My Thoughts on “Women Doing ‘Office Housework'”

by Heather Shea Gasser

This blogpost was also cross-posted on Heather’s personal blog

This article, Madam C.E.O., Get Me a Coffee: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Women Doing ‘Office Housework’, has appeared in my newsfeed several times in the last 24 hours. Clearly it is striking a painful chord and resonating – yet, in tracking who is posting about it, it is more often women than men. Some of the comments are particularly interesting:

‪Jamie Perkins‪, an educational assistant at an elementary school in Colorado writes: “Yes. And it’s not just women stepping in to these situations. I find that I am voluntold to do these tasks whereas my male co-intern gets to volunteer.‬”

‪Jodi Koslow Martin, a vice-president of student affairs in Illinois wrote: “I sent this article to a staff member at work. She thanked me and said it aligns with what I’ve said in the past – No Cupcakes! Honestly, I can’t remember instituting that rule but I’m all for it.‬”

‪Melanie-Angela Neuilly, a faculty member at a university in Washington state said to another commenter who raised the concerns about stereotypes, “Yes! It’s like: women, you are doing it wrong… Just be more like men.‬”

So, the article brings to our attention and raises awareness about a reality that I would guess many of us who identify as feminists have observed and pushed back against for some time now. Continue reading My Thoughts on “Women Doing ‘Office Housework’”

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My Reflection: It’s Time to Talk About Race

by Heather Shea Gasser

My overall philosophy in serving as a host of Student Affairs Live is to bring to the forefront the topics and issues that we as student affairs educators, need to have open conversations about in order to better serve our students and the profession. Late last fall in the wake of the non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, it was clear to me that we needed to host a conversation about Ferguson and confronting racism on campus.

As soon as an opening in the schedule was available, I scheduled the episode and began looking for panelists to address the topic “#BlackLivesMatter: Confronting Racism on Campus” which aired yesterday on the Higher Ed Live network (a recording of the show is available here). Continue reading My Reflection: It’s Time to Talk About Race

On Being Silenced

by Heather Shea Gasser

In the past two days, I received two different pieces that discuss the effects of silencing. Please take a moment to read the Feminist Wire article Feminists We Love: Dr. Kristie Dotson and the New York Times piece Speaking While Female.

The arrival of these two articles in my inbox also coincides with my preparation for a Higher Ed Live show that I’m hosting on the topic of Confronting Racism on Campus, during which I plan to ask the following question of the panelists:

“As a white person engaging in this conversation [about Ferguson], I know that silence by some white people inhibits authentic dialogue with one another and with our students. How can we assist those who may feel unable to engage, for whatever reason, race being one, to enter this important dialogue? How can we draw in those who either choose not to contribute or are silent because they fear saying the wrong thing? And, how can we ensure that white people understand the implications of choosing NOT to enter into a conversation in which they need to participate?”

As a response to my proposed question, one of the panelists made the remark that perhaps some individuals are coerced into being silent. He wrote in an email “I can’t help by wonder how many of our colleagues are stifled….how can we help those who may feel/be professionally, politically or socially strong-armed?”

Continue reading On Being Silenced

Space and Grace

By Brandy Turnbow

The closing months of the year are often a time of intense reflection for me as I struggle to understand what has been most meaningful about the year thus far and what can be done to better navigate some of the challenges experienced as I prepare for the next year to come. I rely heavily on my simple meditation of Space and Grace. Both capitalized; they’re that important. Space to attend to my self-care and self-reflection. Grace not to hold guilt for prioritizing my needs.

The past few years have been tedious and difficult. Small wins met with larger defeats or complete restructuring of purpose. Suffice it to say, when the calendar begins to wind down toward November, my anxiety increases and I find myself vulnerable and heavily reliant on my protocols of self-care.

Continue reading Space and Grace

#ItsOnUs to Fight Racism

By Amy Howton

The last few weeks have been heavy as our nation has experienced a steady crescendo of racial injustice embodied in the murders of Michael Brown, Tamar Rice, Eric Garner, and John Crawford and the failed response by the legal system to those murders.  With racism so powerfully rearing its ugly head, I know I’m not alone in seeking out community as I try to make sense of my own feelings and consider ways to create change.  I’ve been thankful for personal conversations, community forums, and online discussions including hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #FergusonDecision, #AliveWhileBlack #CrimingWhileWhite, and #FergusonSyllabus.

Nonetheless, I am also deeply disappointed by the silence I’ve also experienced. As a white student affairs administrator, I hear the impact of this silence on our community members and wonder, like others, how to learn from the past few weeks, sustain organizing efforts, and do better next time.

Tragically, there will be a next time. Continue reading #ItsOnUs to Fight Racism

Women of December

by Jodi Koslow Martin

A couple of weeks ago, the bloggers of this site got together on GoToMeeting to do what we do – discuss a book we’ve chosen related to feminist leadership. We had chosen Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington. The participant with the newborn was too tired to be on the call. Completely understandable as all of us have been in her shoes. Another was talking to us from the car after fitting in a haircut before picking up her son. She was about 100 pages into the book. I had also read about 100 pages, too. I had borrowed it through interlibrary loan but didn’t finish it before the due date. It traveled with me in my purse for a few weeks before I shoved it through the book repository of the library. Then, I ordered it on Amazon.com. Instead of trying to be a good steward of my resources, my packed schedule left me with a library fine and a credit card charge. Then, the PhD student of our group was listening to the book on audio while out on her runs. To make sure she finished in time for our meeting, she made the reader talk so fast she could barely understand what was being read to her. Lastly, our pregnant participant held up her book to show us that the binding was pristine. She hadn’t opened it yet.

Continue reading Women of December

Trans*ing Feminism

by Z Nicolazzo

This morning, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I happened across a post that brought a smile to my face: it now appears that Simmons is the third Women’s college to openly affirm its stance on accepting transgender (herein referred to as trans*) students (Rocheleau & Landergan, 2014). This announcement follows those made earlier this fall by Mills College and Mount Holyoke, signaling what I hope will be a sea change for not only Women’s colleges, but for all institutions of higher education. I agree that all institutions of higher education need to be considering trans* students more seriously, and have even mused why Men’s colleges have yet to publicly address the inclusion of trans* students. However, I think there are important questions to be addressed by the recent increase in attention on trans* students (lack of) inclusion at Women’s colleges, most notably, how does recognizing and affirming trans* lives shape the future of feminisms?

Continue reading Trans*ing Feminism

Feminist Pet Peeves-Part I

by: Jennifer R. Keup

This blog has been a haven for important discussions about personal, political, and professional issues related to women, leadership, and feminism. I am incredibly proud to be a small voice in the chorus here and love the passionate posts and lively comments that follow. So, I am going to ask everyone’s indulgence as I take a different direction with this post as more of a “rant” on the daily irritants that I experience as a feminist. Because, truth be told, we are all faced every day with the regular small (and not-so-small) reminders of how gendered our world is and how far we still have to go to achieve equity among all genders. So, without further ado, here are five of my “feminist pet peeves.” Continue reading Feminist Pet Peeves-Part I

In Praise of Strong Women: A Tribute to Mabel

by Heather Shea Gasser

I can directly point to the presence of strong women role models during my formative years as contributing factors to my current feminist identity. If you’re like me, the presence of elder women—be they our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or godmothers—had a direct impact in shaping who we are to become. While the younger generations watch, they deal with loss, transition, triumph, and sadness. We observe and we learn… and maybe we become a little bit like them in the process.

I’m reflecting on the presence of strong women because my 94-year old grandmother recently passed away. Born just months before women got the right to vote in 1920, she was one of eight children (two girls, six boys) who grew up in southern Colorado near Lamar. My grandmother had two children, my Father and nine years later, my Aunt Timi. She had four grandchildren, of which I am the oldest and the only girl.

Continue reading In Praise of Strong Women: A Tribute to Mabel

Reflections from a Pregnant Professional

By Sara Hinkle

As I contemplate my latest post for this blog, it’s clear that I should write about the subject that’s closest to me right now and at the forefront of my mind: my pregnancy. As I write this I am closing out my 39th week of pregnancy and eagerly/anxiously anticipating the arrival of my first child.  The road to this point has been a long and slow one, for the most part.  As I reflect, it occurs to me that, while balancing parenting and career is something that both men and women deal with (in theory if not in practice), pregnancy is a condition only experienced by women.  I will take this opportunity to reflect on how I’ve balanced the physical and mental challenges of pregnancy with my professional responsibilities as an assistant vice president for student affairs.

First Trimester

The first trimester can be both a time of excitement and uncertainty.   On the one hand, there is the thrill of getting the positive pregnancy result, hearing the baby’s heart beat for the first time, and, perhaps, seeing the child via ultrasound.  On the other hand, the first trimester is a time of high risk, as many women miscarry during this time.  This, coupled with the stress of planning for a new life with a child, can be the source of great anxiety.  Women also experience potential physical discomforts, such as fatigue, nausea and “morning” sickness.  Further, many women choose not to disclose their pregnancy during this time, as they would rather wait until they have moved out of the “high risk” phase.  As a result, it can be a lonely time, during which you’re not able to share your condition with those you see every day (e.g., your colleagues), but it’s still taking a toll on your physical and mental health.  Further, you’re not able to receive support from the workplace.

Continue reading Reflections from a Pregnant Professional