The old boys club

I’m taking a class on peacekeeping and post-war reconstruction right now, and about a quarter of the class is female. Out of that quarter, only I and occasionally one other woman ever speak. And when I speak, I get dagger stares from some of the guys, stares that communicate, oh just shut up you haughty, uppity woman, what the bloody fuck would you know about reconstructing a judiciary after  a period of mass atrocities?

Well, for starters, certainly not less than you, pal!

The professor is a great guy, humane, witty, self-deprecating and teaching from years of real-world experience. Unfortunately, however, he is not exactly gender-sensitive. He uses only masculine pronouns when referring to positions in peacekeeping missions, and talks about “the guys who do ___” and “these___ guys” and, today, “all these guys who come in with no knowledge of the area and big swingin’ you-know-whats.”

At which point I shouted out, “WOMEN TOO!” (Which, in retrospect, was a funny phrase to append to that previous one.)

More dagger stares.

Good grief. Classes like this one are already overflowing with testosterone and bravado, more need not be encouraged, and it is wrong to give the impression (even unintentionally) that there aren’t plenty of women putting their necks on the line in the world’s crummier places every day in the service of peace and human rights.

Oh, and I’d like to see my female classmates look a little less bored and put away the damn iphones. Not helping. Not helping at all.

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