professionalism, women, and Oprah!

Susan Jane Hogarth sjhogart at
Thu Dec 19 14:43:29 EST 1996

Jeanhee Chung wrote:

>         At any rate, it seems to me that this discussion can be anything...

>         Here, I'll throw a few questions into the ring:
> (1)  I read somewhere about a "pink-collar ghettoization" occurring in
> the biological sciences, where many women get stalled working as
> technicians,or as post-docs, research associates, etc. where their male
> counterparts go on to graduate school, get assistant professorships,
> tenure.  In real life, it does seem like most career techs are women, most
> tenured professors are men.
>         Are the causes of this inequality still present?  Some of it is
> the result of social forces in action a generation ago... but are
> young women students failing to get their degrees out of
> proportion to young male doctoral candidates?  Are female postdocs today
> still failing to get jobs out of proportion to the number applying?  Are
> female assistant professors failing to get tenure out of proportion to the
> number seeking tenure? Is the proportion of woman scientists _seeking_
> advancement out of whack?       What can we do about this?

<Susan throws some fat on the fire>
I wonder if maybe the fact that *only* women carry babies might have a
little something to do with this? It *does* take a bit of time and
energy, after all ;-)

> (2) I'm trying to separate out how much of today's "discrimination" at the
> higher levels of academia is institutional and how much is the result of
> the different socialization of men and women.
>         For instance, yesterday I wanted to review some statistical
> theory.  Instead, I spent time making my famous coffee cake for a lab
> party, and also did a lot of errands like taking out the garbage,
> Christmas shopping, and caring for an ailing parent. It seemed
> like I never had a moment to do what I wanted to do--  my life
> was constrained by other people's needs.  Meanwhile, my significant other
> went to lab and did some experiments. I was cursing myself as I ground
> nuts for the coffee cake topping--next time I'm bringing soda.
>         It's all these stupid choices that may bring me down, I'm afraid.
> Yet it seems to me that I can't be happy neglecting my family and other
> interests.  Like a lot of other woman students, I seem to have priority
> conflicts that my male peers choose to ignore. In the end, I wouldn't mind
> a rounded-out life, not all science,  -- which is the conclusion that a
> lot of career techs and second-string female scientists seem to have
> reached. 

<sigh> I'm struggling with this, too. My prof is being very patient (so
far), but, oddly enough, my *husband* keeps trying to push me back into
the lab. He says "sure it's nice to have clean clothes, but don't you
need to get some things done in the lab?" ;-)  I think your emphasis on
these conflicts being the result of _choice_ is good; it's something
many of us struggle with, but most of the struggle is internal - at
least for this generation.

>         But then again, I know that I could kick ass if I work up to my
> full potential!  Is there anyone out there who's got it all?  What's your
> secret?  Can it be conveyed to people with average metabolisms, who need
> sleep?

If you find an answer, let me know! I sure as hell would like to give up
*needing* to sleep!

Check this!

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