What would you have done?

Joseph Aharchi mfja at uxa.ecn.bgu.edu
Fri Feb 16 21:34:34 EST 1996

"DAWN C. GORDON" <I7BF at UNB.CA> wrote:
> HI!  This happened to me 4 years ago.  At the moment it happened, I
> thought nothing of it; soon afterward, when I told some girlfriends
> of mine, it "hit the fan".
>      The situation was an interview for a major Canadian graduate
> scholarship.  I sat through a 20 minute interview, answering
> questions about research interests, etc.  There was a panel of
> interviewers (1 or 2 women); one man played the "tough" role.
> Anyway, near the end of the interview were the following three
> questions from the said man:
>       1) We see that your present surname does not match the surname
> given on your publications.  Why is that?  Me: I am married, and
> that is my maiden name on the publlications.
>       side comment: is that what those rings are for
>       2) How do you propose to handle marriage and a career?
> ME: It's not something we entered into lightly; it has been my plan
> to go to grad school, and my husband supports me.
>       3) What does your husband do?
> ME: He is a technical salesman for a controls company...
>       I was 23 at the time.
>       This still irks me; some have said I should have complained to
> the granting agency.  However, I wasn't really bothered by it.  It
> was my friends who had a greater problem.
>       By the way, I did get the scholarship (I wonder if I had made
> a smart remark, whether I would have been successful?)
>       Thanks, DAWN

I've had a similar situation occur (though not directly).  As a manager
of a computer systems area in this country, I was forced to sit through
rules designed to prevent lawsuits:  ALWAYS KEEP DETAILED NOTES/NEVER ASK
THESE QUESTIONS (there are quite a few, basically anything related to 
gender, children, housekeeping, child-care arrangements, marriage, etc., 
etc.)  Anyway, at one point I was offered an interview for the F.A.O. in
Rome -- and prior to the interview they called my references (all in the 
states).  My corporate supervisor was absolutely shocked after the phone
interview she had with them -- she said that almost every question they 
asked about me would have been grounds for a sexual discrimation suit.  
So I guess the moral of the story is, although I have no desire to spend
my career in the U.S.A., I wish at least that their hiring guidelines were
international (have you ever been ticked at a British advertisement for
"YOUNG SCIENTISTS UNDER 30 YEARS OF AGE???" -- I have [obviously, I'm over

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