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Mary Rowe

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Mary Rowe … (PhD of MIT) ...

Mary Rowe extended in 1973 the term microaggression to include similar aggressions directed at women; eventually, the term came to encompass the casual degradation of any socially marginalized group, such as the poor and the disabled.[1] She also named the concept of "micro-inequities,” experienced by people who are nontraditional in any context. Rowe's work led to MIT’s having one of the nation's first harassment policies.[2]

Mary Rowe also coined the terms micro-inequities[wp] and micro-affirmations in 1973. In the original articles on this subject in the 1970s Mary Rowe defined micro-inequities as "apparently small events which are often ephemeral and hard-to-prove, events which are covert, often unintentional, frequently unrecognized by the perpetrator, which occur wherever people are perceived to be 'different'." She wrote about homophobia, reactions to perceived disabilities, reactions to the way people look, reverse discrimination against white and Black males in traditionally female environments, many varieties of religious slights; she collected instances of micro-inequities anywhere at work or in communities - anywhere in the world - that people are perceived to be "different."[3]


  • "Saturn's Rings: a study of the minutiae of sexism which maintain discrimination and inhibit affirmative action results in corporations and non-profit institutions" in Graduate and Professional Education of Women, American Association of University Women, 1974, pp. 1-9.
  • "Saturn's Rings II, with racist and sexist incidents from 1974 and 1975," in the Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin, Volume 50, No. 1 (Sept./Oct. 1975), pp. 14-18, and in Bourne, Patricia and Velma Parness, eds., Proceedings of the NSF Conference on Women's Leadership and Authority, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, 1977, also reprinted in Comment, Vol. 10, No 3 (March 1978), p. 3.
  • "The Minutiae of Discrimination: The Need for Support," in Forisha, Barbara and Barbara Goldman, Outsiders on the Inside, Women in Organizations, Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey, 1981, Ch. 11, pp. 155-171.
  • "Barriers to Equality: the Power of Subtle Discrimination," The Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, June, 1990, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 153-163
  • "Micro-Affirmations and Micro-inequities" in the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, Volume 1, Number 1, March 2008. http://ombud.mit.edu/sites/default/files/documents/micro-affirm-ineq.pdf
  • "Unconscious Bias: May Micro-Affirmations Provide one Answer?" in Commentary, http://mitsloan.mit.edu/iwer/posts/unconscious-bias-may-micro-affirmations-provide-one-answer-2/


  1. Paludi, Michele (2010). Victims of Sexual Assault and Abuse: Resources and Responses for Individuals and Families (Women's Psychology). Praeger. p. 22. ISBN 031337970X
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Mary Rowe (Adjunct Professor of Management) (21 February 2016)
  3. Wikipedia: Micro-inequity (21 February 2016)