Science (mag) family/career

Deb Britt Deborah_Britt at
Tue Jan 7 15:04:47 EST 1997

Science magazine online has a feature on the web right now, called
"Balancing Family and Career" (, that
I checked out yesterday.  They presented four essays, written by
scientists, on how they balance family with career.  When I first saw
this, I thought "great! let's see how other people do it!", but when I
read the essays I was initially disappointed, and the more I think about
it, angry.  The writings are by:  a dual-career couple (no mention of
children); a male assistant prof. who takes an active role in parenting; a
male postdoc who claims he spends time with his kids, but also mentions he
works "11+ hours a day and weekends" (maybe he never sleeps!); and a woman
postdoc who had a baby, and now says she does not want to be the head of a
lab, but will take a "permanent postdoc" position.

What is the message here??  That a man can be a father and have a
successful career as a scientist, but that a woman who becomes a mother
must down-shift her ambition, and forget about reaching full professor (or
the equivalent in industry)?!?  Does this mean that Science magazine could
not find one woman scientist who has children but did not give up her
career goals? I am angry that a respected publication, under the pretence
of showing us that you can have a career and family, manages to perpetuate
the status quo that we are trying to change.

Am I overreacting?  Check out the site, and let me know.  They also have a
forum where you can post your opinion, which I plan on doing.  (There is a
time limit on this, I don't remember the date they close the forum, so
check soon).

Deb Britt- a mother, a scientist, and determined to keep moving up the ladder.

Deborah Britt, Ph.D.
Department of Medical Oncology
Rhode Island Hospital

More information about the Womenbio mailing list