Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer is a Senior Lecturer in Ageing and Family Care at the University of Exeter. She has qualifications in Psychology, Human Movement Studies, and Higher Education, including a PhD.
But she claims all that was swept aside on a recent Qantas flight.
According to Dr O’Dwyer, a member of the airline’s cabin crew consciously ignored her academic title; a move that she argues is an example of everyday sexism.
“Hey Qantas, my name is Dr O’Dwyer. My ticket says Dr O’Dwyer,” she tweeted on Friday. “Do not look at my ticket, look at me, look back at my ticket, decide it’s a typo, and call me Miss O’Dwyer.
“I did not spend eight years at university to be called Miss.”
Hey @Qantas, my name is Dr O’Dwyer. My ticket says Dr O’Dwyer. Do not look at my ticket, look at me, look back at my ticket, decide it’s a typo, and call me Miss O’Dwyer. I did not spend 8 years at university to be called Miss.
— Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer (@Siobhan_ODwyer) August 31, 2018
The tweet, which has so far attracted more than 8000 likes, sparked a vigorous debate in the comments about whether Dr O’Dwyer’s reaction is justified. Many critics argued her insistence that others use her title is ego-driven, even narcissistic.
“Chip on your shoulder much?” one wrote. “In contexts where academic achievement and standing are not relevant, this seems kind of pushy. I respect the achievement, but I can not imagine going through life like this.”
“I don’t believe anyone is obliged to call you doctor. Did you do your degree to learn or get a title?” wrote another.
But Dr O’Dwyer stood firm.
“Copping so much flack for this tweet,” she tweeted on Sunday. “This was not about my ego. It was about highlighting one of a thousand instances of sexism that women encounter every day. It’s not about the title, it’s about the fact that this wouldn’t have happened if I was a man.”
Probably because you’re used to getting it, instead of having your academic work trumped by your genitalia when being greeted by people.
— ????Liana Skewes???? (@lianasmooz) September 2, 2018