Lately, I’ve been concerning myself with issues of gender in higher education, but this topic has nicely blended into the job search arena. As a female working in an all female building, I have seen many issues related to body image, eating disorders, and frustrating representations of women in academia. Today, my supervisor had our staff reflect on our role in teams, explaining that as a woman, it is often customary for her and others to take a back seat in groups, and suffer from a lot of internal critique. As a job searcher, I have recently reflected on my feminine identity and questioned how this will influence my job search.
The most relevant example is my hope to one day enter into the Dean of Students position at a university. As of now, I’ve applied to two conduct focused positions. While I am by no means “small” (I am 5’10”), I am slender. Additionally, I am very soft-spoken. As an interviewer, I often wonder how my demeanor will communicate to employers. Will my gender identity be called into question, inexplicitly?
In another area, I often struggle with issues of bluntness – I am a very frank person and would prefer to be upfront rather than to leave people guessing about my thoughts. A few people have confronted me about this, I believe, as a direct result of them feelings as though I am not conforming to my gender identity which is usually characterized as passivity. As I enter the job search, it will be important to examine the ways in which gender impacts my image.