Women in Academia

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Women in Academia

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:46 pm UTC

Here: http://people.mills.edu/spertus/Gender/EKNU.html is a fairly lengthy study I came across while looking online in order to determine if I should pursue higher education. I found this topic to be very interesting, mostly because I am female, and I am also very interested in entering academia in the future.

As the article is long, I will try to hit the basics:
There are huge barriers to being a successful woman in academia, especially women attempting to get tenure. The main points the article focuses on are:

Socialization Barriers
  • Women typically have lower confidence in their abilities
  • Women are discouraged from getting married if they want to remain in academia - they are not seen as 'serious' if they do get married while pursuing a job in academia
  • Women who have children are discouraged from going into academia
  • Women's jobs are typically the 'second job' in the family - meaning that if a wife and husband must choose between a job, they will typically choose the husband's job
  • If women are successful, it is sometimes seen as simply 'getting lucky' instead of working diligently

Academic Advising
  • There are few females available to be academic advisors
  • Male academic advisors can be demeaning to females
  • The academic world is a bit of an 'old boys club' and women are sometimes excluded simply through the culture

Career Choice
  • Most women who receive PhD's will go to work in industry - it's more flexible
  • Women can be ignored in meetings, in the lab, and conferences, simply because they are female
  • Differences in respect to child birth are typically not seen in academic labs - women are given no more time off than a man would

Trouble with Balance
  • Women who act typically like men are the ones who succeed in academia
  • Women are typically the primary caregivers of children, elderly parents, etc.
  • Pure time, whether spent working or not, in the lab is seen as an indication of how dedicated you are
  • Women typically spend less time in the lab because they have other responsibilities men might not typically have
  • There are few female role models to show how to successfully balance family and work
  • The few female role models there are aren't typically looked up to by incoming women - they're seen as very aggressive, and not altogether likable
Policy Implications
  • Sexual harassment towards women has occurred, but will often go unannounced so as to not hurt the chances of the female in working in that department
  • Often times, men who are dismissive towards women do so unconsciously, and policy changes can make them more aware they are being dismissive

The article goes on to discuss how different policy changes, such as allowing tenure to take more years, same amount of time spent in the lab, would increase the number of women in academia.

What I'm most curious in is what you think of this information. Is it a load of crap, or does it have some merit? I believe it does, but I am obviously biased being female pursuing a male-dominated field (mechanical engineering). Do parts of it make sense? Is this crud femi-nazis came up with to pretend like women don't have equal opportunity? What do you think?
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby MartianInvader » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:36 pm UTC

I'm finishing up a PhD, and I would say that, at least anecdotally, it does have merit. However, things *are* moving in the right direction.

Decisions like "who should we hire" are typically made by big department meetings of the faculty - and the senior faculty are still mostly old white males. Keep in mind that someone who's on the faculty now was probably hired several decades ago, when women's rights weren't nearly what they are today. And I suspect that many of them still harbor somewhat sexist tendencies. It's not nearly as bad with the younger faculty, but some old dogs just don't learn new tricks, and so things will probably be tougher for women for at least another generation or so.

The other thing I can speak to is childbirth. I recently got married, and my wife and I (my wife is also in academia) have been trying to figure out when in the next five years we could have a baby without majorly impacting her career. The answer is basically that we have to plan the timing carefully. Getting pregnant during your first couple years of, say, a post-doc is a big faux-pas, and can hurt your relationship with your advisor. This is because everyone knows that you're going to be less productive during the late pregnancy and after giving birth. Applying for jobs if you just became pregnant or are planning to shortly be pregnant (and not hiding it) is really, really, hard.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby modularblues » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:51 am UTC

I'm in EE, and the only other female student in my group is graduating - her defense is pretty soon. The guys in my office area sometimes still talk like boys in a frat party... until one of them said, "um, we have a girl present", or "before you came, I would say 'stop acting like a girl'..." But I don't think they are intentionally demeaning and I don't take it personally. After all, I've been mostly in the company of males ever since middle school math teams. The guys pretty much regard me as one of them.

I am rather worried about starting a family if I'm going for an academic job, because I don't see an easy solution so far... other than asking my parents to help raise the kid(s)... which could result in complications. If only there's something I could do mostly at home if/when I find myself having kids...

There are too few female EE professors, but from what I have seen, the successful ones tend to be very earnest in the sense that they try to be nice and helpful to the students. More so than the average EE male professor. They are also better lecturers than the average male professor I've come across. And of course, taking care of running a lab and fund raising, etc. Makes me wonder if I have that in me to succeed in academia... (case in point: low confidence in one's ability huh.)

It's harder if there's a two-body problem where both parties are academics. In all the examples I know of, one person's career always ends up taking a hit. (In one case it was the man's. She's a full professor but he's still associate.) C'est la vie.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Chen » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:13 pm UTC

MartianInvader wrote:The other thing I can speak to is childbirth. I recently got married, and my wife and I (my wife is also in academia) have been trying to figure out when in the next five years we could have a baby without majorly impacting her career. The answer is basically that we have to plan the timing carefully. Getting pregnant during your first couple years of, say, a post-doc is a big faux-pas, and can hurt your relationship with your advisor. This is because everyone knows that you're going to be less productive during the late pregnancy and after giving birth. Applying for jobs if you just became pregnant or are planning to shortly be pregnant (and not hiding it) is really, really, hard.


I'd say this is a more general statement, rather than just being related to academics. If you just get a job and very shortly after get pregnant, the company will not be happy. Similarly trying to get a job while pregnant is also pretty damn difficult, since the company has very little incentive to hire/train you and then have you leave for 6 months. Around here you can't be fired for getting pregnant, but a lot of companies will put it as a mark against you, if its recently after you've gotten the job.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:34 pm UTC

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?

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."

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?

3.) Does this study not set off some really big BS alarms in peoples' minds? Maybe its because I'm a humanities guy, but here are some things I know from my side of the divide:

A.) Women have become an avalanche into Arts Faculties. They dominate every singe faculty and department besides math, engineering and militay command studies at military colleges. This includes dominance of Law, Management and, of course, Education.

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.\

C.) This cuts both ways. Arts faculties can be isolating for a male student. Women set the agenda and dominate the conversation, often leading to some pretty wild things being said about men and the creation of a fairly uninviting atmosphere for men.

Inapropriate comments about male students or men generally by female professors or student-presenters are lightly laughed off by the same wannabe feminists that would be shocked and appalled at something even remotely similar said by a man. Granted, we don't care as much, but its something to consider when compiling these sorts of lists.

To be frank, a lot of this seems circumspect both as assertions of truth and as standards by which one might choose to enter academia. Academia is certainly no more sexist than other segments of society, and the remedies are closer to hand. I'd say, if this is your only real concern, go for it.

I might caution you, however, that academia can really stink for other reasons.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby KestrelLowing » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:31 pm UTC

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?


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.


This study was also just about women in scientific and technological areas. 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, [citation needed].

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.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby iop » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:14 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote: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?


Tenure at 30? That is very early. Giving birth at 30 dangerous? Not so much in this day and age (yes the dangers do increase as you get older, but it's not that bad). Primary caregiver? You should be quite selective when choosing your mate (yes, I know that breastfeeding is not something men can do for you, but that's why there is maternity leave - and in any decent university you will get extension of tenure if you go on maternity leave, should you choose to have your kids then).
Note that having kids (or, gasp!, hobbies) means that you cannot be as productive as someone who is devoted fully to their job. You may thus not get the job at MIT, but there are plenty of other places out there.
Also: How can men easily wait until they got tenure? Do the people in the study assume that men always go for the 15 year younger girl?

If you're a minority in your field, life will be harder than if you're in the majority, simply because people like to associate with similar people. However, you shouldn't let yourself be discouraged by statistics, if you love the field. Also, if you're smart, creative and resourceful enough to be able to consider an academic career, you'll be able to find a solution that works.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:36 pm UTC

Yep, I'm going to go ahead and say that its very different in Arts and Sciences. I did a combined honours undergrad and a master's degree. Both undergrad dept. heads were female for two years and at no point were both make. My grad dept. head was likewise female. Profs were equal male-female in my department, majority female in one faculty and equal male-female in the other.

Keep in mind, to, about the old boys club thing that the all-boys domination is of the same providence as the all-Christian thing. Women and Jewish professors were given broad access to the universities at roughly the same time and at similar increments. Would you say that universities are also discriminatory against Jews because of traditional Christian dominance? I doubt that "tradition" has much of a role to play here.

The study's methodology seems bizarrely incomplete. Simple quantitative analysis of an isolated faculty would miss the driving considerations behind many of the measured (and I use the term lightly) variables in this study. I think that interviews and natural systematic observation with a blinded analysis would be necessary to get to the bottom of some of the "problems" mentioned.

So far, the biggie seems to be the conflict between tenure and kids. You're right, this is a really, really big deal. My mum had to stop her PhD when she had me, and having a kid was not a recognised reason to take a break. She never got back in to her old university and couldn't start up her academic career for a couple of decades (now she's a prof at a Law School.)

I like your idea about delayed tenure, but it should be available to both genders. It should not be automatically incumbent upon women to shoulder all the extra time to have a child, and we can't ignore single fathers.

You'll have to bring more data about the "bitches" thing. Most of the aggressive women I've met in the Arts faculties of three countries have been lauded for that fact. Men are as likely to be denounced as ogres as women are as "bitches." Again, this might be from Arts types being more socially sophisticated, intelligent and refined, and Sci/Eng students being Neaderthals with a math-chip implant. (*joking* don't thow the particle accelerator at me!)

Funny about the skirt thing. Female colleagues, supervisors and staff superiors (I worked in for the university to help pay for that education thing) also made comments about me of the same kind. (It mostly just fed my ego, but then, I'm a dude.) This, I think, comes back to the perceptions and sensitivity side of the problem.

Essentially, I find it hard to take seriously a study that relies so much upon supposition, perception and stereotype. My granny, who was a ground-breaking lawyer in Ontario, always told people to stop being so trepidatious of what other people thought. If you're the best, go out there and be the best. If you want to shut them up, shut them up. Womens' rights are not helped by endless hand-wringing. They're moved forward by smart and ambitious women doing what smart and ambitious women do: winning.

So, if you really care about these issues, get into it and set people straight. Don't fret that it might be hard. The really hard stuff has already been done. All that's left now is to fix any remaining latent prejudices, and that only happens by replacing them. Talking about it won't help. Being an example will.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby MartianInvader » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:47 pm UTC

Chen wrote:I'd say this is a more general statement, rather than just being related to academics. If you just get a job and very shortly after get pregnant, the company will not be happy. Similarly trying to get a job while pregnant is also pretty damn difficult, since the company has very little incentive to hire/train you and then have you leave for 6 months. Around here you can't be fired for getting pregnant, but a lot of companies will put it as a mark against you, if its recently after you've gotten the job.


I guess the point is that in academia, you're pretty much always applying for a job. In industry, you're more likely to get a job at 25 and be working at the same place at 35. In academia, you'll spend 4-6 years getting your PhD, 2-5 years on your first post-doc, and then spend your time bouncing around from temporary position to temporary position (often 1-2 year appointments) until you finally land a tenure-track job. Then, a few years later, you'll be up for tenure, and if you've published a bunch and haven't had the gall to get pregnant, you just might get tenured. At this point you're likely too old to safely have a child. Even when you're tenured (and during the middle of your other jobs), you're applying for funding, grants, fellowships, and the like.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby modularblues » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:07 pm UTC

iop wrote:
KestrelLowing wrote: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?

Tenure at 30? That is very early. Giving birth at 30 dangerous? Not so much in this day and age (yes the dangers do increase as you get older, but it's not that bad).
Also: How can men easily wait until they got tenure? Do the people in the study assume that men always go for the 15 year younger girl?

Women start playing dice regarding pregnancies past the age of 35 or so. Unless she keeps herself in top condition, in which the risks are lower?

I'd say the crucial difference is that women are the ones who are experiencing all the major physical changes for pregnancy & psychological & emotional, whereas for men it's mostly only psychological (and perhaps emotional?) And physical changes are of course a lot more visible to an outsider.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby jakovasaur » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:06 pm UTC

I'd just like to point out that this study was published in 1994. I'm not saying it's completely invalid, and I'm sure there are many of the same problems, but this data was collected almost 20 years ago.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Le1bn1z » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:54 pm UTC

jakovasaur wrote:I'd just like to point out that this study was published in 1994. I'm not saying it's completely invalid, and I'm sure there are many of the same problems, but this data was collected almost 20 years ago.


Good catch.

I was thinking that this all seemed very retro-activist. Now we know why.

In 1994 women were still in the process of dominating every single undergraduate and graduate department. Since then, many will have at least masters, many will have PhDs or be profs.

I'd be shocked if the numbers hadn't radically changed since 1994.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Lucrece » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:08 am UTC

Another point to consider is about the idea that somehow because males may not be primary caretakers, that their lesser chance of career obstacles is a perk.

They might be advancing professionally, but at a cost. Guess who the children will be more attached to and affectionate with? Mom. Who will have the more distant relationship? Dad. He's just the guy that comes home late at night and unbeknown to you pays the bills, which has very little emotional significance to children. It is not dad who will comfort them when they got a fever. Just the guy that drifts in for a very small fraction of the children's everyday life. That takes a toll on the emotional proximity.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby stevey_frac » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:Another point to consider is about the idea that somehow because males may not be primary caretakers, that their lesser chance of career obstacles is a perk.

They might be advancing professionally, but at a cost. Guess who the children will be more attached to and affectionate with? Mom. Who will have the more distant relationship? Dad. He's just the guy that comes home late at night and unbeknown to you pays the bills, which has very little emotional significance to children. It is not dad who will comfort them when they got a fever. Just the guy that drifts in for a very small fraction of the children's everyday life. That takes a toll on the emotional proximity.



This.

Perhaps it's not cool to point out, but men have feelings too. We're actually whole real people! Do you think all men really want to be the person out there doing the bread winning? The person who disappears for weeks at a time on business trips? The person who works the 65 hour work week? It's very emotionally draining.

Also, why is it sexist for a school to look unfondly upon people disappearing for months at a time every two years to have kids? I don't think it has anything to do with the sex of the person, and more to do with his/her absence. If a man wanted to disappear for 6 months to a year, roughly every 2 years for an 2-6 year portion of his life to go visit Africa... do you think the school would care that visiting Africa was a lifetime dream? Or that he needed to visit africa to fill some deep emotional need? I'm guessing not, and he wouldn't have tenure track either. Similarly, if the man took 6 months - Year off when his wife gave birth... that wouldn't go so well, right? So, the system isn't really sexist, as I think it would treat men and women the same.

I just fail to see why simply because you are a woman you should be allowed every indulgence, allowed to fulfill every whim so long as it's something only women can do, in the name of equality. Equality means everyone gets the same deal, not that women get special privileges. Even if said deal is raw.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Turtlewing » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:55 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:This.

Perhaps it's not cool to point out, but men have feelings too. We're actually whole real people! Do you think all men really want to be the person out there doing the bread winning? The person who disappears for weeks at a time on business trips? The person who works the 65 hour work week? It's very emotionally draining.

Also, why is it sexist for a school to look unfondly upon people disappearing for months at a time every two years to have kids? I don't think it has anything to do with the sex of the person, and more to do with his/her absence. If a man wanted to disappear for 6 months to a year, roughly every 2 years for an 2-6 year portion of his life to go visit Africa... do you think the school would care that visiting Africa was a lifetime dream? Or that he needed to visit africa to fill some deep emotional need? I'm guessing not, and he wouldn't have tenure track either. Similarly, if the man took 6 months - Year off when his wife gave birth... that wouldn't go so well, right? So, the system isn't really sexist, as I think it would treat men and women the same.

I just fail to see why simply because you are a woman you should be allowed every indulgence, allowed to fulfill every whim so long as it's something only women can do, in the name of equality. Equality means everyone gets the same deal, not that women get special privileges. Even if said deal is raw.


I agree with your general premis though I draw a different conclusion. As I see it women have the right idea, it just pisses men of because most of us haven't realised that we can use the same concept to our benefit as well. Instead of saying "women have the right to get pregnant and therefore take long leaves of absence to care for their children without it adversly affecting their carrear" why not make it "everyone has the right to take a leave of absence without it adversly affecting their carrear". I'm pretty sure most men would rather be able to take some time to persue interests outside their carrear, we just accept that we can't because that's not how the world works.

So I say that in the interest of equality, either:
women need to adapt to the current system and realise that men don't actually like it either so stop complaining that the system is unfair to women as being able to become pregnant doesn't mean you have the right to expect doing so to have no consequences any more so than being able to go on a walkabout for 6 months means I have the right to expect my job to still be there when I come back,
or
(preferably) society needs to adapt to the idea that people have interests outside their carrear and stop punishing employees for not being selfless drones who live to do their employer's bidding.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Amie » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:56 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:Another point to consider is about the idea that somehow because males may not be primary caretakers, that their lesser chance of career obstacles is a perk.

They might be advancing professionally, but at a cost. Guess who the children will be more attached to and affectionate with? Mom. Who will have the more distant relationship? Dad. He's just the guy that comes home late at night and unbeknown to you pays the bills, which has very little emotional significance to children. It is not dad who will comfort them when they got a fever. Just the guy that drifts in for a very small fraction of the children's everyday life. That takes a toll on the emotional proximity.

OK I am not saying that there won't be cases where the children will be more attached to the mother but I have to say that I am yet to see such a case. Where I grew up, most women were homemakers and the men worked all night and all day. The children were still more attached to their fathers. I don't know how or why. maybe because they got presents from them? Because even if the time that they met their fathers for was little, it was all laughter and merriment. But mothers? They just worked at home all day, cooking, cleaning, washing and all of that. They constantly asked you to study, stop watching the television, clean your rooms and eat your vegetables. It can be irritating at times for the children when parents are trying to discipline or control their children and where do they go when mum's being sour? To dad. Even if dad says "It's alright, she only says that because she loves you", you're grateful because he's always saying nice things and he never asks you to do this and that. Because he's never there. As you grow older you may understand that mum was responsible for a lot of things and that much work can irk her but sometimes, children don't get this. They dwell on hate and it gets worse. I don't know if this setting is absent in your cultures but it is very much there in this country. I'm sure it's not entirely unheard of at other places too. It might not be this severe but it's there.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Vaniver » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:41 pm UTC

Turtlewing wrote:Instead of saying "women have the right to get pregnant and therefore take long leaves of absence to care for their children without it adversly affecting their carrear" why not make it "everyone has the right to take a leave of absence without it adversly affecting their carrear". I'm pretty sure most men would rather be able to take some time to persue interests outside their carrear, we just accept that we can't because that's not how the world works.
Right. That's not how the world works, and it's not society's fault.

Sabbaticals exist, by the way, but in a very narrow context. Generally, a professor will go to another institution and do other work there for a while, or will take time off to write a book, or some other career-developing prospect. A sabbatical to build your family, while personally rewarding, will do nothing positive for your career: you are now six months behind.

And that's for thought professions, where spending a year doing something totally different will probably improve your normal work. If you're a manager or a steelworker, what sort of sabbatical is appropriate for you? Even in Socialist France, people only get five week holidays. A six month sabbatical every other year is an extra 13 weeks of vacation a year. That's a lot.

And, even if you decide you're comfortable living on 75% of your income, there's the logistical problem: you need a replacement. If it takes several months (or, hell, years) to get someone up to speed, routinely replacing you with a temp will be disastrous. For line positions, it might be doable- but for managers? You can't have a temp make decisions or build relationships with employees.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Turtlewing » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:06 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Right. That's not how the world works, and it's not society's fault.

Sabbaticals exist, by the way, but in a very narrow context. Generally, a professor will go to another institution and do other work there for a while, or will take time off to write a book, or some other career-developing prospect. A sabbatical to build your family, while personally rewarding, will do nothing positive for your career: you are now six months behind.

And that's for thought professions, where spending a year doing something totally different will probably improve your normal work. If you're a manager or a steelworker, what sort of sabbatical is appropriate for you? Even in Socialist France, people only get five week holidays. A six month sabbatical every other year is an extra 13 weeks of vacation a year. That's a lot.

And, even if you decide you're comfortable living on 75% of your income, there's the logistical problem: you need a replacement. If it takes several months (or, hell, years) to get someone up to speed, routinely replacing you with a temp will be disastrous. For line positions, it might be doable- but for managers? You can't have a temp make decisions or build relationships with employees.


I disagree it is society's fault. If you start with the premis that you have to allow sabbaticals than you can make it work. The most obvious method is having redundancy in your staff. That way there's never one person who is the only one on staff qualified to handle a given task (this is actually a good idea in general). Another is to plan ahead. If you know Bob hasn't been on sabbatical for a couple years you should make sure you're prepared for him to do so soon. Similarly if you know Alice just got maried, you can expect that she's more likely to go on sabbatical now than she was a year ago.

I will grant you that those methods would be out compeeted in a free market as they're less cost effective than disalowing sabbaticals (that's why they're not commonplace outside of academia and select other fields), however so would safety standards, regular breaks, etc. if they weren't mandated by law.

As for using a sabbatical to do something that's carrear relavent vs not carrear relavent, well you've got me there I suppose raising a family is unlikely to help further most carreres whereas a lot of other uses for the same privlage would have at least some benefit, but there would at least be less presumption that a man wouldn't take a sabbatical for family reason whereas a woman would.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Judicator » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:56 pm UTC

I call bullshit on:

Essentially women are expected to follow a "male model" of academic success involving a total time commitment to scientific work and aggressive competitive relations with peers. There are two contrasting "ideal typical" responses to this situation by women graduate students and faculty members. We have identified two types of responses by women scientists to gender issues: (1) women who follow the male model and expect other women to do so, too; and (2) those who attempt to delineate an alternative model, allowing for a balance between work and private spheres.
Relatively few women are willing to adapt to the male model of academic science, which involves an aggressive, competitive stance and an unconditional devotion to work, at least until tenure. We call these female scientists "instrumentals." Instead, most attempt to define a women's academic model, balancing work and non-work roles, with an emphasis by faculty members on cooperation at the work-site among members of their research group (Kemelgor, 1989). These women are the "balancers."


If you aren't going to work as much because you want work life balance, or because you don't believe that work should take this much time, or whatever, I'm not going to hire you and that's your fault, not mine. There's nothing "male" about working a certain number of hours.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby stevey_frac » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:12 pm UTC

Turtlewing wrote:I disagree it is society's fault. If you start with the premis that you have to allow sabbaticals than you can make it work. The most obvious method is having redundancy in your staff. That way there's never one person who is the only one on staff qualified to handle a given task (this is actually a good idea in general).




This is simply unfeasible in many small companies. I'm the only computer engineer in my firm. There is no one else even remotely capable of filling my shoes. For me to go on sabbatical every two years for 6 months would be an untenable position. It's hard for me to get away for a weeks holidays! As such, a women in my position who wanted to have kids would be a huge burden upon this firm, to the point where the project I was hired for would be untenable.

Also: If everyone is allowed sabbaticals at a frequency similar to procreation, which, based upon my observations is every 2 to 2.5 years... that's completely unpractical. That would equate to not working 25% - 50% of the time.

Unless you are going to make some sort of rule where you only get x sabaticals in your life, or you have to save them up by working at least 5 years for every six month sabatical you want...

It's just not practical or worthwhile. If everyone worked 25% less, standard of living would drop.. and countries that failed to adopt these rules would end up taking up market share.

In short... Women can go ahead and have kids and not work all they want. But expect the repercussions of such to be exactly the same as if A man did much the same thing. Your career is supposed to take up alot of your time. That's why they pay you 10's of thousands of dollars.

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Re: Women in Academia

Postby somebody already took it » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:55 am UTC

stevey_frac wrote:It's just not practical or worthwhile. If everyone worked 25% less, standard of living would drop.. and countries that failed to adopt these rules would end up taking up market share.

If this is an claim you are interested in researching you may find the 35-hour workweek in France to be of interest:
Wikipedia:35-hour working week rationale wrote:The main stated objectives of the law were two-fold:
  • To reduce unemployment and yield a better division of labor, in a context where some people work long hours while some others are unemployed. A 10.2% decrease in the hours extracted from each worker would, theoretically, require firms to hire correspondingly more workers, a remedy for unemployment.
  • To take advantage of improvements in productivity of modern society to give workers some more personal time to enhance quality of life.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Chen » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:35 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:Unless you are going to make some sort of rule where you only get x sabaticals in your life, or you have to save them up by working at least 5 years for every six month sabatical you want...


Our company has a policy similar to this. Not sure on the details but I know you can opt to have part of your pay put aside for X amount of years and then take up to a year off. One of our managers did it recently. Another employee did it a while ago so he could build his house. Seems to work out pretty well here.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Turtlewing » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:33 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:This is simply unfeasible in many small companies. I'm the only computer engineer in my firm. There is no one else even remotely capable of filling my shoes. For me to go on sabbatical every two years for 6 months would be an untenable position. It's hard for me to get away for a weeks holidays! As such, a women in my position who wanted to have kids would be a huge burden upon this firm, to the point where the project I was hired for would be untenable.


First of all do you actually prefer working like that to being able to take time off? Secondly would your company be any better off if you quit, or if you suffered a debilitating injury? It's rather short sighted of them to not plan for the posability that you wouldn't always be available. Certantly there are examples like this all over the place now. My point was that it is possible to solve those problems with a little bit of planning.


stevey_frac wrote:Also: If everyone is allowed sabbaticals at a frequency similar to procreation, which, based upon my observations is every 2 to 2.5 years... that's completely unpractical. That would equate to not working 25% - 50% of the time.

Unless you are going to make some sort of rule where you only get x sabaticals in your life, or you have to save them up by working at least 5 years for every six month sabatical you want...


there's 2 perfectly good solutions to that problem in your own post. Also there's no reason companies have to match their rates to the rate of unrestricted procreation. It's not unreasonable to say you can take one sabbatical every 5 years, and additional sabbaticals when approved by your empoyer up to one every 2 years.

stevey_frac wrote:It's just not practical or worthwhile. If everyone worked 25% less, standard of living would drop.. and countries that failed to adopt these rules would end up taking up market share.


I garantee someone said the same thing about minimum wage, schedueled breaks, health insurance, and handrails... OK handrails was probably more of "do you know what that will cost?".

stevey_frac wrote:In short... Women can go ahead and have kids and not work all they want. But expect the repercussions of such to be exactly the same as if A man did much the same thing. Your career is supposed to take up alot of your time. That's why they pay you 10's of thousands of dollars.

-Steve


Yes, that's one way to look at it but instead of saying "deal with it, this is how it's always been" wouldn't it be better to ask "could we all benefit from rethinking the way things are?" ?
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:40 pm UTC

Wow, I haven't been on this forum for a while, I'm glad that people are talking about it.

It is a slightly outdated study, but I still think that many things are relevant today.

To all the people discussing the unfairness to the male: YES!!! Thank you for bringing that up. I agree, it is completely unfair that a father basically gets no rights to raise their child. Still, I don't think an overlying 'sabbatical' type deal would be the best thing to do.

The whole point of a sabbatical is to take time to learn something different in your field. These typically need to be earned, and typically no one gets a sabbatical until they're far into their working years.

Being able to take a break for whatever you want seems ridiculous to me, but that's probably just me. Still, I think the better solution would be to allow maternity and paternity leave. There is at least one country (Denmark maybe?) that requires that the father takes one third of the leave, the mother a third, and the last third is whatever you want to do. I feel like this would be a better solution, at least for industry.

As for academia, the biggest problem is the biological clock. You really can't get tenure before having children. Women should be allowed to take time off, as should men. It should be accepted that men could take time off for the birth of a child as well.

Judicator wrote:
If you aren't going to work as much because you want work life balance, or because you don't believe that work should take this much time, or whatever, I'm not going to hire you and that's your fault, not mine. There's nothing "male" about working a certain number of hours.


No, there is nothing male about working a certain number of hours, but I think you're slightly what they mean by "male model". There is something male about being aggressive. For example: Think about Hillary Clinton. Everyone pretty much hated her as a person. From a recent conversation I had, I think the main reasons are (A) She's a bitch and (B) She's ugly. Of course some people didn't like her political ideology, but those are the reasons that she just 'rubbed people the wrong way'. If you are a woman and you are aggressive - something necessary to survive in the current world of academia - you're seen as a bitch.

Also, because of the society we live in, women are expect to do it all (be the Super Mom). It is considered selfish if a woman wants to go back to work after having children. Also, men who do minimal parenting are praised, even if it's just changing a diaper, or taking their kids to the dentist. (I know this is not true for all, but think about how things are portrayed on TV - unfortunately, what's seen on TV is often a very real indication of the general populous' beliefs.)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-396521/Less-time-housework--women-more.html This link is an article that indicates that women spend more time on housework than men, even if both are employed full time. I know it's not exactly a scientific article, but there are many like it. This alone indicates that women work more outside of the home, which in a fair society would mean that women should spend less time working at their jobs.

I guess the main question is: Should women change to fit typically male-pattern jobs, or should the jobs change to work with a typical-female pattern? This doesn't mean less work, but it does mean more flexibility, less aggressiveness, and more teamwork. Frankly, I don't see how any of those changes could result in a bad thing. Of course actually changing jobs would be very difficult, but should they be changed?

Sorry if I should like a femi-nazi. I've just recently been on co-op for mechanical engineering, and the amount of sexism apparent in some of the older engineers is quite disgusting, so I'm a bit hyper-sensitive right now.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby iop » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:41 pm UTC

Here's some good news: In this years election to replace some of the council members of the American Society for Cell Biology, I saw this:
Also, in recognition of the fact that women would otherwise outnumber men on Council by two to one, most of the candidates for Council this year are male.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby stevey_frac » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:04 pm UTC

somebody already took it wrote:If this is an claim you are interested in researching you may find the 35-hour workweek in France to be of interest:
Wikipedia:35-hour working week rationale wrote:The main stated objectives of the law were two-fold:
  • To reduce unemployment and yield a better division of labor, in a context where some people work long hours while some others are unemployed. A 10.2% decrease in the hours extracted from each worker would, theoretically, require firms to hire correspondingly more workers, a remedy for unemployment.
  • To take advantage of improvements in productivity of modern society to give workers some more personal time to enhance quality of life.


If you read slightly further down, you'll find this statement: "an increase in recruitment has not occurred". It did not help unemployment at all. Instead, firms are stubbornly refusing to hire people, and are instead 'Increasing production quotas'. If this continues, we will probably end up seeing a 10.2 decrease in total economic output per capita compared to say. Even right now, France has fallen below a lot of the developed world in per capita GDP. Sitting at only $32600 , compared to say, Canada at $38600, the U.S. at $45800

Chen wrote:Our company has a policy similar to this. Not sure on the details but I know you can opt to have part of your pay put aside for X amount of years and then take up to a year off. One of our managers did it recently. Another employee did it a while ago so he could build his house. Seems to work out pretty well here.


This is both interesting and functional, I would support such a program.

Turtlewing wrote:I garantee someone said the same thing about minimum wage, schedueled breaks, health insurance, and handrails... OK handrails was probably more of "do you know what that will cost?".


Those things don't directly equate to taking months off of work at a time, in fact none of them are even close to that. The only thing that's anywhere near close is the 2 weeks of vacation that is mandated. And that's 2 weeks out of 52. Not 12 or 24 weeks! What you are suggesting will necessarily result in a decrease in overall productivity. Simply because people won't be around. Surely you understand that if the world works less... less stuff gets done...and economic activity suffers. And that will have a direct impact on us. Unlike France we normally have low unemployment, around 5%, sometimes less. If you have 25% of your people awol a lot of the time, there simply isn't people you can hire. Not enough workforce to go around. Do you understand the magnitude of what you are suggesting?


Turtlewing wrote:First of all do you actually prefer working like that to being able to take time off? Secondly would your company be any better off if you quit, or if you suffered a debilitating injury? It's rather short sighted of them to not plan for the posability that you wouldn't always be available.


I'd love it if i could take lots of time off. I'd also like a Ferrari and an indoor pool in my country estate please. Wishes != Reality. Secondly, what you are suggesting would make it impossible for a firm to hire just one person. They'd HAVE to hire people in pairs, at least to start. Small projects become impossible since you are looking at at least 200k / year in salaries alone for two good engineers, all their equipment. And you are looking at further inefficiencies since hey... buddy over there is probably gonna go on sabatical any time now, so we need to keep up to speed on absolutely everything he does. It's just not feasible. It's all good if you have a large company, with a large integrated workforce at your disposal, but what if you have 3 or 4 employees? If one leaves for 6 months, and it's during a time when you are traditionally busy... and it's a job where you can't easily place a temp... What do you suggest?
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Zamfir » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:41 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:Secondly, what you are suggesting would make it impossible for a firm to hire just one person. They'd HAVE to hire people in pairs, at least to start. Small projects become impossible since you are looking at at least 200k / year in salaries alone for two good engineers, all their equipment.

[EDITED for unjusified sharpness]
Most work doesn't come naturally in packages of exactly one full time person. How would your company deal if they grew 30%? or had a temporary spike of more than that? They couldn't hire a full extra you either. Or if you fell ill, or in love and moved to Barcelona?

Any robust company needs some way to have backup for critical functions, and to shift workload around in good and bad days. The same robustness that takes care of temporary spikes in demand can take care of pregnancy leave.

Like many people, I work in projects that take a few months, usually several at the same time with different running times. There is no guarantee at all that the amount of work we can find is matched to the amount of people we have. Sometimes we have more work in a particular specialization than we can handle. Then the specialists work harder, and people from other specializations come in to help out. At the moment, there is a bit of a slump in my field, so I help other departments. In particular, I work on some projects where we have no real experts at all, so I am just as good as anyone else. If there is a slump across the fields, we spend some more time on internal R&D.

We're not even a particularly well-run firm, but with less robustness we couldn't survive at all.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby stevey_frac » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:44 pm UTC

Indeed, We have steady work for myself, probably running at about 80% capacity or so. Then i do spend my time working on other projects, and doing a bit of IT work on the side since we are too small to have an IT department.

There is still no way that I could just disappear for 6 months and have it go unnoticed. I'm still the only one at my place of employment capable of doing my job, and there is no way we could afford to have a redundant me.

I'd still say small tech firms would be in similar situations to mine. Say you only have barely enough work to employ a single geophysicist, but he could be gone for half a year at a time.. so we'll have to get two? That would end a lot of marginally profitable endeavors for small businesses really quickly.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Certhas » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:03 pm UTC

I love it how many people INSIST that companies just can't operate under rules that are normal in many countries. :lol:

I like what we have in Germany now, parents get paid time out to care for the kids in the first year, this can be split anyway they want between father and mother but if both take a break they get more time out overall. Also many of the "sound business practices" talked about here are illegal in Germany.

As many have pointed out, having a family in academia is tough for men and women, but I know men and women who have succeeded brilliantly (though in a mathematical discipline like mine you are usually more flexible) in both.

I have also seen administration fullfilling all the worst cliches you can expect. In my experience the problem has been more admins than the researchers/adivsers.

Crucially it heavily depends on your field, your country maybe even your university. The situation is extremely varied. In physics where I studied you have about 15% female at undergrad and just under 10% at faculty level indicating (allowing for the time lag) that your success rates are not dramatically lower. In psychology they started with 90% female and end up with about 10% faculty. So the situation is MUCH worse.

Finally, the "women are succesfull if they behave like men" line. Academia is tough. It can be real tough. I wish it was a bit easier and in some corners it is. But at the same time any field where you produce 4-10 time more brilliant experts (PhD) than you have permanent positions for is going to be competitive. It's not that you must behave like a man because the culture expects it but you must behave like a man because the old cliche of how men behave is aggressively and competitively. If you are not a confident aggressive guy it sucks massively for you as well.

It's not all bad, but much of it is.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Certhas » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:08 pm UTC

I love it how many people INSIST that companies just can't operate under rules that are normal in many countries. :lol:

I like what we have in Germany now, parents get paid time out to care for the kids in the first year, this can be split anyway they want between father and mother but if both take a break they get more time out overall. Also many of the "sound business practices" talked about here are illegal in Germany. Also pregnancy is not a "suddenly you dissappear for 6 months". You and your employer have at least half a year to figure out how to hire e.g. a contractor to take over your job for a while. Either way taking time out to care for your children is a RIGHT, if it cuts into business prospects so be it. There are a lot of business opportunities that have become unprofitable since you can't just buy slaves anymore.

As many have pointed out, having a family in academia is tough for men and women, but I know men and women who have succeeded brilliantly (though in a mathematical discipline like mine you are usually more flexible) in both.

I have also seen administration fullfilling all the worst cliches you can expect. In my experience the problem has been more admins than the researchers/adivsers.

Crucially it heavily depends on your field, your country maybe even your university. The situation is extremely varied. In physics where I studied you have about 15% female at undergrad and just under 10% at faculty level indicating (allowing for the time lag) that your success rates are not dramatically lower. In psychology they started with 90% female and end up with about 10% faculty. So the situation is MUCH worse.

Finally, the "women are succesfull if they behave like men" line. Academia is tough. It can be real tough. I wish it was a bit easier and in some corners it is. But at the same time any field where you produce 4-10 time more brilliant experts (PhD) than you have permanent positions for is going to be competitive. It's not that you must behave like a man because the culture expects it but you must behave like a man because the old cliche of how men behave is aggressively and competitively. If you are not a confident aggressive guy it sucks massively for you as well.

It's not all bad, but much of it is.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby iop » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:35 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:Those things don't directly equate to taking months off of work at a time, in fact none of them are even close to that. The only thing that's anywhere near close is the 2 weeks of vacation that is mandated. And that's 2 weeks out of 52. Not 12 or 24 weeks! What you are suggesting will necessarily result in a decrease in overall productivity. Simply because people won't be around. Surely you understand that if the world works less... less stuff gets done...and economic activity suffers. And that will have a direct impact on us. Unlike France we normally have low unemployment, around 5%, sometimes less. If you have 25% of your people awol a lot of the time, there simply isn't people you can hire. Not enough workforce to go around. Do you understand the magnitude of what you are suggesting?

Interesting that you'd see the US as comparable to France. I'd rather compare it to the most powerful economy in Europe, which is Germany. Germany has similar unemployment as the US, despite giving people more time off and having them work shorter weeks.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:42 pm UTC

Certhas wrote:Finally, the "women are succesfull if they behave like men" line. Academia is tough. It can be real tough. I wish it was a bit easier and in some corners it is. But at the same time any field where you produce 4-10 time more brilliant experts (PhD) than you have permanent positions for is going to be competitive. It's not that you must behave like a man because the culture expects it but you must behave like a man because the old cliche of how men behave is aggressively and competitively. If you are not a confident aggressive guy it sucks massively for you as well.

It's not all bad, but much of it is.


Too true. I could not have put it better myself, as you can tell from my previous posts. It really is the conditioning you've gone through as a child. (Getting into nature vs. nurture here, whoops!) Just wondering, but does testosterone make one more aggressive in that manner, or just more likely to act out physically?
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Vaniver » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:58 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:No, there is nothing male about working a certain number of hours
Well, what about statistical differences in hours worked by sex?

KestrelLowing wrote:I guess the main question is: Should women change to fit typically male-pattern jobs, or should the jobs change to work with a typical-female pattern? This doesn't mean less work, but it does mean more flexibility, less aggressiveness, and more teamwork. Frankly, I don't see how any of those changes could result in a bad thing. Of course actually changing jobs would be very difficult, but should they be changed?
I think it's better to look at it occupation by occupation. Some can be reconfigured, some can't; when you look at broad fields like law, there are lots of different ways to approach them (work at a firm, individual practice, freelancing, working for a specific company, etc.) - and some of those ways are well-suited to a typical-male time expenditure and some are suited to a typical-female time expenditure. It could be that most of the people who are comfortable working at the office for 70 hours a week are male- but that most of the people who are comfortable working from home for 40 hours a week at random times are female.

If that's the case, is that something we should try to fix? Or should we just let people sort themselves to what fits their life?
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Certhas » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:16 pm UTC

iop wrote:
stevey_frac wrote:Those things don't directly equate to taking months off of work at a time, in fact none of them are even close to that. The only thing that's anywhere near close is the 2 weeks of vacation that is mandated. And that's 2 weeks out of 52. Not 12 or 24 weeks! What you are suggesting will necessarily result in a decrease in overall productivity. Simply because people won't be around. Surely you understand that if the world works less... less stuff gets done...and economic activity suffers. And that will have a direct impact on us. Unlike France we normally have low unemployment, around 5%, sometimes less. If you have 25% of your people awol a lot of the time, there simply isn't people you can hire. Not enough workforce to go around. Do you understand the magnitude of what you are suggesting?

Interesting that you'd see the US as comparable to France. I'd rather compare it to the most powerful economy in Europe, which is Germany. Germany has similar unemployment as the US, despite giving people more time off and having them work shorter weeks.


Also according to 2007 numbers and in dollars France has higher productivity than Germany or the US per hour worked. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:OECD_ ... s_2007.svg
(Granted the US is also comparatively cheap, PPP numbers would put the US back up higher)

Understand this: The reason the US GDP is vastly larger per capita than that of Germany or France is because you work more. Not more efficiently or better. And I personally think we're rich enough, and it's much more sensible to have some more free time.

Again, in Germany it is your RIGHT to take out 12 months to look after your child. For both men and women. Though the total can not exceed 14 months. Hasn't wrecked our economy so far but has led to a lot more fathers staying at home to do their share.

What's been thrown around in this thread are merely the same old prejudices of ideologues unwilling to look at the actual data and reality in the world out there. Who take their pet economic theories over empirical data. Given that I wouldn't trust these people with forming opinions about possible worlds we might want to create in terms of work-life balance, different forms of work etc...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/opini ... ugman.html
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Vaniver » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

Certhas wrote:What's been thrown around in this thread are merely the same old prejudices of ideologues unwilling to look at the actual data and reality in the world out there. Who take their pet economic theories over empirical data. Given that I wouldn't trust these people with forming opinions about possible worlds we might want to create in terms of work-life balance, different forms of work etc...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/opini ... ugman.html
A liberal economist calls Europe an economic success, despite its lower GDP per capita values and growth? Le gasp! He mentions but doesn't understand the relevant piece of information that people flock to America more than they do to Europe? Le gasp!

Nobody thinks welfare capitalism is unworkable; they think it's worse than American capitalism. I mean, hell, we've also got the burden of the lion's share of the world's military expenditure dragging down our economy, and we're still growing faster.

When people talk about welfare capitalism like it's communism, they're wrong. But Krugman is mostly knocking down a straw man.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Certhas » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:20 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:When people talk about welfare capitalism like it's communism, they're wrong. But Krugman is mostly knocking down a straw man.


Per capita GDP growth in Europe and the US since the 80s was almost identical. Furthermore if this is a straw man this strawman has shown its face several times in this thread alone and can be found all over the place in the pages of "liberal" media outlets like the NYT.

Again GDP per hour worked is actually very similar.

Again GDP growth per capita since the 80s has been extremely similar.

No the point here was that your measures of success are brutally broken because they have only very indirect relationships to the way people actually live in these economies. If your higher GDP is achieved by everybody working 10 hours more, all else being equal, then that is a trade off that doesn't show up in your favourite number. You'd conclude that one economy is structurally much better which would not be warranted. On the other hand the issue that working ten hours less a week or having more holidays or more rights somehow damages your economy and productivity is shown to be nonsense by the actual numbers.

(Furthermore as you point out the US actually does have its own huge taxpayer funded industry in the military, indirectly subsidizing a lot of other manufacturing. US productivity also includes hilariously inefficient "industries" like healthcare which produce great GDP numbers but with dubious if any benefit to the people. GDP is a broken measure in more ways than one.)

Seriously, reading the US media, including expert opinion when coming from Europe is seriously jarring. It just bears no relationship to anything here on the ground (I have lived in Germany, the UK, France and Poland).

As an aside there are many reasons why people prefer to go to the US than to Europe, and only some of them are economic (language probably being a bigger factor, english is taught universally. German? Not so much.). The US is inherently a multi-cultural multi-ethnic state, whereas European states are not. The attempt, in the absence of any other data supporting your hypothesis, to label population growth in the US as the key _economic_ success is hilarious in its disingenuity.

The US economy does have many structural things going for it, including somewhat better economic mobility. This is the biggest failure of European welfare states.

The US culture (though not neccessarily law) on immigration is lightyears ahead of that of most European countries.

At the top level US research institutes and universities are unrivaled.

But the point as it pertains to this thread was, and this is where Krugamn was directly adressing prejudice very similar to the ones mentioned in this thread: Yes you can afford to allow people to take of time for their family. Yes you can achieve better life work balance in your society. No this does not mean you will stiffle economic activity drastically.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby RockoTDF » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

Everyone keeps throwing around unemployment statistics. However, they are often reported differently between countries. For example, the US does not include people who have never had a job (ie new university grads) in their stats. You have to lose a job to be considered unemployed. Also, generally speaking military personnel and prisoners are not included in the statistics, which skews them. The US has tons of troops (some of whom may otherwise be unemployed) and a lot of prisoners (same). So every time someone starts trying to compare the US to some European country by using unemployment stats, I take it with a bucket of salt because it is an apples and oranges situation.

(This is all as I remember it from my Greek Econ prof at a US college)
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Aaeriele » Wed May 04, 2011 11:59 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Harvard is a hedge fund that runs the most prestigious dating agency in the world, and incidentally employs famous scientists to do research.

afuzzyduck wrote:ITS MEANT TO BE FLUTTERSHY BUT I JUST SEE AAERIELE! CURSE YOU FORA!
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu May 05, 2011 1:56 pm UTC

Wow! Old post!

Aaeriele wrote:I'll just leave this here...

http://aaeriele.tumblr.com/post/5123986889/from


Sadly, I can't read this currently (Blocked).

However, I did want to add something that was mentioned in another thread - about female and male physicists.

In that study, it was shown that female physics PhDs are much more likely to have a spouse that has a PhD. This makes a lot of sense to me. Women seem to marry men who have the same amount or more education than they do. I think that is one of the major issues when having children. Not only are you much more likely to not have a guaranteed maternity leave, the chances of your spouse having any leave is pretty dang slim. Academia is typically very time consuming - especially if you're not tenured so if both parents are in academia, at least one is going to have to take a hit.

Usually that's the woman. Maybe that's because of cultural acceptability, personal desire, or just plain economics.
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Re: Women in Academia

Postby Aaeriele » Sun May 08, 2011 7:41 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Sadly, I can't read this currently (Blocked).

However, I did want to add something that was mentioned in another thread - about female and male physicists.

That's actually what the link was pointing at - a particular slide from that study's results.
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