Gender is a Labor Issue

Workers everywhere face unequal treatment because of their gender. TRU’s Gender Equity Subcommittee is a group of graduate students and workers who want to address these issues in our community!

Defining Gender Equity

Our definition of gender equity goes beyond fairness of treatment for women - we believe women, men, queer, nonbinary, cis, and trans folks deserve equitable working conditions and opportunities. We strive for respect and fair treatment of graduate students regardless of their gender identity and sexuality.

Improving our workplace means not only securing adequate benefits and pay, but also ensuring equally healthy working conditions for graduate students, no matter our identity and background. We recognize that gender bias exists subtly while we work diligently on our teaching and research projects. We should not have to remain silent when experiencing inappropriate behavior within a professional setting for fear of isolation or retaliation. Join our work to foster and advocate for inclusive, real gender equity within TRU as a grad organization and across the university, where students should feel assuredly safe.

Some of the issues

Gender issues are labor relations issues. As TRU, we have been having conversations with our colleagues about working conditions since the fall of 2014. Graduate students have voiced many stories about gender-based discrimination at Johns Hopkins including:

  • Faculty members making sexist jokes or comments in courses
  • Biased grading in favor of male graduate students
  • Evaluations including sexist remarks from both undergrad students and faculty/staff mentors
  • Inappropriate images posted in office spaces
  • Higher attrition rates of women and people of color (POC) in certain departments
  • Lack of healthcare, including mental healthcare, and other services for trans students
  • Gender-exclusive restrooms across campus
  • Hostility towards graduate students who are parents or potential parents
  • Disproportionately high cost of childcare in comparison to what graduate student parents at our peer institutions pay
  • Differential treatment in childcare options in comparison with other Hopkins workers
  • Lack of clarity from the university on what resources exist for graduate student parents
  • Little to no transparency from the university about how concerns and/or filed claims of sexual harassment or sex-based discrimination (including Title IX) through the university are handled

Spotlight On: Resources for Parents

Graduate workers who are also parents face increased discrimination at Johns Hopkins. Moreover, the resources which exist at the university for graduate student parents are hidden in layers of bureaucratic tape and murky, often even contradictory, statements. Even the Baby Shower held by Hopkins twice annually to distribute information to prospective parents, is not open to graduate students.

Does the university think our children aren’t worth celebrating too?

In July of 2017 as part of the Healthcare Campaign, we won from the university an 8-week parental leave policy. However, there are many changes which still need to be made. For example, the Hopkins Child Care and Early Learning Center is prohibitively expensive for graduate students. Graduate workers pay thousands out of pocket for child care expenses while faculty and staff can receive Dependent Care Vouchers of $5,000 per year.

Currently, graduate workers at our peer institutions receive thousands in child care subsidies.

What TRU is doing

TRU is working to address gender equity consciously and deliberately, both inside and outside of our organization. We are:

  • Listening and keeping track of specific gender-related issues that affect fellow grads at JHU
  • Making these concerns part of our organizing efforts
  • Advocating for respect, support, and solutions for grads who have already faced gender-based discrimination
  • Always taking seriously the fact that gender, like race, plays a huge part in the inequality on campus and in the fields in which we work

We as graduate workers demand:

  • $5,000 per year in child care subsidies, equal to what faculty and staff receive and commensurate with our subsidies at peer institutions
  • Adoption assistance equal to that given to faculty and staff
  • Clear and easy access to all parental resources, including updated online information specific to graduate parents