Thursday, November 02, 2006

On the Lack of Women

Two of the letters to Science this week on the topic of "On the Lack of Women in Academic Science" demonstrate the main issues very well.

First is an inspiring letter by Professor Emeritus Eugenie Vorburger Mielczarek, a pioneering woman physicist whose actions as a department head and mentor fostered the academic careers of women and men in her department.

At the other end of the evolutionary spectrum, Dr. George Gordon Roberts joins the ranks of those who are 'troubled' by the underrepresentation of men on the National Academy of Sciences panel that produced the On Bias and Barriers report. I sort of know how he feels, though in my case the committees I encounter are typically all-male instead of mostly-female. I am constantly having to deal with decisions and reports issued by all-male committees, including some that have a direct impact on my career and life. It is indeed very troubling.

Even more fascinating is Dr. Roberts' idea that "we" should be telling women to marry men who make less money than they do, so that it is more likely that their husbands will be the stay-at-home spouse when it comes time to raise some kids. I have a higher salary than my husband, but alas, he rather likes his career, so we share childcare activities. Roberts' idea sounds like something an all-male committee would come up with.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't it be "Emerita"?
(This is partly just a language question, because English isn't my mother tongue.)

Anyway, great post! Thanks!

Dr. Shellie said...

We were thinking alike yesterday... take a look at my post for a link to Dr. (not Prof.) Roberts' page. I assumed this was the comment of a 50-year-old professor until I discovered they were in fact made by a young postdoc.

Ms.PhD said...

I'll have to read these - right now I don't have access to my Science subscription. Thanks for the heads up.

mapletree7 said...

I call this the 'wife' approach. The suggested solution isn't institutional change, it's that female employees should get 'wives' like male employees.