I got asked to do a women’s history month thing

I got an email late on a Wednesday in February asking me to let the emailer know by that Friday if I could participate in a women’s history month showcase of women’s research.  See the attached letter for more details.

I opened the attached letter.  It started,

Dear [friendly adjunct in another department, that is, NOT ME],

Then the letter itself didn’t say much.  Like… I don’t know what they want me to do.  Just that they have 24 women participating in 40 minutes and they want to spotlight “my” research and will be a huge honor for them if “I” participate.  Then it repeated itself a lot over three paragraphs without providing any actual information other than the day of the event and time.

Then I looked up previous years and it looks like maybe this part is a poster presentation (with big name speakers previous to this), and, importantly, all of the research being presented is gender research.  I do not have any current research on gender.

My guess is here that someone said no and I am definitely not their first choice.  On the one hand I should go as a public service.  On the other hand it sounds like a lot of work for no good reason.  On that first hand again, it probably wouldn’t kill me to network with other women across campus.  On the other hand, I don’t WANT to.  (Especially if having to make a poster of an already published paper is involved!  I don’t do conference posters.)

Being a woman sucks.

16 Responses to “I got asked to do a women’s history month thing”

  1. Omdg Says:

    Why not just say no?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I should have done that. What I did instead was passive-aggressively reply that they’d sent the email to the wrong person. When they responded a week later apologizing profusely and saying yes I was the intended recipient I felt guilty and said ok (after trying and failing to find said adjunct to see if she was going– she said no, if I’d known I would have said no too!) I said ok because I’m not really sure if there are penalties for saying no (there often are for women) and because I felt guilty for being passive aggressive and not just saying no upfront, even though I should have. Or I should have asked if it were a poster presentation and then said I don’t do poster presentations.

      My RA made a lovely poster of an already published paper. Because yes, it was a poster presentation. UGH.

      • becca Says:

        This is so painful to read, because there are so many things where I am grumpy about doing things that I should have just said no to in the first place. Then I feel guilty about grumpy, and end up resenting it more. It’s the worst cycle!

        Anyway, I need a cognitive strategy for this but so far no dice.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        If you figure it out, let me know!

      • Omdg Says:

        Ha. This is just the sort of thing I would do to myself. Condolences. It sucks.

  2. Veronica Says:

    I would say no without hesitation.

  3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Grumble. There are merits to doing this but I hate hate hate being asked at the last minute (and anything without more than a week of notice is last minute) to do work for free. Heck, paid work at the last minute is annoying!

  4. xykademiqz Says:

    Would be a definite no for me. I probably wouldn’t have even read the email in its entirety, tbh.

  5. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    Form email addressed to someone that is not me. -> Delete. You are clearly a more understanding person than I am though.

    Did the event end up being beneficial?

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Hey guys, here’s an important action you can do:

    (quoting from an indivisible email):

    This spring, Republican senators are working to confirm the NRA’s favorite lawyer, Howard C. Nielson, to a lifetime district court judgeship. He only needs a simple majority of votes, so we need to chip away at least 1 or 2 Republicans and ask Democrats to hold strong. That means all senators must hear from their constituents. This is a major opportunity for your senators to fight back against the gun lobby’s influence, at a crucial time in history.
    Here’s what you should know about Howard C. Neilson and the NRA:

    Nielson is one of the NRA’s go-to attorneys. He’s made a career out of representing the NRA and fighting against common-sense gun safety measures. Neilson has argued that state bans on people under 21 purchasing handguns or publicly carrying firearms are unconstitutional, and that cities should not be able to ban semi automatic rifles.
    He supported expanding the scope of the Second Amendment. Back in 2004 during the Bush administration, Neilson wrote a legal memo that argued for an expanded interpretation on the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court adopted his framework, and to this day it’s harder for states to take measures to prevent gun violence.

    There are many more reasons to oppose Neilson’s confirmation (defending same-sex marriage bans and writing infamous Torture Memos), but his relationship with the gun lobby and the national momentum behind gun violence prevention make this nomination stoppable. Thankfully the Senate, not Trump, will vote on Howard Neilson’s nomination. We have the power to let our senators know that Neilson is unacceptable for a lifetime role.
    Here’s what you can do:

    Review our resource for more information about Howard Neilson and how he has routinely positioned himself on the far-right fringe of the gun debate.
    Use our call script to call your senators. They can block Nielson’s nomination, so they need to hear your concerns about Neilson’s close ties to the NRA.
    Once you’re on the phone, tell your senator that Neilson is the wrong choice for federal judgeship. His relationship with the NRA and his far-right lean on the gun debate make him unfit for a lifetime role.

    We have some time before the vote, so there’s time to lay the groundwork and make sure that your senators say NO to Nielson. Your voice can make the difference in this nomination process. This position is locked in for life, and the NRA will be in Neilson’s pocket throughout that position of power if confirmed.

    /end quote

    5-calls’ script focuses on other reasons this guy is horrible: https://5calls.org/issue/oppose-howard-nielson-federal-court

  7. Fiona McQuarrie Says:

    I would have said no and politely explained why, e.g. misaddressed email, short notice time, lack of detail about the event, apparent lack of knowledge about your research. I would have explained that with a busy schedule it’s difficult to commit without having this information. That might help the organizers be better organized next time and get more participants.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think I should have asked if it was a poster presentation and then told them that I don’t do poster presentations at this stage of my career. If it were a 15 min presentation, I would have been more willing to do it as a service thing.

  8. chacha1 Says:

    This sounds like the sort of thing that happens to my professional-dancer acquaintances all the time. An email or other electronic query that is clearly not personalized and is an “offer” of work but specifically work they will not get paid for, in exchange for valuable “exposure!”

    Artists should never do work for free just for “exposure,” and neither should academics.

    Fiona’s suggested explanation would definitely be more positive and helpful than what I would have done, which is delete without replying. :-)


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