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Today we’re excited to announce that Kelly J. Baker’s SEXISM ED: Essays on Gender and Labor in Academia is officially on sale in print and ebook across all platforms. Buy it now!


“An absolute must-read” —Marc Bousquet, Ph.D., author of How The University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation

Why aren’t more women at the top of the ivory tower?

The academy claims to be a meritocracy, in which the best and brightest graduate students gain employment as professors. Kelly J. Baker, a Ph.D. in Religion, assumed that merit mattered more than gender. After all, women appeared to be succeeding in higher ed, graduating at higher rates than men. And yet, the higher up she looked in the academic hierarchy, the fewer women there were. After leaving academia, she began to write about gender, labor, and higher ed to figure out whether academia had a gender problem. Eventually, Baker realized how wrong she’d been about how academia worked. This book is her effort to document how very common sexism—paired with labor exploitation—is in higher ed.

Pulling very few punches, Baker writes about gender inequity, precarious labor, misogyny, and structural oppression. Sexism and patriarchy define our work and our lives, within and outside of academia. She examines not only the sexism inherent in hiring practices, promotion, leave policies, and citation, but also questions the cultural assumptions about who can and should be a professor. These problems, however, are not limited to the ivory tower. Baker also shows the consequences of sexism and patriarchy in her own life: hating the sound of her voice, fake allies, the cultural boundaries of motherhood, and the perils of being visible. It’s exhausting to be a woman, but Baker never gives up hope that we can change higher ed—and the world—if only we continue to try.

“Sexism Ed is smart, incisive, and hard to put down.” —Jessica W. Luther, author of Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape.

More Praise for SEXISM ED:

“In a stirring suite of essays, Kelly Baker reveals that, contrary to its “ivory tower” characterization, the university is no retreat from the world’s injustices. She addresses what the university is for millions of people—a workplace, where scholars and staff are as susceptible to gender-, race-, and class-based oppression as workers in factories and warehouses. In a clear and determined voice, she speaks about working conditions in higher education that many would prefer to ignore, but wisely, she also refuses to mystify problems like sexism and precarity as immutable. For Baker, they are material issues with tangible solutions. The only thing in question is our will to correct them.” Miya Tokumitsu, Ph.D., author of Do What You Love: And Other Lies About Success & Happiness

“In Sexism Ed, Kelly Baker tells a story about women, work, and the academy bigger than but anchored in her own experiences of precarity and gender discrimination. Taken singly, the essays are thoughtful and incisive. Cumulatively, they paint an infuriating portrait of twenty-first century sexism, scholar-style. Harrowing, though never humorless or hopeless, this collection is required reading. … It’s a huge accomplishment and I will recommend it to everyone I know.” Kecia Ali, Professor of Religion at Boston University and author of Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence

Buy your copy now.