Improving the Applicant Pool
josh at cqs.washington.edu
Mon Feb 22 12:22:50 EST 1993
This is an interesting question (I edited it out by mistake; the
question is, why do so many women make it to the post-doc level
and then drop out of science?).
There are a couple of pieces of information - well, anecdotes,
really - that I can relate that bear on the subject. At the last
school I inhabited (as a post-doc), the department was about 20-25
people, of whom three were women. One of these women resigned,
and the search was on for a female replacement. I got to sit in
on faculty meetings, so I can tell you that this was an explicit
requirement for the position, though of course it was not advertised
that way. I think the department realized how bad it would look to
have the number of women faculty decline in these times.
The same bunch of faculty included a few people who confided in
me that the reason they disliked hiring women is that women "won't
work like men will". They further explained that this meant that
women are less likely to be willing to put in 80 or 90 hour work
weeks (what has been referred to as the "macho" work week).
Now, I don't know if this is true at all. I do know that the only
people I've known who DID subscribe to that work ethic were men,
but I also consider the idea loathsome.
If this attitude is widespread, it may be that the reason women
are poorly represented in faculty slots is because they won't put
up with the absurd demands that higher-ups increasingly feel they
can make. Had I known before launching my career that I would be
expected to publish twenty articles a year, bring in a million
dollars in funding a year, walk on water and stand on my head and
spit nickels, I would have considered a different line of work -
and in fact I am still considering it.
Caveat: I'm a man; perhaps it is because I am a man the "old boys"
are willing to tell me things they would deny now. I'm also still
a post-doc so please don't ask me for names in this account; I
can't afford the kind of trouble that might bring me.
Josh Hayes, Quantitative Sciences HR-20 U of Washington
josh at pogo.cqs.washington.edu 206 543-5004
Scalp 'em, Tantric! Groovy, Kemosabe.
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