Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Woman Among Men

After my securities class today, I lingered at the front of the room to further argue a comment I made in class about causation in section 10(b) fraud suits. I completely disagreed with what the Supreme Court decided (I hadn't actually read the case yet, so its interesting to note that even though I didn't know it was a Scalia opinion yet, I still vehemently disagreed with it. Apparently I don't form my opinions to purposefully contradict his.) Anyway, standing at the front of the class I realized I was the only woman among 6 men waiting to talk to the professor.

I've read articles about how men are more encouraged (or more willing) to volunteer in class and I never really put any stock in them. As a woman I've never felt like I was treated any differently, but I realized today that I almost never volunteer and I have never stayed after to talk to a professor before today. I wonder why that is. I've noticed in my classes that the vast majority of those who volunteer are men. Even when I'm certain I know the answer, I usually don't raise my hand; whereas the guy next to me, who is completely wrong, has no problem volunteering. Normally I'd say its just because I'm apathetic in class and don't need the fact that I know the answer to be broadcast to everyone, but I wonder if that's related to why women often have problems promoting themselves at work.


  1. I'm a woman, I raise my hand a lot. ;)

    I mean, i dont when it's annoying (hopefully), but I think it makes learning more interactive, which makes me more engaged (and less likely to read blogs during class, which, of course, I'm doing now!). ;)

    There's lots of interesting scholarship on it - check out Deborah Tannen (after exams of course!).

  2. The only time I volunteered much in regular law school classes was the time my friend took the same class during the day that I took later that night -- we swapped notes, so that we wouldn't miss anything. Of course, I knew the answers to all the questions, so when the professor had the class stumped and I got sick of waiting, I'd raise my hand and answer.

    Seminars were different -- you can't shut me up.

  3. I hardly EVER raised my hand in law school. Even when I was damn sure of the answer or had a good point to make I kept it to myself. I am kind of the same way at work, I keep to myself and get my sh*t done and don't really talk about it... unless with friends.