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professionalism, women, and Oprah!

S Forsburg forsburg at salk.edu
Tue Dec 17 06:04:00 EST 1996

Jeanhee Chung wrote:
> Is the proportion of woman scientists _seeking_
> advancement out of whack?      

Excellent discussion.  I focus on this one question of Jeanhee's 
because I think it  includes many of the questions.  It all
comes down to a matter of choices, and what the available options
are.  If many women make these decisions based on different values
than many men (relative rank of the family, the outside life, the
coffee cake over the donuts) then indeed the proportion seeking
advancement in the "usual paths" will be lower.  A corollary to
this is, if you don't get into the system, you can't change it.
This is not to criticize making other choices, far from it! People
have to decide for themselves what is best for them, or most important
them.  Just to point out that things are seldom straightforward
 and even a highly personal decision can have a substantial ripple
effect on the community.

The conflict between careers and couples is a major one in our society. 
an observation that may be enlighting:  look around the junior faculty
or equivalent at your institution.  How many (regardless of gender)
are married?  How many of these are two career couples?  And how 
many are single or divorced?  The conflict between family/personal
life and career is one that transcends gender and profession.  Try
billing 12 hours a day as a lawyer and see how much free time you
get to spend with your family.  IMHO the only one who "has it all"
is (usually) a man in a traditional relationship with 
a stay-at-home spouse.

It all comes down to choices.  The important thing is to be informed
before you make them so you reasonably consider all your options,
and their ramifications.

-- susan

S L Forsburg          forsburg at salk.edu
The Salk Institute    http://flosun.salk.edu/~forsburg
La Jolla, CA

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