Jender’s Advice on Applying to Grad School post got me thinking. What ought staff/faculty do if they know that postgraduates are having trouble in their department?
If you know that women postgrads in your department are experiencing problems—with other members of staff; with other postgrads; etc—what do you do? Ought it be left to the postgrad(s) herself/themselves to decide what to do and to do it? How ought they be advised? Is it right to act on your own initiative? And if so, how and what and when?
I suspect that when women postgraduates have trouble in a department, how the department handles it* makes a big difference to how the experience impacts the postgraduates themselves; inaction, or wrong action, could make a bad situation worse, and could make a woman feel even more excluded, even if general sentiment is silently on her side.
What do you think?
*I am assuming that these things are generally known. Departments tend to have thick grapevines, even if those vines seem conveniently to disappear when tricky situations arise.