The outcome of the 2016 presidential election taught me many things. It showed me that institutionalized misogyny is not only morally reprehensible, but wasteful as well. The talents and training of highly qualified women (especially women of color) are wasted by lost opportunities, disrespect by colleagues, wage gaps and double standards. Misogyny punishes women in politics, higher education—and everywhere else.
Frankly, I see an incredible waste of human capital by our higher ed institutions. There would be outrage if there was as much wastefulness in higher ed finances. So why not with human capital?
This brings me to my observations of how my fellow students treat female faculty. At the close of semesters, I have lost track of how many times female professors have had to specify that they want feedback on how they did their job—not how they dressed or looked.
I also saw this double standard at the Students United Spring Delegates Conference I attended in April at St. Cloud State University. Some of my female colleagues at the conference were punished for the very personality traits I possess: assertiveness, encyclopedic knowledge of policy, willingness to spar verbally, and a relentless drive to succeed. They were talked down to, cut off from opportunities, and labeled as “bossy” (and other terms that cannot be written here). I was not.
That double standard is a detriment to higher education and good leadership. And it is a moral travesty.
When voting for leaders at any level, all that matters should be their ability to get the job done. When filling out an IIQ at the end of the semester, all that should matter is how the faculty member performed and their mastery of the material.
So if you want to maximize your learning and career readiness, focus on how well someone does their job—nothing else. Apply this mindset not just in your college classes, but to absolutely everything you do in your life. Anything else is a waste of human resources and talents.
Boland is a social science major on the political science track. He is a member of the Student Senate. Views expressed are his own.