“Gendered Misconduct in Academia”: Journal of European Competition Law & Policy Editorial

There is a remarkable editorial in the latest issue of the Journal of European Competition Law & Policy by a group of female scholars. Here is an extract:

Small informal meetings with fellow academics painted a gloomy picture. People shared their experiences: from gender-based discrimination to outright sexist, racist or otherwise bigoted comments, to persistent emails, pressure to move work-meetings to date-type settings, or other contact outside the normal professional bounds. We heard of aggressive flirtation, unwanted and unnecessary touching, and sending explicit photos out of the blue. We talked about workshops and conferences having very few women, both as speakers and in the audiences, where the justification given was simply that there are no suitable women.

It also quickly became clear how difficult it is for women and minority competition scholars to talk about this topic. Many were reluctant to share their stories (even anonymously) or be seen to publicly discuss the subject. Making it as an academic is hard enough. You don’t want to be judged, excluded, or feel that others are walking on eggshells around you. You also don’t want to taint the reputation of the many supportive male colleagues and friends in our field. Such hesitations are reinforced because the competition law field is particularly concentrated (no pun intended). The doors between academic institutions, law firms, and policy makers are ever revolving. A few gatekeepers control the leading journals, publications, conferences, and committees. While most conduct themselves professionally and even supportively, it is not difficult to abuse such powers, and very difficult to avoid certain figures. In the vast majority of reports we came across, the bad behaviour went unaddressed and uninterrupted.

Do read the whole thing. I would only add that the problems here run much deeper than the organization of panels and scholarly publications, also manifest themselves in everyday university life and have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This content has been updated on December 13, 2023 at 08:56.