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scientific sexism

January 20, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/science/20angier.html?_r=1&8dpc

The take-home message, Dr. Mason said in a telephone interview, is, “Men can have it all, but women can’t.”
Want to know why?  This is no mystery.  Wives of PhD’s are willing to be moms.  We joke about the profs that head home for dinner because the misses says they have to, but it’s actually quite common that the wife is home cooking dinner for a husband who’s heading back to work afterwards.  Women still grow up with it being a possibility that they will sacrifice their careers for their husbands.  Men don’t.  I have a friend who once said he wouldn’t even respect a man who was a stay at home dad, even though he’d respect a stay at home mom.  We are taught that we may have to sacrifice, and that we should understand his lack of willingness to do so.

Also, my theory as to why physics fails at women: they just haven’t reached critical mass yet.  At U of M there still exist professors who won’t take female graduate students (puke puke), and that sort of culture simply isn’t accepted when you have a critical mass of women.  Now that there are many women-friendly disciplines (pchem anyone?) in related fields to those like physics and computer science which are so female-scared, I’d venture to guess that it’s even harder to read critical mass because girls have options about where to go.  Why pick a field where you’re going to be the oddity your whole life, when there’s a related subject where you can fit in?  Oh, and I cannot believe that people actually still say girls can’t do serious math.  More people need to meet Melinda… I’d love to meet the men who suggest this and challenge them to a math test.
Anyway, physics, weigh in on this.  I’m curious.  Maybe I should pass it around to females in physics, since I don’t think I have many of those in my regular readers.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 20, 2009 7:11 pm

    Happy Day!
    I forgot to say this earlier, but Happy Inauguration Day! Hooray for President Obama! (They had it on a TV outside my classroom earlier, and although I had to be here in lecture, I could hear them singing “Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye,” presumably when Bush appeared on screen. There was also much cheering and general rejoicing.)

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