I’m a Kansas Dr. — and an expert on the sexist treatment of women in politics

It's been heartening to see so many defending Jill Biden's use of the prefix "Dr." No one told Henry Kissinger he should not use Dr. when he was Secretary of State, nor did anyone call him "kiddo."

Columnists

December 22, 2020 - 9:51 AM

Jill Biden, wife of President-elect Joe Biden, at a campaign event in October. Photo by (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

My niece, who grew up in Florida, spent part of every summer shuttling between Topeka where I lived and Frontenac where my parents lived. She would go to the University of Kansas campus with me when I checked my mail or met with a student. One day, after hearing several people call me “Dr. Carlin,” she looked at me with six-year-old irritation that included a “humph” and hands on her hips.

Dr. Diana Carlin,
The Kansas Reflector

“Aunt Diana,” she asked, “if you are a doctor why aren’t you in a hospital helping people?”

I explained about different types of doctors, and said I help people by teaching them skills to serve them throughout their lives. Many non-medical “doctors” are finding cures for cancer or COVID or are conducting research that contributes to our quality of life. Doctoral degree holders do help people and may even save lives.

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