Children and Careers, angst, cope

eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Mon Aug 8 13:00:07 EST 1994

  Just a postscript to my message of Aug 4 (Children, careers, angst &
cope):  NO ONE forced me to make the decision I did.  In fact, I am still
getting pressure from the administration to reconsider and take a
sabbatical instead of stepping down (although there are a number of
downsides to acting on that suggestion).  A number of my colleagues
(including my chair) have continued to ask if I am actually "going through"
with my decision.  Davis actually has a pretty decent maternity leave
policy (for the U.S., that is - 6 weeks off plus a quarter of "modified
duties") and you are encouraged to apply for a year extension of the tenure
clock (which I've been told is virtually automatic, if you send the letter
in).  Granted, coming back even part-time at 6 weeks can be rough
emotionally (believe me, I know!), but more problematic is the world
external to the University (at least this one).  NIH and NSF are not going
to give grant extensions for maternity leave and no study section is going
to excuse a poor publication record because of child-bearing, especially
with the current funding crunch (and would we want the inevitable whispers
of "she only got her grant because she was female" if they did?).  This
means that you are OK if you are in the middle of a grant cycle, are well
funded, and have manuscripts "in the pipeline" (because tenure committees
also still count publications).  So why didn't I wait?  Read my first post.
 Also, as Patricia Foster said in her Aug 6 comment (Re[2] Life angst...): 
"Science, or at least biological science, does not lend itself to 40 hour
weeks", which leaves open the (very individual) question of how you deal
with the long-term (i.e., post-pregnancy) balance of responsibilities in
your life.

   Several other women faculty members on campus (including two in my
dept.) have recently had (or are about to have) children and have not felt
compelled to make the choice that I did.  So, while I am not denying the
existence of blatant discrimination elsewhere (i.e. NYU - see C. A. Foster,
Aug. 6 Re: Children...), and I agree that such discrimination should be
vigorously challenged, that was NOT a factor in my choice.

Beth Shuster
Dept. of Food Science and Technology
Univ. of California, Davis
phone (916) 752-4207; fax (916) 752-4759
eoshuster at

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