FAAD provided funding to support legal involvement with a university that denied tenure to three female assistant professors. They understood the issues pertaining to gender, sexual, and age discrimination, and the university's disregard for qualitative, collaborative research and publications. Their financial support is so helpful and greatly appreciated.
I am currently litigating my tenure denial, and have received assistance from FAAD. I was grateful to find their organization in the first awful days after the denial and to took great comfort from learning that others had been through this and survived, and that there are people committed to fighting discrimination against women in academia.
I am not happy to know about this organization, and I wish it did not need to exist. But it does. Academia remains hostile to women, and qualitative judgments about the "merits" of research mask institutional biases against feminist research and pedagogy. In these days of financial crisis, as universities make "hard" decisions about which programs and faculty to support, female faculty, especially those whose research and teaching focuses on women, seem to be especially expendable.
Thirty years after it started, it seems like this organization should be irrelevant. I wish it was, and will do anything I can to work towards the day when feminists enjoy security within higher education, and we no longer need FAAD.
Last year, when I first met FAAD, I had just been denied promotion to full professor from my home department and chair in Communication. Despite the fact that I had been a full-time Women and Gender Studies director for 8 years, I still fulfilled the Communication requirements. I had provided a written response to the denials, but was very upset (as I felt betrayed), and was not sure what to do.
I met with one FAAD leader at the book fair at the National Women's Studies Association meeting, and she assured me that I could find support through the organization. She invited me to a panel discussion and to the organization's meeting. The women in this group listened to my story, empathized, and provided a wealth of advice. Mostly, though, the members provided support and comfort in a very stressful time.
I also witnessed them interacting with another woman who was having challenges to her line of research. They took the same time and care with her.
This year, I attended their meeting again, and am now fortunate to be able to participate from the perspective of full professor, having had my decision reversed in the college, and with the dean and provost.
I am definitely in support of this organization and feel it deserves this award status.
I am writing in support of FAAD because I belong to a sister organization called WAGE. We Advocate Gender Equity (WAGE) is an academic feminist organization, organized in 1993 and based in California. It grew out of a meeting by a large group of academic women who were experiencing sexual harassment and gender discrimination at University of California but over the years has broadened to include other institutions.
As part of our support for women fighting gender discrimination in academia, members of WAGE have been involved in supporting individual women who have brought suits against institutions for their practice of gender discrimination.
For five years in the 2000s, several WAGE members were active with a group supporting the legal case of Graciela Chichilnisky, an academic at Columbia University, a woman with PhDs in mathematics and economics who had been a member of the Columbia faculty since the 1970s and who was experiencing severe harassment at Columbia, supported by the highest levels of the administration.
In the face of an all out attack on her by her colleagues and administrators, Chichilnisky, like other academic women who dare to publicly charge their colleagues with discriminatory behavior, was isolated on her campus and very badly treated. During the time she was bringing her case, we learned of the existence of FAAD and applied for their support of her case. This, they not only gave (with a substantial check) but they also helped publicize Chichilnisky's experiences and showed other academic women a model of mutual support.
The isolation and exclusion of women who dare to complain of discriminatory treatment is severe. FAAD's work helps relieve that isolation and create solidarity. Were there were many more such organizations.
Pat Washington, PhD
Co-Coordinator, We Advocate Gender Equity (WAGE)
4537 Alamo Drive
San Diego, CA 92115