Why aren’t more women at the top of the ivory tower?
The academy claims to be a meritocracy, in which the best and brightest graduate students gain employment as professors. When Kelly J. Baker earned her doctorate in religion, she assumed that merit mattered more than gender. After all, women appeared to be succeeding in higher ed, graduating at higher rates than men. And yet, the higher up she looked in the academic hierarchy, the fewer women there were. After leaving academia, she began to write about gender, labor, and higher ed to figure out whether academia had a gender problem. Eventually, Baker realized how wrong she’d been about how academia worked. This book is her effort to document how very common sexism—paired with labor exploitation—is in higher ed.
Baker writes about gender inequity, precarious labor, misogyny, and structural oppression. Sexism and patriarchy define our work and our lives, within and outside of academia. She not only examines the sexism inherent in hiring practices, promotion, leave policies, and citation, but also the cultural assumptions about who can and should be a professor. Baker also shows the consequences of sexism and patriarchy in her own life: hating the sound of her voice, fake allies, the cultural boundaries of motherhood, and the perils of being visible. It’s exhausting to be a woman, but Baker never gives up hope that we can change higher ed—and the world—if only we continue to try.
"Sexism Ed is smart, incisive, and hard to put down." —Jessica W. Luther, author of Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape.