Armed with PhDs from two prestigious American universities, two teachers arrived in the beginning of the year to start their teaching career at Woodstock. However, the completion of the PhDs is when their similarities end. One is referred to as doctor and the other is referred to, simply, as Miss.
Dr. Sonali Garg — often referred to as Ms. Garg — is an AP microeconomics teacher, and the author of several books — a collection of economic murder mysteries, titled the 1/2 murder mysteries. She also holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Ohio.
Her male contemporaries, including Dr. Ruben Pinzon and Dr. Jonathan Long are consistently referred to as Doctor. This disparity immediately strikes as odd and seems to point towards imbalances in the way the two genders are perceived. Women are not usually given as much respect as men, not even if they at the same position of power as their male counterparts.
Dr. Garg does not believe that this is an issue of sexism, because according to her, students “do not care whether she has a PhD or not.” However, she does believe that there is a wide-held belief that women are not good at math, which perpetuates sexism in the workplace, especially at economics-related jobs. She said, “I was often told that women are not good at math when I was pursuing my PhD,” but she has learnt to “take those comments with a grain for salt,” for Dr. Garg said, “that it is not true,” women “can do whatever they want, given the same opportunities.”
Dr. Eleanor Nicholson, a visiting scholar at the CFI, holds a PhD from the University of Chicago. As a woman in the largely male-dominated field of elite higher education, she has come a long way. She believes that is wrong that women are denied the privilege of being called doctor, and hopes for change. She also believes that women need to “speak up, and make their voices heard.”
It is impossible to know the root cause of the issue, as Dr. Jonathan Long, principal stated. However, the underlying issues make it impossible to not cite a gender-perception imbalance as a primary cause.