To some, sexism may seem like the challenge of a bygone era, but to women on Doane’s campus, it is all too real.
Freshman Noa Snyder said female students and faculty face sexism.
Snyder said in her field, pre-law, there are few women in the classes. She believes fosters an unproductive atmosphere, she said.
“You are looked at from the lens of ‘you are the minority in this room, how does this affect you,'” Snyder said. “That shouldn’t be expected of anyone because it is totally inappropriate. It can make people want to find helpless when they are scared people can’t relate to them.”
It often takes action from those unaffected by sexism for change to happen, Suzannah Rogan, project coordinator for Sexual Assault Education and Prevention, said. This because sexism is so steeped in the environment.
“Much of our history called for the submission of women and, conversely, power being held by men,” Rogan said. “This does not go away overnight. Though sexism doesn’t look the same as it did decades ago, it persists because it takes acknowledgment and action on the part of those who hold power.”
Rogan said that sexist attitudes do still exist in a culture that allows one gender to hold power.
Many female students are already familiar with catcalls, inappropriate jokes and objectification. Rogan said many female professors are also subjected to sexism from students.
“Faculty can face sexism in much the same way (as students),” Rogan said. “Specifically, a female professor can often face sexism from their students. There are studies that have shown female professors are more likely to be argued with, spoken over, and ignored than their male counterparts, and also receive lower ratings.”
Rogan cited an article from NPR suggesting that end of semester evaluations often show gender bias rather than evaluating actual performance.
“Inthis paper, the team ran a series of statistical tests on two different data sets, of French and U.S. university students,” the article reads. “The French students were, in effect, randomly assigned to either male or female section leaders in a wide range of required courses. In this case, the study authors found, male French students rated male instructors more highly across the board.”
The American results were slightly different. The study still found a discrepancy in teacher perceptions based on gender.
“Here, it was the female students, not the males, who rated the instructors they believed to be male more highly across the board,” the article continued. “The same instructor, with all the same comments, all the same interactions with the class, received higher ratings if he was called Paul than if she was called Paula.”
Snyder said she often sees male students speaking over female professors. They also show female professors less respect, she said.
“Whether it is intentional or not I don’t know, but I have class with a particular male student who talks over a female teacher or just interrupting her,” Snyder said. “I’m in another class with that individual with a male professor and that has never happened.”