Recognizing Male Privilege

Quite simply, male privilege is the undue advantage that benefits men in male-dominated organizations and societies. In academia, male privilege examples include:

  • Never having to be the first male faculty member or department chair in your department.
  • Never having to be the first male full professor in your department, or be an associate professor who has to wonder: will this department ever promote a man to full professor?
  • Never having somebody raise the question: was he hired because of his gender?
  • Never having somebody wonder: did his gender give him an edge in that grant competition?
  • Never having to wonder: would the department accept a man as a chair or head? Would the college accept a man as the dean?
  • Always having role models or mentors of your same gender in your department or college.
  • Seldom feeling out of place at departmental, college or university meetings because of your gender.
  • Never having to feel like you stand out in a room full of men.
  • You can deviate from group ground rules, expectations and “appropriate” group behavior (e.g., sitting outside a circle, coming late to a meeting, turning down a committee assignment, etc.) and not have it be attributed to your gender.
  • Feeling confident that your gender won’t be used to determine whether or not you fit in your department.
  • Knowing that you can go to a meeting with an administrator and be fairly confident that you will meet with someone of your same gender.
  • Knowing that your evaluations for tenure will be reviewed by faculty of your same gender.
  • Being able to disagree with a colleague or administrator or hold strong opinions and not having to worry about being evaluated negatively because you are breaking gender role stereotypes.
  • Being able to address a family issue and not have it reflect negatively on your reputation or commitment to your career.
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