On International Women’s Day 2014, a group of female academics, ranging from students to professors, located at KU Leuven in Belgium decided to launch the website SASSY (Sharing Stories of Academic Sexism with You – https://academicsexismstories.org). Fed up with the everyday sexism that we heard about, witnessed, and experienced, and with the reluctance on the side of the academic authorities to respond to such everyday sexism in adequate ways, we decided to create a safe platform to share stories of academic sexism. Such incidents are not only acts of discrimination; they prevent members of the academic community from flourishing in an egalitarian and inclusive environment. Academic sexism also has structural consequences on an institutional level. Research shows that sexism is more present in homogeneous working environments and often inhibits the fundamental diversity necessary for creativity and innovation. By 2017, this website had grown to include several hundred stories from across the globe in four languages. Unfortunately, time was scarce and we had no resources to maintain the site.
Now, in 2020, in the wake of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, we realise there is still a huge need for the documentation of sexism, racism, and other forms of harassment at universities. We have therefore decided to re-launch an adapted form of SASSY, which sheds light on sexism, racism, and their intersections at the academy as well as other forms of institutional harassment. Making such incidents visible to all, we hope to raise awareness about the personal stories behind these movements and about how pervasive these kinds of harassment are (in other words, you who have experienced this sexism and racism and other forms of discrimination, you are not alone!), and we hope to contribute to setting the necessary chance in motion.