Gender Bias Post 4: I am Not Your Mother. #ImplicitBias #GenderBias #UnconsciousGenderBiasBlog

An engineering department has a communal fridge in the break-room for people to store their food. It rarely gets cleaned and is commonly stocked full of out of date stinky food... no big surprise there.

In response to this common problem an email is sent out a couple of times a semester calling for people to remove any out of date items so the fridge can be cleaned, the email is mostly ignored... no big surprise there.

One of the admin staff takes it upon herself to "do something about it" and prints out and tapes up signs all over the fridge and break room reading:

"I am not your Mother, clean up after yourself or don't use the break room".

So putting the passive aggressive nature of this action aside, what is wrong with this response?

Well, it is an engineering department and everyday the women in this department have to battle to shake off the outdated stereotypes that are associated with women. The last thing they need is for someone to post signs that basically say it is a women's job to tidy up after people.

Passive aggressive notes are not the solution to this problem, but if you are going to be passive aggressive at least don't insinuate that is it a women's job to do the cleaning...

"We are all adults here so clean up after yourself" would be equally passive aggressive and would still get the same message across (please don't be passive aggressive at work, it never goes down well 😜)

Although this post is not as "deep" as previous ones it still a situation affected by implicit bias and note this time it was from a women [Steinpreis, R. E., Anders, K. A. & Ritzke, D. The Impact of Gender on the Review of the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study. Sex Roles, A J. Res. 41, 509–528 (1999)].