Women in Science

bmartin at utmem1.utmem.edu bmartin at utmem1.utmem.edu
Tue Feb 25 14:18:30 EST 1997


In article <5etfjf$um7 at omnifest.uwm.edu>, pbowne at omnifest.uwm.edu
(Patricia S. Bowne) wrote:

> I think the question of strategy requires that the course's desired
> outcomes be clarified. Is the point to make the students understand
> that women have made contributions, or that women's comtributions are
> undervalued, or that women have been kept out of science, or that aspects
> of the culture of science are inhospitable to women?
> 
> I would vote for the last one, myself, since it seems to be the one that
> current students will not only have to deal with but that they might
> be able to change. I would further suggest that the aspects of scientific
> culture that can be categorized as inhospitable to women anre also 
> inhospitable to family-centered men. So perhaps a course on the culture
> and values of science, how they have been construed and how they relate
> to your students' own culture and values, would address the problems
> women face in science while engaging the male students as well, and
> help them start viewing these cultural issues not as unreasonable demands
> made by women but as demands that scientists of both sexes should be
> making. (Bad sentence - but I hope my point struggles through?)

These are great points.  There are simply too many scientists, male and
female, trained in the traditional mode which stresses work over
everything else.  My wife and I have two children and are both in tenure
track positions.  I have heard my share of comments about my daily
departure for daycare, for staying home with an ill child, for going to
daycare functions, etc., that it is clear that some full professors don't
care for my work habits.  Obviously I have a different schedule, but I
also work late on the computer at home, particularly preparing lectures. 
These changes in work habits and emphasis are completely foreign to most
male professors over 50 yrs of age despite them having been trained in the
late 60s and early 70s.  New generations of scientists must have their
eyes opened to these cultural challenges.

B. Martin



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