TU Wien needs feminism!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Not only I need feminism, but also some of the teachers at my school (TU Wien, University of Technology in Vienna) should do some catching up regarding equality. Want some examples?

I can’t really say if it was pure sexism, but at the compulsory interview before I started studying here, the interviewer (a professor) asked me if I was sure I wanted to “try” this type of informatics studies. It would be tough, there would be lots of maths (you don’t say!) and with my former education I’d be better of “trying” business informatics. Yep, that’s what he said. I’m not sure if he’d asked a male future student with the same background the same question, so I’ll mark it as probably sexist.

Encouraging female future students to study whatever they want: You’re doing it wrong.

Then, at the beginning of 2013, I attended several revision lessons for a course in Formal Methods and Logic (it’s way more interesting than it sounds 😉 ). There were 5 of lessons in all, and I managed to be at 4 of them, missing only the first. A lot of students asked questions, and as far as I remember, most of the people asking were male, and most questions were the same ones, over and over again. The professor was patient in answering, and did a pretty good job in explaining things that were unclear. Until I asked a question that obviously had been answered in the first lesson – that I missed, if you remember – already. I had been the first woman to ask a question. I had been the only woman answering questions that he asked to see if we understood his points. And this is the response I got to my question: “We already talked about that, but I’ll explain it to you. And to show you that we already talk about it, let me show you the example we did. Because you women always need things written down.”

Encouraging female students to ask questions: You’re doing it wrong.

And now, at the beginning of the current semester, our professor in Statistics and Probability Theory thought it would be funny to say the following: “You see, women grow, statistically speaking, 7 years older than men. In Austria, they are allowed to retire 5 years earlier than men. And then THEY are asking for equal rights?”

Statistics: You’re doing it wrong. As a Statistics teacher. Oh my.

I and one of my friends sent this teacher one email each, asking him not to make “jokes” like that again. My (male) friend received an invitation to the teachers’ office during his office hours, to talk about “your problem” (quote). I received an email saying “Sorry that you thought it was meant like this, I didn’t mean it this way. I only wanted to ask the question of equality.” (quote)

Equally responding to emails: You’re doing it wrong.

Also, he said the exact same thing during the next lesson. And since then, he’s taking every chance he gets to make fun of feminism by adding “I hope that wasn’t sexist” to pretty much every example he uses.

Learning: You’re not doing it. That’s why TU Wien needs feminism.

6 thoughts on “TU Wien needs feminism!”

  1. Regarding the interview – I had nearly the same questions at FH. As a male. So this is rather the protocol I’d say. Warning people about what is coming up to reduce drop-outs.

  2. Nice to hear from critical people at TU! I think we should be in the same semester (also doing Statistics right now, yay), if you ever want to meet up just write me an email 🙂

Comments are closed.