Immodesty becomes her?

This is something that a number of my friends and acquaintances who have studied and worked hard to obtain their PhDs have had to work through…. is it “immodest” to claim the title Dr?

My advice to them has always been “you bloody well earned it. Use it. Stuff everyone who thinks it’s ‘weird’ for women and non-medical personnel to be Doctors.”

But the whole #ImmodestWomen thing blew up on Twitter and reminded everyone that all too many people, men and women with massive internalised misogyny, are not comfortable with women expressing their qualifications and expertise in the form of using their proper title of Dr.

Common tweets to this hashtag were things like airlines refusing to accept that Dr was gender neutral, and refusing to let a woman board a plane booked for Dr So and So, as they were expecting a man. Or the all too frequent “Dr and Mrs X” that never gets changed even when the couple have made it very clear that it is Dr and Mr X over and over again (or even more shocking for traditionalist…. Dr A and Mr B)

I want to do a PhD. And if I complete it, you can be damn sure I will be calling myself Dr. You get that degree, you’ve earned that title. It’s not immodest. It’s just a fact – if you have completed a doctorate, you are a doctor.

language: a feminist guide

When the Toronto Globe & Mail announced that in future only medical doctors would be accorded the title ‘Dr’, it probably wasn’t expecting to cause a stir. But then a historian with a Ph.D objected:


This tweet provoked an avalanche of criticism–directed not to the Globe & Mail‘s new style-rule, but to the arrogance and conceit of Fern Riddell. And as she later told the BBC, she couldn’t help noticing that her critics were mostly men. A lot of men seemed to be outraged by a woman claiming the status of an expert and expecting others to acknowledge her as such. ‘Humility Dr Riddell’, tweeted one. ‘There’s no Ph.D for that’.

But why should women humble themselves when other people are there to do it for them? As I explained in an earlier post, the treatment of women in the workplace is demonstrably affected by a ‘gender…

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Cartoon: treating mental health the same as we do physical health

Sometimes cartoons get the point across better than words. Related to this blog


I’ve recently cut ties off with a ‘friend’ who seemed to be using me as her pet social project – it got quite tiresome dealing with her “helpful advice” that was anything but helpful.

Before you give someone with a disability any advice, especially “helpful” advice to a person with an invisible disability, consider:

  • is it accurate, or did you just read it on the internet somewhere?
  • correlation is not causation, and anecdotes are not substitutes for clinical trials. Just because X thing worked well for a person you know, doesn’t mean it’s some wonder cure for all people with that ailment.
  • is it something that a person living with this condition is likely to be aware of themselves, or is it new research that is cutting edge and not well known?
  • are you saying something that is actually helpful or are you just talking for the sake of hearing your own voice?
  • have you tried to empathise with the person you are about to bombard with “helpful advice” – not just sympathise but empathise?

Empathy is not sympathy, and to be frank, sympathy without empathy is really annoying –  it’s patronising, it’s all “I know all the things, let me tell you all the things without stopping for a moment to consider whether you might already know all these things or have other barriers in the way to prevent you from doing these things.”

Reblog – Gender equity in rural areas

Quite an old reblog – oops. Found this in my unpublished drafts.

But I remember at the time reading this and thinking “Yeah, I remember this from growing up in a regional area and then living in a rural area as a young lawyer.”

Women in the bush do it tough. There is so much ingrained misogyny in rural societies. It has to change.

By Caitlin McInnis The 62nd session of Commission on the Status of Women will take place in March 2018. The Australian government will be present at the session and recently took submissions from experts and the public as to what it should prioritise and advocate for when attending the session. The Castan Centre’s Acting Director […]

via Rural women and girls deserve gender equality too — Castan Centre for Human Rights Law