Equality role not gender-specific 3

July 21, 2006

I have no idea whether Sally Hunt or anybody else is the most suitable person to deal with equality matters at the University and College Union but I was depressed by the sexist undertone of the letter from the former Association of University Teachers' women's committee members. Their criticism was overlaid with repeated references to the gender of the people who were given the job.

After decades of gender and equality politics most people are properly careful of how they describe women but men are constantly exposed to disparagement. Not long ago a colleague described some unreasonably aggressive behaviour by two academics towards a third person of lower status. A female colleague retorted: "They must have been men." When she was told they were both women, her reply was, "well, it was masculine behaviour". She would probably say that she was joking but we have heard that before, haven't we?

Chris Rust Sheffield

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