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moving around/climate for women

Rachelle J. Bienstock rachelle at picard.niehs.nih.gov
Thu Jun 13 08:57:36 EST 1996


On this discussion of moving around for positions...it is fairly typical today
in almost every field and in both academia and industry that one may need to 
move around in their career, so the situtation for postdocs in science is no
different than any other position.  It's just easier for teachers, accountants,
doctors, lawyers and nurses because they can find positions in almost any
city or rural town and not every place needs a structural biochemist whose
specialty is protein structure prediction and multidimensional NMR....

The article in the June 10th issue of Chemical and Engineering News which
Karen Wheless mentioned pointed out several examples and creative ways in
which women balanced careers and families.  They also gave examples
of two women, one being Laura Lerner, who had a tenured faculty position
at The University of Wisconsin in Madison and gave it up because her husband
could not find a position there. Now, because she is a top person in her field,
she was able to find another fulfilling postion, but in industry (Genentech)...

These issues of moving around are very difficult when both husbands and wives
have careers and are even more difficult when there are small children involved. 
Sometimes people are lucky, and they can both find good jobs in the same city;
Sometimes they decide to live apart for awhile, or sometimes it breaks up a
marriage; Sometimes one person must severely compromise the type of  position
they take; Sometimes having children is postponed or put off indefinitely...

There are no easy answers to these questions and each person must find a solution
based on their particular situation.  The article in C & E news gave several
examples of couples in the same field sharing faculty positions- a very 
creative solution;  the article also pointed out that women now represent
something like 30-40% of the PhDs in chemistry, but that the number of women
applicants for faculty positions at major universities has not gone up in
comparison to the increase in women PhDs...the major reason the article said,
was the perception by women that family and a career at a top major research
university do not mix...

At least now there is recognition of the problem, and at least universities want
to attract women, so there is movement in the right direction...



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