EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Did this really happen?! Analysis of a two-year initiative to draw everyday sexism in academia.

Maëlis Arnould1, Alice Adenis2, Marie Bocher3, Nicolas Coltice4, Mélanie Gérault5, Claire Mallard6, and Martina Ulvrova3
Maëlis Arnould et al.
  • 1Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED), Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 2Dataswati, Massy, Ile-de-France, France
  • 3Institute of Geophysics, Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 4Laboratoire de Géologie, Ecole Normale Supérieure, PSL University, Paris, France
  • 5Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences Department, MIT, Cambridge, USA
  • 6EarthByte Research Group, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Like any other workplace, academia is not free from everyday gender stereotypes and sexist behaviours. They participate in the feeling of insecurity and devaluation of women and gender non-conforming individuals, which ultimately contributes to a persisting gender imbalance in this environment. Building on this observation, the Did this really happen?! project, born in 2018, aims at reporting real occurrences of everyday sexism experienced within the scientific community. Using comic strips, we raise awareness about such behaviours and their pernicious consequences, which are often difficult to notice. Through our website, we have now collected more than 100 contributions from researchers all over the world, describing sexist biases that they have faced or witnessed in academia. We have already turned 25 of them into anonymous comics that we publish without any comments on the website. In hindsight, we have identified six repeating categories of sexist behaviours: 1) those that aim at maintaining women in stereotypical feminine roles, 2) those that aim at maintaining men in stereotypical masculine roles, 3) those that question the scientific skills of female researchers, 4) those where women have the position of an outsider, especially in informal networking contexts, 5) those that objectify women, and 6) those which express neosexist views. Here, we present our project in more details, propose a detailed analysis of these sexist situations, and we are happy to discuss further ways to engage with the scientific community on this topic.

How to cite: Arnould, M., Adenis, A., Bocher, M., Coltice, N., Gérault, M., Mallard, C., and Ulvrova, M.: Did this really happen?! Analysis of a two-year initiative to draw everyday sexism in academia., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-13724,, 2020

Comments on the presentation

AC: Author Comment | CC: Community Comment | Report abuse

Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 30 Apr 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-13724, Kelsi Singer, 05 May 2020

    Hello!  Thanks for taking on these challenging topics in a creative format.  

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Maelis Arnould, 05 May 2020

      Hi Kelsi,

      Thanks a lot for your encouraging comment :)

  • CC2: Great!, Scarlet Stadtler, 06 May 2020

    Wow, until now this is the display I liked most. Simple and so powerful. 

    I saw you video and check out all the links. I put your article on my to read list and I will share your pages/booklet with my collagues (male and female). This is so great, I will check out how to share with you my anecdotes with sexism and how people (especially men) react when you just at the moment make them aware what they just said! 

    • AC2: Reply to CC2, Maelis Arnould, 07 May 2020

      Dear Scarlet,

      Thanks a lot for your very nice and encouraging message :) We are happy that you can help to spread our comics with your colleagues!

      To contribute to our project by sharing your stories, we encourage you to go to our contact page :