Sexism: Visibility vs Existence

This is a post that I’ve been thinking about since … well, 2 months. The title tells it all, it’s again about my post on what I have encountered at TU Wien that I regard as sexist. For the sake of completeness, here’s also the link to my addendum to that post (in case you missed it).

So, that blog post of mine seems to have made it as far as to the Austrian Students’ Parliament – yay! Also, it seems to have made quite an impression wherever it went.

Apparently the message heard by some people was that there is “a lot of sexism over there at Informatics”. It seems to me there are people out there who think what they don’t see doesn’t happen, as in “if nobody says there’s sexism at MY department, there is no sexism here”.

Maybe you’re not paying enough attention. Maybe your “sexism radar” hasn’t been fine-tuned yet. Maybe you’re just a hell of a lucky person who happens to be at a department where there are no sexist persons.

I’m a nice person, so I hope for you that it’s number 3. On the other hand, if you ever happen to be thrown into another environment, with less nice and less feminist persons, you’ll have a pretty tough time either getting accustomed to it, or – which I hope you’re already doing – changing it.

Making sexism visible as what it is – prejudice and discrimination based on a person’s gender and the stupid belief that one gender is overall superior to the other, thus making it alright to dominate the seemingly weaker gender – is the first step of making it go away.

And that’s what I was hoping for. Raising awareness that there’s still much to do at TU Wien. Finding allies. Maybe even starting something that might end up in changing my University.

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