Virtual Harassment: Women and Online Education

Julia K. Ferganchick-Neufang


Research has shown that female teachers in higher education are often targets for student agression in the form of harassment. Because women have not traditionally held positions of power within academic institions, their ability to maintain authority is often challenged by students who are uncomfortable with female authority figures. As higher education moves online in the form of internet courses, MOO discussions, and email and listserv conversations, female instructors may be subjected to virtual harassment. Here I analyze conditions of cyberspace that may prove problematic for female instructors and offer suggestions for dealing with such issues.

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