good climate

DK dkat at
Tue Jun 18 15:52:28 EST 1996

lhyatt at (laura a hyatt) wrote:

>In this vein, I'd be interested in hearing what changes ought to be made 
>not merely in the culture of science practice, but in science training 
>(which, of course, inevitably leads to the culture of practice).  More 
>than half of the women in my grad. program quit without their PhD's 
>(sometimes getting terminal masters) For men, it's more like 1/3.  Having 
>been to a women's college, the coed grad. school classroom was a big 
>shocker; I wasn't used to being talked over, having my comments ignored 
>by the group, then restated and applauded by others.  

>What can we do to amend the atmosphere in grad school, which appears to 
>be a pretty big filter itself, after the family/primary/high 
>school/college filters have been survived?  

>Eagerly awaiting responses.


Yes!  This is where I think women have a serious disadvantage.
Particularly the young women who are very much interested in being
liked and approved of by the men and hesitant to be labeled a "bitch"
(either definition 1 or 2).  Of the women graduates I have known the
one who was certain all males were scum and against her was the least
successful.  She spent too much time and energy fighting a war.  I
strongly believe that if you set yourself up as a victim you are
going to lose (probably why I responded so harshly to the student who
thought life was unfair because she had to move to get a Post Doc).
The most successful woman I know did not allow herself to be talked
over but she was always polite, very professional, and competent in
all  ways.  She thought highly of herself and of others.  People would
listen because she had good things to say.  I have seen many women in
the business make it in one fashion or another but most of them simply
did not know their own worth.  If they became attached to a male
student, they tended to value his work above their own even when it
was often the case that they were doing much higher quality research.

I do believe that as women age they become less dependent upon the
opinion of others but that may have to do with the security they have
attained and it does not address or help this problem.  How does my
saying to a young woman that in twenty years she isn't going to fall
over backwards to please someone going to help her now?  

I do not believe that you can change the institution or graduate
school.  What can you do short of having female only colleges?  You
cannot say males and females get equal speaking time or a recording
will be kept and if you plagairize someone else's comments, you will
be penalized!  What very much needs to be done is to reach females in
grade school on up and teach them that they are worthy on their own,
not just as someones mate or daughter.  Whether you like to admit it
or not sexism with women as the server is still very much part of what
is taught in this culture.  Have any of you recently been to a toy
store?  Toy's R Us is very distinctly divided into the "pink or
pastel" section which has little more than dolls, kitchen supplies,
makeup, and "family" items and then the "black or primary" section
which has all of the action toys, computers, chemistry sets, etc.
Even the girls bikes are pink and lacy.  How can we possibly take a
young woman that has been conditioned all of her life to think of
others and family first and at the beginning of graduate school where
it is obvious she wants a career now say well you have to think you
are the most important and worthy of anything you wish? 

One idea that might work is that at any group gathering if women are
not being listened to, they might group together and discuss the
issues amoung themselves.  I'll be you anything you like that the
males in the group will then want to know what they are saying.  If
they are being talked over turn to one another and continue the
discussion.   As much as I hate sexual segregation or sexism in any
form a mass of females will stand stronger than one alone.
Unfortunately, from what I have witness,  most females will not be
willing to do this.   DK

>Laura Hyatt			   <><><><><><><><><><>
>University of New Mexico	 Madness takes its toll.
>Department of Biology		 Please have exact change.
>Albuquerque, NM 87131		   <><><><><><><><><><>

More information about the Womenbio mailing list