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Showing posts from August, 2021

Documenting the Gender Gap in the Use of Titles in Academia

    The “Dr. Jill” (Biden) controversy swept social media like wildfire in early 2021, bringing yet another double standard for men and women to public attention . But to a female academic like me, “untitling” and “mistitling” has always been par for the course. For years, I would grit my teeth as I open an email from a new contact starting with “Hey Olga” or worse yet “Dear Mrs. Shurchkov.” If the email came from a student or advisee, I would try to awkwardly explain why addressing someone with a PhD this way is inappropriate. But it would not be as easy if the addresser were a professional colleague, especially if senior. My male colleagues never seemed to have to deal with this or to even care. (See Endnote 1 for a caveat about titles in Taekwon-Do.)     Before I go any further, let me first explain “untitling.” Linguistically, the prefix “un” implies the act of taking away, which in this case refers to a removal of an earned title that diminishes perceived authority and credibilit