women and men in science etc

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Mon Dec 11 23:15:43 EST 1995

Neo Martinez asked about women who had found men to do the majority
of the child-rearing.  In my experience it has been pretty rare to see
it.  A postdoc at Stanford, where I was a grad student, had a stay at
home husband who took time off from his job as a carpenter to stay with
their son after he was born.  I didn't know him well, but she was quite
committed to her career in science and as a teacher, and was very good
at both.  Also, when I saw her with her son (he came into the lab too
sometimes), they seemed to have a very loving relationship.  The
husband then had some trouble when he tried to go back to work after 3
years of staying home.  He'd been out of the market long enough to have
lost contacts for freelance work and companies looked askance at his
time off.  This is really unfortunate whether it happens to women or men.

Right now in my lab a fellow postdoc had a baby in July.  She brings the
baby in one day a week (it is a VERY well-behaved baby).  Mostly the
baby sits in the office in a stroller/crib, but people like to come by and
pick her up.  The husband in this couple is a physiologist, has a rig
of his own in his own room, and takes the baby in to work two days a week.
He claims he can get recording done with her there, and enjoys it.  He
also has a very understanding boss.

My own boyfriend, an astronomer, claims that if we ever have children, he
would be interested in "staying at home with them and writing textbooks."
I think this is a sweet offer, but it's highly theoretical at this point.

I've been in biology for 8 years now, and these are the only cases I
can think of that apply to Neo's question.  Perhaps that says something.


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