Excuse me, Miss…

When I first graduated, being called Doctor made me feel very uncomfortable.  I hated it.  I hated it so much people would say it just to get a laugh.  I hid the fact that I had a PhD.  I didn’t want to seem elitist or pretentious.  After all, I used to make fun of professors who signed their emails “Dr. So and So” or put Ph.D. after their name.  But I’m so freaking over it.

In fact, I’m pretty annoyed with just how often my Ph.D. is glossed over while my male colleagues have theirs repeatedly praised with every presentation.  I worked for the same 10 years, didn’t I?  I published a thesis and a dissertation.  I passed my qualifying exams.  I sat through a 3.5 hour defense.  I did an exit seminar.  I published my work in peer reviewed journals.  I did literally everything the same.  So why are my accomplishments ignored?  I want to share with you a few stories of my own and of friends of mine just to show you what this looks like.  The fact that I have to make these stories anonymous so that my friends and colleagues aren’t railed over simply wanting recognition says a lot by itself.

“I was giving a presentation for a big group and I was listed as just my name while the guy who spoke after me had ‘Dr.’ after his and was introduced as Doctor.  My credentials were given, everyone heard where I got my PhD yet nobody referred to me as doctor.”

“Almost every time we meet someone in our new town they think we moved because of my husband’s degree and job and always look flabbergasted when he corrects them and says ‘my wife has the Ph.D.'”

“I was about to give an invited seminar at a University and was checking the schedule and room assignment on the seminar website.  I saw that the last three speakers were women, including myself, all with Ph.D.s and none of them were called ‘Dr.’ on the seminar website.  The only man to give a seminar was called ‘Dr.’ though.”

“Last week I was the expert brought in to talk to a group of scientists about a specific environmental issue.  I was introduced as faculty, they talked about my dissertation, all my publications.  But still, when one of them emailed me afterwards, he started the email with Ms.”

“*Heard from a male colleague* ‘Don’t put Ph.D or Dr. on your email signature, people won’t like that.”

Now, independently these instances seem like minor annoyances and most people would say to just ‘let it go’.  But now I want you to compile these throughout graduate school and throughout a career.  This is the definition of marginalization.  Why are my accomplishments not treated with the same respect as a man’s?  I’m done with being overly modest and downplaying my accomplishments.

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