This might seem like a strange question for a registrar’s blog, but it’s a question that I have faced directly three times since the semester started. “Ok! I get it! I’m supposed to pay attention to this problem.” (I’m learning to listen.)
What am I talking about? Three times this September, three women who hold important, managerial positions in our office have had students give them every indication that because they’re a woman the student will not accept their decision. This is not a male chauvinist thing. The students are women too.
The most troubling was one I overheard just three days ago. A female student was speaking to a female manager who’s office is next to mine. The student did not want to take a required class, did not believe she should have to take such a class, and was making a very passionate plea to get out of it. Throughout the conversation, the manager said several times, “This is the policy right here. The Chair of the English department and I have reviewed your situation three times now and we have determined that you are required to take this class.”
The student (remember, she’s a female) responded with, “What? This is a university! Two women can’t sit down and make a decision like this!”
It was all I could do not to poke my head out of my office and snipe back, “Well then, would you prefer to hear it from a man?” I was seething inside but I’ve learned enough about myself that I know when to keep my mouth shut. It would not have helped for me to intervene. I’m a man. It would only have reinforced the girl’s beliefs and worldview.
Three times this month we’ve heard something similar. While we were talking about this two days ago I said, “Sometimes they just have to hear it from a man for them to accept it.” The other women in the office agreed with me. We think it’s stupid. We abhor it. But we can’t control other people’s views, either. So my strategy is to deliberately frustrate these people by doing all I can to ensure that the only people they can get a decision from are female. But maybe I’m being petty and stupid.
I don’t understand you women. What’s up with you? Why can’t you accept decisions from other women? Your “glass ceiling” is self-imposed and it makes me angry because it’s within YOUR control. YOU are enforcing these limits. Why on earth would you do that?