Women in Science poll responses

Rachelle J. Bienstock rachelle at picard.niehs.nih.gov
Fri Sep 27 09:09:19 EST 1996


I am not going to make light of the problems of undergraduate,
graduate and post doctoral woman in science, however, life has
a habit of snow balling and the problems get bigger and bigger
as life goes on.  First of all, there are fewer and fewer woman
as one progresses for a variety of reasons.  This will change
in the future because there are now more and more women in
the pipeline, but now, look around and count the number of women
department chairs in science departments, Deans in Engineering
or Medical Schools, or CEOs or on the board of science or technology
oriented companies...there aren't many...So now as a woman progresses
in her career she is more and more of an oddity and an exception.
Also, as one gets older life gets more complicated...When I was
a grad student, there was just me; when I was a postdoc, there 
was my husband to consider as well...Now there are the needs of
my child as well as an aging mother to consider.  Women still,even
in the best of cases with a supportive husband bear the primary
burden of taking care of children and often aging parents...So
as women get older and progress in their careers there are more
and more personal demands on their times as well as professional
ones.  

Things are much better now then they were 10 or 20 years ago;
many conferences offer day care services (as well as businesses
and universities), the Family Leave Act
assists with time off to deal with personal stuff, many companies
offer paternity as well as maternity leave.  However, the tenure
system, where one must demonstrate productivity during the primary
childbearing years and the mentality that if one doesn't work 60+ hours
in the lab. and spends the evenings or weekends with their family
they are not a "dedicated" scientist still exist...So woman still
have it harder and are faced with more difficult decisions than
their male colleagues....



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