Despite my apparent obsession with the topic of women-in-science, I really don't have to work hard at all to find examples of ways in which women are patronized, discouraged, and discriminated against on a daily basis. Some of the examples are trivial:
Trivial example: I was laughing in the corridor with a colleague yesterday, and someone (male) passing by told me that I "laugh like a schoolgirl". My immediate thought was that this must be one of the people in my department who thinks I am too young for a leadership position.
Some examples are very serious:
Serious example: A promising undergraduate student who is doing senior thesis research and has plans to go to graduate school has to change her thesis topic because she is pregnant and can't be exposed to the chemicals in the lab in which she was working. Her thesis advisor (female professor) has ideas for alternate projects, but this morning, the Undergraduate Advisor (old male professor, has a wife who raised the kids etc.) gave the student a stern lecture about how she will have to make compromises and it's going to be really difficult and he's not sure she can do research now etc. etc. He also has "intellectual" concerns about the alternate projects. This is one of those cases where mandatory retirement for aged faculty is really appealing. The student is fortunate, however, that her thesis advisor is going to make sure that she has the support she needs and can do a senior thesis.
9 months ago