Gender Inequality at Universities

I’m 39. I can’t pull all nighters like I did when I was 20.

In my office we talk a lot about equality and inequality and feminism. This morning at 3:15 when I notified my professor that my part of the project was complete ( a nearly six-hour straight design and implementation) I realized that he had hoped that I would just take it and not complain.

We’re on day 3 of week 6 in our 10 week Spring Quarter. One of the two classes I’m taking this quarter requires us to do everything in teams. The theory behind it is so that we get some real world experience working with others. What SCAD has once again failed to realize is that most of their e-learners are working professionals who have experience working with teams – we do it every single day.

In the beginning I told my professor that this quarter I had several after work programs that would need me to work from 8 a.m. in the morning to around 9 p.m. at night. I gave him the date and the name of each event so he would know. I told him that I did not want to be a Team Leader because of my crazy schedule. We even had a long instant messaging chat about it where I explained again that I work full-time, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and could not do homework during my working hours; and gave him my special dates list again.

A day later I found out that I was the Team Leader for my team of three. Are you kidding me? This should have sent a red flag because I looked at other teams, teams of 5 members, one team made up of nothing but working professionals like me who I asked to work with because I knew we’d have similar schedules and realized that my team was not at all what my professor and I discussed the night before.

By week 3, my teammate J (another woman, a young woman with a chronic illness) and I had enough of our other teammate, Big Ego Boy (BEB). She and I pow wowed and decided that we would invoke the ability to fire one of our teammates. The curriculum for this course is threaded with “you better do well or your team will fire you!” rhetoric. I told the professor about our issues with BEB; and being the nice sweet woman I said he was a good designer and could our professor help him so we could continue working together. Professor said he’d reach out to BEB and let me know.

The following week BEB still hadn’t completed his tasks causing J and I to go into stress overload. J encouraged me to truly fire BEB. So I went to our professor again. I laid out all the instances of BEB’s problems and why we didn’t want to work with him. Our professor took 12 hours to respond. He wanted me to see if we couldn’t work it out with BEB. I said no. He suggested that we finish the project together and then he’d let BEB work on the next project by himself. I said no, we wanted him gone now.

Then the professor came back with, well, didn’t BEB do the logo design by himself and didn’t BEB do the moodboard by himself? WHOOSH up went that red flag. I told him that if each team member had contributed individual moodboards, that we each submitted sketches and drafts of the logo and as a team we decided that BEB’s logo best defined our team philosophy and work aesthetic; but in no way did BEB do all these things on his own.

This resulted in more hemming and hawing from our professor and hopefully we could all work together.

This morning at 3:30 a.m. when I was finishing part of the project that BEB dropped the ball on (and to be honest, I am not faultless here) I told our professor that I would not work with BEB again at all. That BEB had disrupted my life too much and that I should not be expected to put up with that childish attitude.

That’s when it dawned on me: Our professor doesn’t want to deal with BEB, another guy. But we as women should be the better people and just suck it up and make peace and learn to deal with it.

All the conversations I’ve had at work (which I’m missing today as I’ve had less than 2 hours of sleep since 6 a.m. Tuesday morning and 6 a.m. this morning) about feminism, inequality, double standards for women was something that I had dealt with ALL QUARTER LONG! Had BEB gone to our professor and said Wendi wasn’t doing her job, you know that our professor would have come to me and said the team has decided to fire you. But BEB is a guy. He’s kind of “expected” to be rough around the edges and it’s okay that he has an overblown sense of ego. He said as much to me during one of our conversations.

I look back at some other exchanges I’ve had with male professors; this isn’t the first time I’ve been patted on the head and told to run along. Another professor that I repeatedly asked for help told me several times if I would just read the assignment I would get it. On my last exchange with him I told him that I had read the assignment several times and that apparently something wasn’t clicking and that he should want to work with me and teach me instead of telling me to run along and reread the assignment. Then I emailed the department chairman and a couple of other people. All that did was get me a time slot to call the professor and be completely ignored the rest of the quarter.

So not only do I have to deal with the professors at SCAD not understanding the non-traditional student who does all our work online, but now I get to deal with gender inequality too! FABulous! Just what I wanted. So progressive SCAD, good job.


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