Do You Have Any Other Talent Young Lady, Other Than Being So Pregnant?

I participated in an election meeting for assistants with the two candidates Prof. X and Y, running for the dean position. I asked a question to X on his plan towards increasing women professors in the Law Faculty. I asked him why do we have so few role models and women around.

I was fully pregnant at the time. His answer was: ‘Well, yes, we have a few talented women’, he mentioned the names of one woman in Criminology, and a few in the Law Faculty, and he said ‘yes, they are very few’, clearly for him this was a matter of talent.

Then he asked me ‘what do you think young lady’, looking at my belly. I was fully pregnant and interpreted that, as been told openly, ‘that’s why we don’t have women professors, because you keep being pregnant all of you’.

He never gave me an answer to his plan as a dean to counteract the scarcity of women professors. I thought that was very sexist, being called young lady, and not being given any answer on his plan, but having asked the question back to me. I was not candidating myself to become dean. And what is more important it shows how unaware he is of the problem, thinking this is a matter of talent.

Story signed by : not so young, not a lady, and not pregnant anymore.

The story happened to me as a PhD student in the year 2012, around an academic institution in Flanders.