industry jobs

Hilary Bates hbates at
Thu Feb 22 17:23:58 EST 1996

celestem at (Celeste Moore) wrote:
>I was wondering if any of the industry scientists out there have had the  
>negative experience that some of us in academic US labs are having.  In regards  
>to the dicriminating attitudes and basically rude bahavior?

Yes, occasionally. In my experience, it has more often been due to
thoughtlessness than active hostility or rudeness, and more often than
not, a quiet "I find that offensive" or similar remark has been 
sufficient to make the person rethink their words and sometimes even
their attitude! In my first job, where I was actually doing bench
science, I was patronised a lot, and as I was not only the only woman
in the department, but also the youngest by around twenty years, I
felt doubly disadvantaged. I was also pretty shy at that age (about 22)!
But I did my job, and did it well, and after a while, I built some
respect and got treated less as a little girl and more as a scientist.

Since leaving bench science for the information science world, my
environment has been largely female-dominated, and the problem has 
arisen much less. Nevertheless, *visitors* to the department often
assumed I was a receptionist or a secretary because I was sitting
at a desk with a computer on it (I was also close to the entrance
which probably didn't help), and would ask me about someone's
whereabouts, and I got fairly tired of saying "Perhaps you should
ask his secretary..."

To a lesser extent, I have encountered discriminatory attitudes
here in the US - people who ask me if it's my husband's job that
has brought me to the US - which to me seems like an assumption that
a woman can't possibly be in the sort of job which enables her to
work abroad. I see a lot of rethinking going on when I say, "No, I'm
not married."

Sorry to ramble, but I think the short answer is that discrimination
is everywhere, and doing one's job well is part (probably more than 
half) of the answer, but to defeat discriminatory attitudes requires a 
certain amount of willingness to 'play by the rules', whatever the
rules are in one's personal situation.

Hope that helps.

hbates at

*** Disclaimer: These are the opinions of the poster not Amgen Inc.***

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