Yesterday we announced CogTales on Facebook. And despite the fact that we used a wording like “perspective of female researchers”, we got a roughly equal number of likes, comments, and private messages from both genders.
I debated with myself whether or not I should share this observation. Because, what does the fact that I find it worth mentioning imply? That I was implicitly assuming all my male Facebook contacts were ignorant assholes that didn’t care about women?
Of course not. Quite the contrary, I was kind of expecting such a result. Most men I know are wonderful people who possibly care more about gender inequality than I do. That is why I also did not mention how welcome and needed our male colleagues are in this discussion, because I knew they would know. And right I was.
And each time I start talking about a gender topic in this way, putting an artificial wedge between the genders where there is none (there was no difference in the number of positive reactions to the blog, still here I use many lines to express my taking notice of this fact, hereby artificially drawing attention to a gender gap that could have shown but did not) – each time I do this I ask myself whether I should just stay silent and not put that wedge.
This time I decided to mention it. Since a positive and supportive research environment by and for both genders is not as self-evident as it should be, and therefore definitely very well worth mentioning. And since it is important to see that the problem is not necessarily that men don’t care.