than LGBT colleagues themselves register. I suppose that might be because we don't get the day-to-day incidental harassment, or don't notice the heteronormativity in the curriculum quite so much.

OTOH, I've never been asked to complete a university-wide survey on basic conditions and attitudes towards women. And student survey feedback is still used, even though there is now overwhelming research to show that it merely confirms students' sexist & racist biases.

worstofbothworlds Mon 09-Oct-17 13:01:24

non-LGBT employees think things are better for LGBT than LGBT colleagues themselves register

I imagine that is true for reasons you mention. Men probably think they are not biased against women/there is no bias.

user918273645 Mon 09-Oct-17 13:07:38

OTOH, I've never been asked to complete a university-wide survey on basic conditions and attitudes towards women.

This is surprising as e.g. Athena SWAN submissions rely on the results of such surveys.

(You seem to imply that LGBT+ issues should be less of a priority as they affect fewer people. It's not a competition. Both should be addressed.)

And student survey feedback is still used, even though there is now overwhelming research to show that it merely confirms students' sexist & racist biases.

And biases about sexuality too. A non-white female (manifestly) lesbian lecturer receives very poor evaluations.

user918273645 Mon 09-Oct-17 13:09:26

non-LGBT employees think things are better for LGBT than LGBT colleagues themselves register.

And remarkably enough men think everything is fine for female employees and white people think there aren't racism issues. It can't come as a surprise to you, surely, that non-LGBT employees don't know about the discrimination and other issues that LGBT employees experience?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 09-Oct-17 15:22:36

non-LGBT employees think things are better for LGBT than LGBT colleagues themselves register

Yes, but this is true outside employment, too. I'm constantly amazed when there's an article in the papers about someone who didn't come out until later in life because of homophobia (internalised or external). All the comments are 'rubbish, there is no stigma now'. I include in this category a truly amazing response to a piece about a man whose OAP wife had come out, where people were insisting that because they had themselves been sexually liberated in the 1970s, they could therefore presume there was no such thing as homophobia at that time.

HouseholdWords Mon 09-Oct-17 15:34:06

No, it wasn't a surprise - it's obvious why surveys register this difference. But no, I haven't ever been asked about conditions for women employees - and I don't think that there's a hierarchy here, except that I always note that when "diversity" issues are led by gay men, they are a bit er- shall I say "forgetful" of women's issues - issues which are common for all women, not just straight or gay. As was the case on my recent experience of a committee discussion of gender neutral lavatories.

This was top of my male colleague's list, whereas my female colleagues & I had to keep bringing the discussion back to the existing pay gap (which iirc can affect lesbian women more severely because of interlocking discrimination).

<sigh> some/most of these issues were still around when I started my job 30 years ago as a teaching postgrad. NOw I'm in a position to not have to care about the consequences (too much), I can try to do something. But sad that we're still talking about the basic stuff ...

user918273645 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:49:35

I think on all diversity committees people are vocal about pushing their own specific diversity issue, often at the expense of other issues.

I have been on committees with gay men pushing this issue to the top of the agenda (and indeed underplaying intersectionality issues faced by lesbian women). I have also been on committees with people who are pushing very specific disability issues (provision for the deaf, for example) and who are not interested in wider disability issues.

Good chairs of such committees make sure the discussions remain balanced and do not get hijacked by any particular group - and that women are not talked over but given enough opportunities to put forward the issues they feel are important.

HouseholdWords Mon 09-Oct-17 16:35:17

I am far too bolshy to be talked over ... I have the advantage of seniority, which mostly just means more work, but in this case it's useful as I can push things without having to worry about the consequences to me personally. The Chair of the committee knows this quite well [he introduced my inaugural lecture which had the word 'feminist in the title]. It's a moment in my life when I'm glad I've climbed up that greasy pole. But I was academically mentored by some very good feminists.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 09-Oct-17 16:52:41

user9, I'm sure that happens, but I think there's also a more tactical and nasty practice. I don't know if it happens everywhere, but here, there was an almost comic situation where a group of us were keen to get some work done on race and gender. Every time someone tried to bring up gender, one of the senior (white, male) people would say 'ah, but don't you think you should include race? How can you expect us to take this work seriously when it doesn't consider race?' And every time someone tried to bring up race, it was 'and what about gender? What are you doing there?'

However hard you tried to say you were working on both, but occasionally taking a different approach to one than the other, it was the ultimate silencing tactic.

HouseholdWords Mon 09-Oct-17 16:57:38

Oh yes, the hierarchy of oppressions ... (we see how the extremists in transactivism are using it currently).

And I've been shouted at by angry [black] men about how white women know nothing of oppression. once in circumstances where I felt quite physically uneasy & trying not to feel threatened

ArbitraryName Mon 09-Oct-17 20:47:17

I spent a good chunk of my day wasting my time on this year’s ‘mandatory online training’. I found myself getting more and more angry at the obvious (but presumably unconscious) biases of the people who made the dreadful e-learning I had to endure. Every time contrasting examples were given, the white man did the right thing but the woman (in most cases from an ethnic minority background) was the one the who made a mistake or did the wrong thing. I was really cross after doing 5 of the things to find the same pattern repeating again and again.

But they’d included lots of women and ethnic minotities, so clearly the makers couldn’t have any problematic biases.

HouseholdWords Mon 09-Oct-17 21:35:48

Oh god are we at the same place? That sounds very like the crap one I had to do. I got one question "wrong" because I was less discriminatory than the law allows me to be.

ArbitraryName Tue 10-Oct-17 07:49:44

I hope (for your sake) that you’re not at the same place as me! The university bought in generic e-training materials (which had nothing really to do with HE), so you may have been forced through the same rubbish.

I got questions wrong in all the quizzes because I wasn’t only giving it 10% of my attention. I had it open in one screen should I did something else on the other.

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 10-Oct-17 08:30:00

And I've been shouted at by angry [black] men about how white women know nothing of oppression. once in circumstances where I felt quite physically uneasy & trying not to feel threatened

I've never been shouted at, but I have been told that white middle-class women have privilege and I've also been told this by white middle-class men.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 10-Oct-17 08:38:37

Well, white middle-class women do have privilege, don't we?

My favourite story of unconscious fuckwittery is this. My (queer, visibly queer) colleague and I were at a conference. A male colleague came to lecture us about how difficult the culture at our particular university was for gay men and lesbians (it isn't). He wasn't at our university, but he told us all about it, because as a gay man he knew more than two straight women about these things.

I opined that one problem for queer women might be men telling them what their experiences were.

He didn't get it.

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 10-Oct-17 08:45:23

Well, white middle-class women do have privilege, don't we

Yes, but men also have (male) privilege. Plus I don't quite get the class thing. Two academics talking to each other, one black male and one white female and how is her social class apparently different or an issue?

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 10-Oct-17 08:54:57

I can see how her social class could be different. I mean, I'm middle-class and I came into academia more easily than a friend of mine who was a foster child and consequently comes from one of the groups of people least likely to finish HE, let alone a PhD.

But I agree it might not automatically be an issue.

user918273645 Tue 10-Oct-17 09:00:03

I recently met a man from a leading UK university who works in EDI, in their HR section. He spent the whole meeting mansplaining, putting women down, implying that he was the expert in gender issues (more than women) as he works full-time in EDI. I seriously considered making a complaint about him to his university.

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 10-Oct-17 09:00:43

I can see how social class is different. I wasn't born middle-class as it happened, but in the above, I meant how would 'her' social class be (necessarily) different from 'his' social class. Class isn't immediately obviously visible, and especially when everyone is in their habitus as academics (so to speak), but it somehow seems to be (and seemed to be in that instance) somehow connected with being a woman (or white woman) almost automatically.

user918273645 Tue 10-Oct-17 09:16:18

I agree that class can get tied up with gender but in this case is the man perhaps sensitive about his background and that is why he threw it in the conversation?

I know a senior man who would be assumed to be very "middle class". In fact he comes from a very deprived background and this is a big issue for him - he has many feelings of imposter syndrome. I can see him making comments about privilege to women coming from top schools/Oxbridge. (Although I'd probably feel more sympathetic for him if he himself became more active in widening participation work.... it feels like he wants allowances made for him, but he doesn't want to help others from similar backgrounds to him. Anyhow.)

YetAnotherSpartacus Tue 10-Oct-17 09:19:27

I agree that class can get tied up with gender but in this case is the man perhaps sensitive about his background and that is why he threw it in the conversation?

I'd have no problems with him calling himself working class or whatever, but in the context of the conversation, the comment was tacitly directed at me and by implication other white female academics. Not all are middle-class and some might be equally sensitive.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 10-Oct-17 09:36:34

I think people can be funny about class in general. As it happens, said friend who was a foster child gets 'middle class' thrown at her too, so I do suspect there's a bit of an unexplored tendency for men to tack on a bit of privilege. It's not unlike the way my interlocutor who was a gay man presumed my female colleague and I must be straight, because he thought he was having a conversation in which he must be the most disempowered one.

worstofbothworlds Tue 10-Oct-17 09:38:03

I was recently at a seminar with someone talking about class/discrimination. White man wearing tweeds and a watch chain. In a hipster, ironic way with his (no doubt original) Northern accent emphasised strongly but even so.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now