Female academics have come together to celebrate their qualifications with an amazing new hashtag: #ImmodestWomen.
The social media trend came about when Dr Fern Riddell tweeted explaining her title and its worth and received nasty backlash for doing so.
Beginning the conversation, she said: “My title is Dr Fern Riddell, not Ms or Miss Riddell… I worked hard to earned my authority, and I will not give it up to anyone.”
My title is Dr Fern Riddell, not Ms or Miss Riddell. I have it because I am an expert, and my life and career consist of being that expert in as many different ways as possible. I worked hard to earned my authority, and I will not give it up to anyone.— Dr Fern Riddell (@FernRiddell) June 13, 2018
Dr Riddell, a historian with a PhD whose most recent book is on the suffragette Kitty Marion, started the hashtag after a social media user branded her “immodest” for asserting her title and using it in her Twitter display name.
“I just started tweeting #ImmodestWomen from there and it seemed to really connect to how a lot of academic women feel,” Riddell told the Press Association.
She hopes the hashtag gets women talking about their achievements and asserting their authority.
She said: “It’s taken on a life of its own and that’s a truly incredible thing to see, women across the world and different industries taking ownership of their qualifications – so many have said it made them feel unsure to do so before.”
In response to the tweets, female academics have been changing their Twitter display names to include the title “Dr” and quoting the hashtag #ImmodestWomen.
We work hard to get a PhD. I might as well claim the title in public after all that!— Dr Felicity Sedgewick (@SedgewickF) June 14, 2018
Dr Riddell hopes to raise awareness of doctors in fields other than medicine and celebrate women publicly using their titles.
Have changed my twitter handle to reflect my title. Because it wasn't that long ago that I was told I couldn't use that title at work and I had to choose between 'Mrs' and 'Miss'. And because I've had the subject of my own PhD (inaccurately) mansplained to me. #immodestwomen— Dr Pippa Goldschmidt (@goldipipschmidt) June 14, 2018
Adding my title to my twitter handle seems like a minor thing, but reading @FernRiddell’s tweets (and the ways that men are challenging her authority), I’m realizing that this is important. #ImmodestWomen— Connie Kassor (@constancekassor) June 14, 2018
She added: “I’m so proud to see so many women with Dr in their handles, displaying women’s authority is so rare in comparison to a man’s.”
- Press Association