I can’t stand by – calling out sexism in academia
How do male academics become allies in fighting sexism in the #metoo era, without ‘mansplaining’ or ‘white knighting’? Three University of Canterbury (UC) academics have looked into the necessary steps behind championing inclusivity and diversity in academia.
Professor Ekant Veer, Kseniia Zahrai and Dr Susannah Stevens.
The paper, titled I Stood By: The Role of Allies in Developing an Inclusive and Supportive Academic Environment Post #MeToo – written by Professor Veer, PhD student Kseniia Zahrai in UC’s Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship department, and Dr Susannah Stevens of UC’s Child Well-being Research Institute – looks at the role of men as allies in de-normalising sexist behaviour in universities.
“Over two years we spoke to 30 people who were considered self-appointed allies or champions of inclusivity and diversity on university campuses. Our intention wasn’t to say ‘this is the fix’, but rather to explore what we can do to bring together these ideas so that every university can have some practices that lead towards making things better,” says Professor Veer.
Kseniia Zahrai, who is close to completing her PhD, explains: “We focused on men and women following the #metoo movement, which was an awakening for a lot of people who have not experienced sexual harassment, or had turned a blind eye to it, but I think there are more general applications, too.”
The team sets out practical steps for allies to develop an inclusive and supportive academic environment in three main areas: awareness, procedural change, and de-normalising unacceptable behaviour.