Academia Needs to Confront Sexism
A few years ago, I started my postdoc in a prominent biology lab at a top U.S. university, supported by a prestigious fellowship. I thought I was on track to become a professor. Instead, I am one of a number of female postdocs to leave the lab prematurely in recent years because of my supervisor's sexist behavior and the toxic lab environment she created. (Yes, she—women can be sexist, too, though I initially thought there would be little chance of facing sexism in a female professor's lab.) I am still committed to pursuing a scientific career and am transitioning to another lab. But I am driven to share my story because tolerating or fighting sexism should not be a rite of passage for female scientists.
I write under a pseudonym because I fear repercussions from my supervisor and institution, and future employers do not view whistleblowers favorably. However, my identity and those of my supervisor and institution are unimportant. My experience is not unique. Many women in academia experience discrimination ranging from casual sexism to outright harassment. Many leave silently because academia lacks effective measures to counter sexism. The only way forward is to acknowledge and address sexism as the systemic problem that it is...
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