Le1bn1z wrote:I'd ask
1.) to see the methodology of the study. Was it a survey? If so, does that not better reflect the anxieties than realities of women in academia?
This study was also just about women in scientific and technological areas.
We collected data from departmental academic records on advisors and advisees and interviewed female and male faculty members, female graduate students and academic administrators. The quantitative data consists of a listing of current graduate students, along with Ph.D. recipients over the last five years, paired with their main faculty advisors (from one of the departments, electrical engineering, data on Ph.D. recipients only spans the past two years). Supplementing this, data were also gathered for students who dropped out of their programs prior to earning their doctorate.
I should have made that clearer in my initial post, but I think comparing the different disciplines would be interesting.
Le1bn1z wrote:So many of the issues raised have nothing to do with academia, and everything to do with the women being surveyed. Women have lower confidence in their abilities? Ummmmm.....sorry? Women feel discouraged from going to work when they have a baby? Taking care of babies and working is hard? Discouraged by whom, precisely?
Some of the points are outright dishonest. Male advisors can be demeaning to female students? Well, I can happily say from experience they can likewise be demeaning to males. And female academic advisors are equally apt to be equal-opportunity with praise and anger. Academic world is an "old-boys club"? I've been to enough research seminars to know that its becoming, in the Arts, very much an "old-girls club."
I completely agree with you on many points, hence why I was asking if everyone thought this was a load of hogwash (that's such a great word!) because I somewhat doubted the neutrality of the study. It is very true that there are more women in the humanities, and I can imagine the difficulty of being a male in those discipline, but I'm not sure it quite translates. College has traditionally been a 'man's world' and therefore a man, even in a female dominated area, will typically have some advantages that women do not. I know, .
This is not to say that sexism against men is not prevalent - I know it is, and it's in no way shape or form fair. The fact that you can say demeaning things about men and have it laughed off while you cannot say that about a women without being shunned is something our society still has to work on. Men are not always bumbling fools, and women are not always concerned about hair.
As for women being discouraged, it seems to be mainly because, culturally, women are expected to be the primary caregiver for a child. In this study, it mentions that having a child while pursing a tenure track position is academic suicide for women, but it is not
for men. Having a child is difficult, but evidently not so difficult if you are male. Women put a lot more into childbirth than a man, but no allocation is made for that. Should it be?
Another thought is that a man can feasibly wait to have children once they receive tenure. That seems to take until about 30 or so. Women do not really have that luxury. Giving birth to your first child at 30 can be somewhat dangerous. Once again, I ask the question, should allocations be made for this?
I've been trying to find some studies that I read way back in high school that said females are usually less confident in their abilities and tend to be less aggressive, but I've been unable to find them currently. To paraphrase, women are more cautious and have a more realistic view of the things they can accomplish. Also, women are considered 'bitches' if they're aggressive, but aggressiveness in a man is considered a good trait. If I find them, I'll post them. Obviously they're not 'hard science' studies, but I did find them interesting.
Le1bn1z wrote:2.) Are things any different outside of academia? Better? Worse? Isn't this important if you're using the findings to influence whether to join the souless, crushed, despo....er.... happy ranks of academia?
The only info I have for that is anecdotal. It's probably a little better, but not much. I'm currently on co-op in at an aerospace company, and the majority of employees are white men over 50. They can be kind of sexist, (saying things like, 'oh, you should go put your skirt on' when cleaning, etc. - never in front of me, just in front of male co-ops) and I sometimes wonder if all they think I can do is powerpoints because I'm female, or simply because I'm a co-op. Still, the corporate world is much more flexible, is required to give time off for maternity leave as far as I know, and typically has entire departments devoted to making certain no one is discriminated against (in large enough companies).
As for me attempting to determine if I would like to go into academia, it is a factor, especially the possibility of having to give up having children for my career.
Le1bn1z wrote:B.) There is nowhere in the world more militantly PC than universities, leading to two interesting phenomena: i) A far more PC space, especially where it comes to respecting women, than anything I've seen anywhere; ii) Far greater sensitivity and offense at minor or precieved slights on all sides, from men, women or others.
I think I have to disagree on this. The undergraduate classes are very PC perhaps, but that doesn't necessarily translate into the faculty. What often happens, I've seen, is you get your 'token' black person, your 'token' female, etc. As a female in a male dominated school, I am rarely mistreated at all. (The joke is that the guys have to be nice, or they'll never find a girlfriend). This is PC, but doesn't mean there is actual equality.
Yes, this did flash the 'BS monitors', but that's mainly because I really hope this isn't that true. I'm curious about any experiences you may have had being in a female dominated field. Also, are there different arrangements for women with regards to children?
Sorry for the novel.