To mark International Women’s Day 2019, students, academic staff and librarians have joined together in an event ‘CITE WOMEN!’
The campaign draws attention to the inequalities in academic citation practices. At the event, we asked people to look at the citations in their essays, lecture reading lists, books and articles. We asked “Have you read a woman’s writing today? Have you cited a woman’s writing today?” We gave out free books by women, and copies of Shailja Patel poem, tweeted on International Women’s Day 2018.
Shailja Patel, author of 'Migritude'. @shailjapatel Reproduced with permission, All Rights Reserved.
Shailja Patel’s poem went viral, resonating with the frustrations many women feel about gender inequalities in universities and beyond. Her powerful words draw attention to the many areas where women face significant discrimination. It is a call for action, and a blueprint for what form that action should take.
Citation practices matter. New research is revealing the scale of inequality, and how citations reflect and perpetuate problems with the status of women’s writing and research across disciplines. (Michelle Dion, Jane Lawrence Sumner, and Sara McLaughlin Mitchell 2018) Looking at the inequalities of citation in student assignments, academic writing, and library acquisitions can be a dispiriting exercise. Equally, it can be a wake-up call. It is certainly something we can change, one essay, one article at a time. Repurposing citation as a means of resistance means embarking on a big, complex, and ongoing project. It means tackling also citation discriminations, such as those relating to race, disability, sexuality, which are often worse, and in some ways less visible. Carrie Mott & Daniel Cockayne argue for the multiple benefits of rethinking citation practices, ‘careful and conscientious citation is important because the choices we make about whom to cite – and who is then left out of the conversation – directly impact the cultivation of a rich and diverse discipline’. (2017 p.995) Sara Ahmed writes, ‘Citations can be feminist bricks: they are the materials through which, from which, we create our dwellings’. (2017, p.16) If we want better dwellings, we need to change how and who we cite.
The event was supported by Women & the Built Environment Research Cluster, School of the Built Environment and Engineering; PsyCen Gender & Sexualities Stream, School of Social Sciences; Leeds Business School.
Sara Ahmed (2017) Living a feminist life. Durham: Duke University Press.
Michelle Dion, Jane Lawrence Sumner, and Sara McLaughlin Mitchell (2018) Gendered Citation Patterns Across Political Science and Social Science Methodology Fields, Political Analysis 26 (3): 312-327.
Carrie Mott & Daniel Cockayne (2017) Citation matters: mobilizing the politics of citation toward a practice of ‘conscientious engagement’, Gender, Place & Culture, 24:7, 954-973
Dr Bronwen Edwards is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography and Town Planning, with expertise in cultural and historical geography, cultural history and architectural heritage and conservation.