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Sex discrimination ruling upheld by federal appeals court

Sheryl White slw at med.uvm.edu
Thu Jul 21 09:17:18 EST 1994

Mary Polacco (maryp at TEOSINTE.AGRON.MISSOURI.EDU) wrote:

: July 11, 1994 the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (St Louis, MO) upheld
: the jury verdict of June 1993, that the University of Missouri was
: guilty of sex discrimination in the case captioned Mary L. Polacco v
: The Curators of the University of Missouri. While there was a
(Much detail deleted for the sake of bandwidth)

CONGRATULATIONS!!!  I can imagine how grueling and hellish this whole 
episode must have been, you deserve a round of applause (and more) for 
pursuing this.  I certainly hope the award was enough to make this 
institution think twice before repeating this sort of thing.  Sadly, I 
have seen exactly your situation AT LEAST 3 times...and have had serious 
thoughts about discontinuing my scientific career because of it.  I can't 
tell you how discouraging it is to see bright and capable women 
scientists repeatedly underpaid (we're not talking 10% less, but 
sometimes 50% less than their male counterparts), ignored for promotion, 
and generally treated like so much disposable intelligence.  I get SO 
angry everytime I look and see this happening around me...I only wish 
that other people would stand up for themselves and put a stop to this as 
you have tried, then maybe the universities would change their policies 
and do what is fair.  I doubt that will happen, however, without forcing 
them to do so through legal means.  I also am sick of my colleague's 
assumptions that women belong in the ranks of the non-tenured, ESPECIALLY 
if they commit the sin of being married.  I was recently married and 
discerned a palpable change in the attitude of my peers, who assumed the 
following (revealed through tactless questions): 1) I was no longer a 
real career scientist, and might "retire" from work (I'm 31, by the 
way!), 2) I would want to start a family, and would therefore not be 
interested in a real tenure track job and would not be pushing as hard at 
my work, and 3) That the amount that I am paid (and whether I should be 
paid at all) was now unimportant because my husband works.  I wonder at 
this time why I didn't haul off and beat these neanderthal-thinking clods 
over the head with a graduated cylinder, it's probably the only thing 
they would understand.  I wonder, is the rest of the world so backwards?  
I console myself with the thought that I've just run into some sort of 
time-warp and that this doesn't happen so much elsewheres.
  Anyways, thanks for your post...I'm copying it and pinning it up on my 
door, maybe it will provoke some thought.

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