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postdoc disparity

Megan Brown mbrown at fred
Wed Aug 13 19:15:16 EST 1997

aloisia schmid (a-schmi at uiuc.edu) wrote:
:      And while I am on this tangent, let me ask this.  In biology, how
: many single men are there after graduate school levels?  Hardly any!  and
: how many women are single at the same level?  Tons.  I believe that one of
: the reasons money gets to be an issue at this stage is that men can afford
: to not care so much because they are married to women who are
: supplementing the income and who are also doing most of the home-stuff. 
: Including the kids.  Whereas the women are having to struggle along on one
: salary that is woefully inadequate.  And the women whoa re married to men
: with good salaries clearly do not have the same financial concerns.  

Actually, I have observed just the opposite where I work. It seems that
more women postdocs are married than male postdocs. As a small but
representative sample of how it is at my institution, consider the lab I 
work in: In the last 4 years, there have been 5 women postdocs to pass
through. Four of five were married with children. One was single. Of the 
men, four of four were single.

I think this phenomenon relates to women in
general getting married at an earlier age than men, probably due to their
biological clock/more limited childbearing years. The "problem" careerwise
for women tending to marry earlier than men is that more men are able to
devote more resources (e.g. time) to their research and getting ahead than
those people (both men and women) who are already married and have kids.
Also, the single person can be more geographically flexible (a real
necessity when searching for an academic job) in his/her job search, not
having to concern him or herself with whether a spouse will be able to
also find a job in the same town.



Megan Brown
mbrown at fred.fhcrc.org
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, Washington

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