Glass ceiling assumption insulting

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Women in university politics”
Jan. 29, 2009

To the editor:
Lauren Pelley states that the glass ceiling is shattered and therefore no longer is a hindrance to women. This statement is insulting to the tireless efforts and professional achievements of women as she suggests that the only reason women are lacking gains in politics is due to a make-believe barrier which they just have to recognize was never there. I am shocked to read an article, opinion-based though it may be, which displays an appalling lack of awareness regarding the history of such barriers as sexism, racism and homophobia, which have and continue to hinder women and marginalized groups.

These barriers are not relegated to women in politics but can also be found within the everyday setting of a classroom. Ms. Pelley writes that women have no one to blame but themselves for a lack of participation in classroom settings. This suggestion ignores findings that show women are interrupted or ignored more often than men in the classroom; that language used by professors may be sexist, racist or homophobic; or the use of gender stereotypes to describe students could all explain why women do not feel comfortable speaking in class.

The administration, University Students’ Council and individuals do, in fact, have a responsibility to all students to ensure that classrooms and campus are free from all such barriers. This is not meant to impose blame but instead is a call to attention regarding the barriers that certain groups may face on campus. Instead of faulting women for an under-representation of their voice in the classroom or student politics, I suggest that careful consideration be paid to why this may be the case. Only then can we begin to create dialogue without blame and without barriers.
" Christine Demore
Advertising and Internet manager
Women’s Issues Network

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