One of the highlights of SkepchickCon this July was getting to meet Dr. Pamela Gay. I could say that was because we have good friends in common or because of the outreach she does with Galaxy Zoo or Astronomy Cast, but that really just tells you what we talked about. The truth is, even sleep deprived, the woman is simply awesome. She proves it with her latest blog post, “You Must Have Power to Stop Discrimination.”
And here is where I’m going to ask all of you to listen to me really closely: Anytime anyone with the power to help is aware of any form of discrimination and they do nothing to fix it, they are just as much to blame as the perpetrators.
Throughout my adult life I have over and over had some well meaning man watch me get frustrated in some work situation or academic situation, and they’ve said with the intention of comforting me: “It’s not you, he’s an [expletive] to all women.” Okay, nice try. I appreciate the attempt, but… Could you maybe offer a girl a little help?
I want to be clear: If you are in a position of power, and you see a problem, telling the victim they are being victimized is not a solution. Finding a way to stop the perpetrator is the only a solution.
There is lots more, including specific actions for both sides of those “It’s not you” discussions to take. There’s also a challenge for the writers in the room.