Feedback

S L Forsburg forsburg at nospamsalk.edu
Wed Nov 19 19:30:28 EST 1997


> From: Wildcatz <abe at U.Arizona.EDU>
> As a soon-to-graduate undergrad, I will join Christine as a token
> young'un - and admit that I have poor perspective on the 'higher
> level'  issues, but still wish to comment. Ideally these
> interactions should be  gender neutral, because of coure ideally, 
>  women getting equal share in
> science shouldn't be an issue. But it is, so we move on. I think, from
> my perspective as an undergrad, that I (and many of my friends), feel
> more
> comfortable with a woman supervisor. And it seems to me, especially
> from  reading this group, that many of the women in the higher 
> levels prefer to act as a mentor to the younger women coming up. 

Really?  I don't get that impression, and don't think that's true. 
I don't have a preference one way or the other.  In fact I
strive to keep a balance between men and women in my lab--I don't
want to be a "women only" PI, because I think its important for
us all to be able to work together and ignore gender divisiveness.
I get along quite well with men as well as women.  I expect
the male students who would find it difficult to work for a woman
PI self-select out, so I never see them in my lab.  I'm pretty
sure that my gender is not the major issue for people in 
joining my lab-- the science is.

> Why shouldn't it follow
> that the predominantly male senior faculty find it easier to mentor
> the young men?

Well, yes, it makes sense.  Except that since the senior faculty are
predominantly men, it has a definite impact on the success of
women's careers--because the only mentors available for us are men.
So, if the men are uncomfortable mentoring women  then it has a net
negative effect on women advancing.  

I think they often are uncomfortable,
because they are afraid that someone will think
there is something sexual going on, or becuase they just
find it difficult to interact with women because women
tend to interact differently than men.  If you don't fit
the competitve heirarchical model that they are familiar
with, they may not know how to deal with you. 

Although I think I'm as good a mentor for the men as the
women in my lab, so I don't know what the problem is with the
older guys. 

I would like to see statistics about promotions in the faculty.
We know women aren't getting hired at the expected rates, in
big part because they don't apply.  But once they get hired
(and arguably, the ones that do have to be pretty damn good),
do they get promoted at the same rates?  Anybody know?

-- 
-susan
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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 
http://flosun.salk.edu/~forsburg/lab.html
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