I was interviewed by SBS News on microaggressions. Below is an excerpt featuring my comments.
“When people point out the impact of microaggression they also hear ‘I didn’t mean it like that’ or ‘can’t you take a joke?’” says Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, an applied sociologist who has studied microaggressions in Australia. She says confrontation isn’t the best way out of these situations.
“There’s a lot of psychological stress when you’ve been injured by their comments and then they tell you what you experience is invalid.”
The best way is get the other person to be reflective. “Questions stop the other person because they have to think, rather than be defensive.”
“And you shouldn’t expect a minority to always speak for themselves, it’s on all of us to tackle together.”
Another effective way is to express disappointment if it was done by someone you know well.
“We know from research most people hold a positive view of themselves,” says Dr Zuleyka [sic].
“When you say “I always thought you were a reasonable person” or “I can’t believe I’m hearing this for you” it turns the mirror around.”
Read more on SBS News.
Learn more on racial microaggressions on my blog.
A quick note to say that I’ll be on a panel at the Science Pathways conference on 23 April 2018, in Brisbane.* The event is run by the EMCR Forum (Australia’s Early- and Mid-Career Researcher Forum). The panel is titled, ‘Making Science Inclusive.’ I will speak about how to use intersectionality to refocus diversity initiatives to be more inclusive. My co-panellists are:
- Ms Kimberly Olsen (CEO Trans Employment Program Australia),
- Ms Rachel Ranton (Inclusion & Diversity Consultant, Westpac),
- Dr Andrew Siebel (Assistant Dean, Diversity & Inclusion, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne), and
- Dr Soressa Kitessa (Senior Research Scientist, SARDI).
The panel is facilitated by Dr Carly Rosewarne (Research Scientist, CSIRO).
A description of the panel from the conference website:
Discussions around how to improve diversity in science are often centred on ways to encourage those from underrepresented demographics to consider career paths in STEM. To ensure success, these well-intentioned initiatives need to be underpinned by effective policy and ongoing support to ensure individuals are given an equal opportunity to thrive. In this session, the concept of inclusive science will be explored from the perspective of EMCRs, with examples of best practice from academia and industry.
If you can’t make it, you will be able to watch it free on livestream! Register here.
* Note that the conference continues on the next day but I won’t attend on the 24 April.
Zuleyka Zevallos, Swinburne University of Technology
This article was originally published in The Conversation
The culture in astronomy, and in science more broadly, needs a major reboot following revelations early this year of another case of harassment against women by a senior male academic.
The journal Science revealed earlier this month that the latest case involved Christian Ott, a professor of theoretical astrophysics at Caltech university, in the United States.
Frustrated that Ott was not fired and only placed on unpaid leave for a year, the two female students who raised the allegations took their story to the popular online news outlet Buzzfeed.
Also this month, US Congresswoman Jackie Speier raised the case of Professor Tim Slater, who had been investigated for various sexual harassment incidents that began after he was hired by the University of Arizona in August 2001. Slater went on to the University of Wyoming.
Slater spoke to the news website Mashable and said he had received sexual harassment training as an outcome of the investigation.
But Congresswoman Speier questioned why the investigation into Slater’s sexual harassment was sealed “while he went on with his career”, even though women who were victims lost years of study and career progress due to his conduct.
Continue reading How to stop the sexual harassment of women in science: reboot the system