SLForsburg forsburg at sc2.salk.edu
Mon Jul 18 09:46:23 EST 1994

In article <009819AD.CC217100.48 at umbsky.cc.umb.edu>,
4700gbera at UMBSKY.CC.UMB.EDU wrote:

> I really see a difference in women who are just entering the graduate program 
> here. They are much more tentative than the male students.

In my observation, women students generally seem to be more uncertain and
tentative, and I think it is almost entirely a matter of confidence (I was
like that too). It is sad that in ten years it hasnt changed more.  I
ascribe it to the fact that being a bright young woman with a scientific
bent is still seen as unusual, and everyone makes it clear in the school
and college years that they are surprised, whereas no one is surprised at
a young man who wants to do science, so the woman is more unsure of
herself.  When things go badly, the women tend to say, "there must be
something wrong with me," and the men tend to say, "there must be
something wrong with the system."

What to do?  Confidence comes from respect and reassurance.  Every student
needs that reagrdless of gender. It may be easy to overlook the quiet ones
who dont demand attention,  but a word of encouragement at the right time
can make a lot of difference. But then, I have an odd notion that PI's owe
more to their students than just a lab bench.   


forsburg at sc2.salk.edu
    formerly forsburg at molbiol.ox.ac.uk

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