Not Second, But Fifth Fiddle

I am a young woman in academia. I graduated just over a year ago with my Master of Arts degree, during which I was told I was too head strong for wanting to pursue my grant funded, permit awarded research. This verbose speaker was my female professor and thesis chair. Perhaps blinded by her years of victimization and passiveness, she felt necessary to belittle the confidence I carried with a naive privilege. I began to rely less on her guidance and more on my mentor.

He and I have been working towards publishing an article about our research from a multi-year project over the past few months. This project embraces many collaborators, who have participated in varying capacities over the years. But more specifically, in the last two years this project has become the foundation of my published thesis. Thereafter, I drafted a manuscript of a concise and short, data-rich article to disseminate among our scholarly community. His response to this article draft was to table the piece, thinking that perhaps it could be part of a more specialized article with multiple authors. A collaboration of experts, how wonderful! I’ve come to find that the draft of this newer, more collaborative article has left me playing fifth fiddle to a string quartet.

Despite the obvious verbatim text and data borrowed from my thesis, I was listed as the fifth author to four men. The first author being my adviser, and the other three “authors” played supplemental roles of facilitating research access, rather than innovating original thought or scripture. When I inquired about the authorship order, I was told that it would be discussed among the other authors about the specific order…

What an uncivil and lawless place, where women are so poorly guided into remaining passive to these shadows who call themselves men.

Story signed by : Margaret Mead