RE. NEJM article/reply to Julia

S L Forsburg notmyaddress at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 15 15:09:28 EST 2000


Note to webmaster:  I can't use the "reply" function on the web
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Julia wrote:
> 
> Maybe I'm getting old and cynical, but I for
> one am sick and tired of people pointing to labs with 30-50% female postdocs
> and a few jr professor hires and saying that this means women now have equal
> opportunity.

Equal opportunity really  means equal access to power.  The article in the
NEJM points out that women aren't getting to the power, because they 
aren't advancing.  Once I heard a senior professor say half jokingly,
"we hire women, we just don't promote them!" 

The hard part is getting  power.  That means achieving 
recognition and influence.  (By the way did anyone see the article in
THE SCIENTIST about paucity of women getting awards?  Link on the
W-i-B launch page, below).  It's all very well to let us in to the
bottom floor of their structure, but we have to get to the top 
to make the changes.  And that means even average women have to get in
to where average men have been.

> Part I'm frustrated because its taken too long to get just
> this far

And of course it doesn't seem so far now that we've got here, and are 
looking at where we want to go. 

> and partly I'm frustrated because many people seem
> content to stop at opportunity itself-whether its equal or not. 

Interesting point.  I think it's our nature to be grateful when
something works out, and not want to rock the boat.  But also
it might be exhaustion--how long can you keep fighting an 
endless battle?

> Or is it better to strive for the highest goal despite the burnout?

Some women withhold  themselves from the system 
until it changes--but it won't change unless
pushed, and their silence isn't noted. 
 Some women get into the system and work to various degress to
change it--though at some point, they have to work with it just to
stay inside.  And some women never stop pushing.  Not sure anyone can 
keep going forever--cynicism and just plain exhaustion
creep in.  I think that we have to do it in stages, and recognize 
that we will not get there in one trip.  

I think shooting for equity is a good start.  Sadly we have a long
way to go.

-- 
-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://pingu.salk.edu/~forsburg/lab.html

Women in Biology Internet Launch Page
http://pingu.salk.edu/~forsburg/bio.html
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