Women in Science

Lesley McKeown mckeownl at voyager.co.nz
Sun Aug 4 05:48:34 EST 1996

junekk at aol.com (JuneKK) wrote:
>Dear Colleagues,
>As a followup to a previous post, I'd like to post a few questions in
>regard to the problems that women scientists typically face during the
>course of their professional advancement.  Comments will be included
>anonymously in the next Women in Neuroscience newsletter (~Sept), unless
>otherwise specified by the author.  
>Please answer one or more of the following questions, with comments as
>specific as possible.
>1a.  How has childrearing/childcare decisions affected how you do
>research?   b.When do you feel it is the best time to have kids: during
>graduate school, during postdoc years, during tenure-track period of new
>principle investigator, etc.?

With tongue in cheek, if I knew then what I know now, I would have 
reained childless rather than start a family at 30. I think that you have 
to have your family when it feels right for you. It felt right for me but 
now I have gone back to studying and wish that I had done it years ago. I 
love my research work which is mainly field work and I take my kids with 
me. They help with  data collection and they work for Gummy Bears!!

>2.  Do you still encourage young individuals to major in science given the
>present low employment marketability of today's scientists?

Yes!! Science is a long haul career and we don't want to find ourselves 
short of scientists when things pick up again.

>3.  Have you ever felt that you were not being taken seriously by your
>graduate/postdoc mentor/boss because of your gender?  How did you handle
>this situation?

No, absolutely not. I have had nothing but the strongest of support and I 
think this has had a lot to do with my gender and my going back into 
studying with a full time job, 3 kids under 11 and a Horticultural block 
to run.

>4.  Do you  feel that your gender has ever gotten in the way of getting
>hired for faculty positions?  If so,  how did you know?

Not applicable with regard to faculty positions but in other situations, 
it is my gender and determination that probably enhanced my chances.

>5.  If you are a woman scientist, do you feel that you are is less self
>confidence in science than your male counterparts?  Did you feel this
>influence as a young student?

As a young student, yes. I was the only female in a lot of courses but I 
think that had as much to do with my upbringing and youth as my gender 
did. I was very much younger than my fellow students. These days, I think 
my gender has little to do with anything other than the the rather more 
civilising effects on my colleagues' behaviour.

Anyone who wants to get into sciene should pay more attention to their 
attitude and social skills than their gender because that's what gets you 
through. I have a lot of email that comes through that adresses me as a 
man - I find it quite amusing - the effects of sight on our 
preconceptions are amazing so maybe we should communicate electronically 
to give and get a truer picture of each other before we confront one 

Lesley McKeown, Mrs (!!)

>All responses are welcome!
>Thanks in advance!
>June Kume-Kick

More information about the Womenbio mailing list