Friday, August 19, 2005

More Women in Science

This week's policy forum in Science is on women in science and it presents 4 reasons for the lack of women science faculty members, even as compared to the number of women doctoral students. Here are their 4 reasons:
  1. the pipeline: women Ph.D.s leave academia. why? see 2-4
  2. climate: "Many women attribute their exit from the academy to hostility from colleagues and a chilly campus climate. This atmosphere is invisible to many men."
  3. unconscious bias: women need far more publications to be considered as competent as men during the hiring processes and during the promotion and tenure process
  4. Balancing family and work: "The responsibilities for family caretaking ... continue to fall disproportionately on women"
None of this is news to us women in science. But attention like this in a leading scientific journal will hopefully be paid some heed by male faculty and administrators.

Despite all the negative press about women and science, I feel very fortunate to be getting my PhD in 2005 rather than in 1970. When my mother got her job, she was the only female science faculty member, and they decided to make her office in the education department rather than the biology department. Theoretically, this was so she would be more comfortable. What's more likely is that her male colleagues weren't ready for a woman peer.

We've come a long way since then, but we have a long way to go, too.

3 comments:

Writer Chica said...

How did it change for your mom over the years?

Why is that atmosphere invisible to men? Because they are creating it? Because it isn't directed toward them? Because they aren't as sensitive to their surroundings?

Volcano girl said...

Male scientists don't see the problem. A big part of it is that they aren't sensitive to what's going on around them. My commentary might seem like man bashing, but this is something that has frustrated me for awhile. Here's my 2 cents:

1 cent. Men are chummy with other men. They bond talking about football over beers. They chuckle about who knows what that women just don't understand. Women are left out unintentionally.

2 cent. Men are set in their ways and don't think critically about their actions. Men in science think they are liberal - they vote democratic or donate to the local youth shelter. But when women are discriminated against (i.e. passed up for a job for a chummier, perhaps less qualified man), men don't see the issue.

Volcano girl said...

Male scientists don't see the problem. A big part of it is that they aren't sensitive to what's going on around them. My commentary might seem like man bashing, but this is something that has frustrated me for awhile. Here's my 2 cents:

1 cent. Men are chummy with other men. They bond talking about football over beers. They chuckle about who knows what that women just don't understand. Women are left out unintentionally.

2 cent. Men are set in their ways and don't think critically about their actions. Men in science think they are liberal - they vote democratic or donate to the local youth shelter. But when women are discriminated against (i.e. passed up for a job for a chummier, perhaps less qualified man), men don't see the issue.