Monday, October 23, 2006

The Incredible Invisible Professor

Some recent comments reminded me of a conference I went to recently with my family. My husband and I took turns attending the meeting and playing with our daughter. When I was in mom-mode, I became invisible to colleagues passing in the street of the small town in which the conference was held. When I was alone, everyone waved or stopped to chat. The difference was really striking, especially since my husband was visible whether he was with or without our daughter. When he was with our daughter, some people commented how nice it was to see a high-powered researcher in family mode. Men get cosmic credit for being scientists AND parents. Women get taken less seriously for being scientists AND parents.

3 comments:

Ms.PhD said...

The optimistic view might be that people realize how busy scientist-moms are, and thought you'd want some time alone with your family, for once?

btw, you have a typo in this post.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this article in today's Chronicle of Higher Ed?

Harvard Notes a Decline in Proportion of Women Who Accepted Offers of Tenure-Track Faculty Jobs

It's not about science professors in particular, but it does discuss factors like evening meetings that affect professors with families and professors who don't live in Cambridge. Have a look.

Carrie said...

To follow up my earlier comment and your post -- for some reason women can't be both a mom and a colleague. It's truely an either/or (especially with their predominantly male co-workers). Maybe because the women in the men's lives have had as their 'main' role that of mother and homemaker? Whereas their male colleagues are often dads *and* professors, so that makes complete sense. I don't like it, but for my own sense of self I often end up NOT taking my kids to work-related events because I don't get taken 'seriously' and it drives me batty.