Tell us how it’s going. Please take 10 minutes to complete this poll
March 8th, International Women’s Day. It’s a reminder that holidays carry a double valence nowadays, as we mark the passage of time. So much tragedy over the past year. So many lives lost. So many livelihoods lost. As we celebrate the arrival of vaccine shots, we also mourn the incalculable damage of a pandemic that was neither natural nor inevitable, and that has hit the most vulnerable among us the most severely. The aftershocks will be wide and deep.
Locally, March 8th also marks nearly a year since GW went online. Nearly a year since we were locked out of our campus offices. Nearly a year since we scrambled to work entirely from home entirely at our own expense, with not a cent of financial support from our employer, not even a small stipend as a symbolic gesture. Nearly a year since pre-schools and elementary schools and middle schools and high schools shut down, leaving many of us to oversee Zoom School and to entertain bored, anxious children while simultaneously tending to our responsibilities at the (home)office.
Nearly a year…and not a peep, not once, from the GW administration about the crisis of care that has made it impossible for many of us to make progress towards a promotion, to make use of a sabbatical, to concentrate.
Two cheers for Women’s History Month?
Go ahead, call us “shrill” (apparently GWUFA has earned that appellation, among others), or maybe “entitled” (as we professors are labeled when we dare to recognize ourselves as workers). But we can’t stay silent: This latest sanctimonious email from our embattled, tone-deaf president is just too much. Such messages are irritating enough when they’re trying to sell stuff — when they’re spam masquerading as sentiment. When they come from a university president, though, they’re infuriating. President LeBlanc, Provost Blake, we’re tired of the empty words. You want to express your appreciation for us? How about starting by acknowledging the realities of our working conditions?
You won’t. Indeed, you can’t, lest you pull back the veil on a workplace that is not the least bit nurturing or family-friendly. We understand your predicament. So we’ll do it instead. Comrades, Colleagues–even those of you who are thoroughly sick of our emails!–please consider filling out this poll (also linked above). Help us start gathering the statistics on how many of us have been juggling duties as parents and caregivers even as we have been doing our jobs at GW, and on how many of us have been struggling to do our jobs at GW from homes that were not intended to double as full-time workplaces — in other words, the one set of “metrics” our corporate overlords are too scared to seek.
GWUFA Steering Committee