Women with PhDs aren’t taken as seriously as male counterparts in their fields, as these experiences show…
Last month, we found that females with post-graduate degrees earn less than men without one. Not very encouraging for those prospective students considering whether or not to make such a huge financial and personal investment, right?
Now, in even more discouraging news for female academics, women who have gone on to become doctors are saying that they are not taken seriously. This is perhaps unsurprising, but it is still incredibly disheartening and downright annoying that it’s still happening in 2019.
Dr Louise Raw, a historian and writer who works with BBC Radio London, perfectly articulated things.
Writing on Twitter, she started a thread:
“Fun Having a PhD whilst Female stories: 1) My mate went to a conference & booked a small single room in a B & B online. She booked in alone; stayed alone; ate brekkie every morning alone. When she came to pay the bill she had been charged double occupancy. She asked why…
“And was told the extra charge was for ‘Doctor White’. Her: That’s me! Them: No- Dr White is the gentleman who booked the room. Her: That was me. Them: We know there was a man staying with you because a copy of the FT was ordered to the room! - I wish I were making this up.
“After 5 years of my kid’s primary school calling me ‘Mrs + Kid’s Last Name’, & me filling out every form with Dr Raw, I finally, feeling a bit embarrassed, asked if they could at least use my correct last name if not my title. Cue exaggerated ‘Hello DOCTOR Raw’ for next 2 years.
“Same school would aggressively correct anyone who referred to one of the school governors who had a PhD as ‘Mr’. -‘IT’S DOCTOR!!!!’.
“Another woman I know was at a conference abroad & had been able to take her family. At breakfast, the hotel had set out name cards to indicate who should sit where. Every morning she sat by hers, which said ‘Doctor’. Every morning the wait staff moved it in front of her husband.
“Worse, her hubs didn’t object, & was annoyed with her when she finally mentioned it to staff.
“Because this happens all the time, & because it’s part of a wider issue with women always being assumed to not be the professional in many fields, & because women tend to internalise & be embarrassed to use titles, the feminist campaign started to use them.
“So it isn’t us thinking we’re superior or special. It’s simply trying to show women can have PhDs. That’s it. The way it’s pissing off the Far Right, which just proves how necessary the campaign was, is just a delightful bonus!”
Fellow female experts were quick to share their own relatable experiences.
One follower wrote: “Just bought our first home. One of the neighbours comes over for a chat. Looks at my partner and says, ‘So are you the Dr’. He looks at me. I awkwardly waved and said ‘No that’s me. I’m the Dr’.”
Another added: “I am a construction professional, my husband is not, yet EVERY time we have builders and I ask a question, he gets the answer, and looks to me to see if it’s right. The only reason I am doing a PhD is to answer that miss / mrs question with, no doctor. That and the hat, of course.”
Another added: “Once had a porter come to my office looking for Dr Day:
Me: “You’re in the right place, how can I help?”
Porter: “Can you let him know there’s a parcel for him in the loading bay?”
Me: “I would, but he doesn’t exist. Instead, I’ll go and collect my parcel.”
Although total kudos is due to these women who are ensuring people know exactly who they are and what they’ve worked for, it’s just so frustrating that their male counterparts don’t need to go around with a sign on their head.