Re> DO women do science differently?

SLForsburg susan_forsburg at
Tue Nov 28 12:59:28 EST 1995

Susan Forsburg wrote:
>I keep reading that studies show that women dont do science differently than
>men, and that women in science are no less likely than men to have a partner,
>but my experience and observation  dont agree with that. For one thing, men
>are much happier in an aggressive competitive environment, challenging for
>heirarchy and blustering a lot.  <snip>

-- I don't know if we do or don't do _science_ differently from men, but we
sure _live_ differently from men!  The recent woman hired here is in my
field (I am a "faculty wife/post-doc"), and I was not even considered for
the job 'though I was and am as qualified.  I would suspect, though it may
be unfair, that few men would do what I have done: I sought her out when
she first got here, and we have become very close friends.

>not their networking or blustering or aggression or self-promotion.

My failure at the job interview last year was, at least in part, a failure
at self-promotion:  I failed to convince them that I knew the "big picture"
or that I knew where my research was going.  Both of which I know very
well-- I spent all my time stearing the conversations towards their
research!  The acquaintance who told me this said she'd never known a male
scientist with this problem, but many women have it.

>(Aside:  Ever noticed how an aggressive man is just aggressive
>but an aggressive woman is a bitch?)
> Another problem I've noticed
>on recent searches is that there are  not a lot of women applying for
>jobs, compared to their numbers in the postdoc/student population. Maybe
> they are getting tired of the system early on and bailing out.

When some people have asked me what I was doing (usually those who haven't
seen me in a while), I say I'm treading water - just trying to stay in
science long enough to make a cv long enough to get a "real" job someplace.
And frankly, I would not be doing yet another post-doc/temporary teaching
position if I wasen't married.  I wouldn't be able to afford to live on
what my salary is except as a "student", and frankly at almost 40 I'd be
very tired of living like a student!  Yet after all these years working in
science, which I love deeply, I know I'd be very bitter if I'd been forced
to give it up.


Linden Higgins, Ph.D.
Dept. of Zoology,
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  78712
linden at

S L Forsburg                             
susan_forsburg at
 "I don't speak for the Institute,         
 and the Institute doesnt speak for me."

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