6 reasons why we have an International Women’s Day

~Glen Jankowski








As critical psychologists, we need to be critical of sexism. Days like International Working Women’s Day remind us of the importance of feminism. Here’s 6 other reasons why we need International Women’s Day.

1) Because men are assumed to be default persons. This ‘Male as default’ assumption can be seen in the above where Judi Dench and J K Rowling only count as ‘women’ but Ricky Gervais and Ian McEwan get to be ‘author’s’ and ‘comedians’ Source: @ Emma Kennedy
More examples here:

gender flipping

2) Because of how sexist popular representations of women are. Including in video games and comics. This Gender Flipping example shows us how male superheroes would look like if they were treated like female superheroes Source: http://junkee.com/flip-it-and-reverse-it-how-to-fight-the-gender-wars/15081

3) Because lots of research shows men are more likely to interrupt, patronize and ignore women in everyday conversations. And yes this happens in academia. The above image shows mansplaining on Twitter where a man corrects a woman on an article that she wrote. 

pay gap

4) Because sexism isn’t only about the intepersonal or representational. It’s also about material deprivation. Globally women earn less than men. Even in academia. After controlling for hours worked, career type etc women are paid less than men and BME women are paid even less than white men and white women (the intersections of sexism are critical – the most oppressed women face the brunt of sexism plus other oppressions) Source: http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

sports covers

5) Because of how appalling women’s sports coverage is still https://leftfootforward.org/2011/01/coverage-of-womens-sport/Steteotype threat6) Because of how this sexism impacts women, becomes a self fullilfilling prophecy and stops interventions that could undo sexism (such as education). The fantastic research by Claude Steele (one of the few Black Psychologists to make it in a historically racist discipline of psychology)  on stereotype threat shows positivistly, how the stereotypes that ‘women can’t do maths’ or  harms women by affecting their maths performance when it is enacting. More info here: https://antisexism.wordpress.com/tag/claude-steele/

Academics need to guard agaisnt sexism. Especially if purporting to be critical. The feminist section of the British Psychological Society provides one of the few spaces in our discipline to do this. It’s under funded and under recognized. Consider coming to the POWS conference (full disclosure: yes this is a plug – I’m an unpaid committee member of the section).

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