Children and Careers, angst, cope

C. A. Stewart cheryl at wijiji.santafe.edu
Mon Aug 8 19:03:02 EST 1994


In article <199408081800.LAA00850 at bullwinkle.ucdavis.edu> eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU writes:
>
>   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.

There are other women in your department?  Faculty?  In Geophysics, there 
are typically one or none on any given faculty.  There were none in my
department besides me, there had never even been any female postdocs and 
in fact they had never even granted a woman the Ph.D. in the history of 
my department.  

I found out later that there had been a big dispute over hiring me in 
the first place.  I was the best qualified candidate, so they would 
have been in serious trouble if they hadn't, was the bottom line.  They 
did their damndest to get rid of me in my first year.  Fortunately, they 
had to break the law to succeed, leaving me with much greater recourse
than if they had never hired me.

I don't think that it's particularly NYU, but rather the field.  Women make 
up more than half the undergraduates in the biological sciences, but still 
under twenty percent in the physical and mathematical sciences.  At 
increasing levels of advancement, the numbers drop dramatically and have 
not improved much in the last 20 years.

Typically, in a room full of twenty or thirty physics Ph.D.'s you'll
see zero or one woman, maybe two if there are thirty or forty people 
in the room.   Furthermore, a sickening number of women faculty and 
Ph.D. level researchers in geophysics are the wives or girlfriends of 
senior faculty.  

Please take this into account when you hear complaints from women
in physics and mathematics.  It's a different world, and the men 
think that because they passed quantum mechanics that ANY prejudice 
they might harbor is by definition reasonable and objective. 

Cheryl

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