men and wives

SLF notmyaddress at
Mon Feb 25 03:45:52 EST 2002

Roxanne wrote,

> I think we're also looking at a "wife effect" here for want of a better
> word. Why are those guys with young kids more likely to get tenure than
> unmarried men?

Yes, this strikes me as quite an amazing statistic.

> They may be more likely to have stay at home wives since
> their kids are young. These women get dinner on the table, do the laundry,
> get birthday presents for their parents/grandparents, plan the vacation,
> find the new place to live when they move etc. So maybe we all need
> "wives"!

Indeed.  I have often felt that I need a "wife" so that I can focus all my
attention on the science, without distractions, as many of my colleagues
do.  There are plenty of distractions even for the unmarried, non-parent.

I look around at my faculty colleagues and observe that yes, nearly all of the
men are married, and often their spouses do not have equivalently high-powered
careers.  This is not so for all the women;  more are single, and of those
with spouses, more of them have similarly demanding careers.

So, assuming we don't want a "MOMMY TRACK" in science, but want
instead to make academic science a family-friendly and life-friendly endeavor
to parents of both sexes, what's to be done?


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S L Forsburg, PhD  Associate Professor
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA
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