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Abused junior scientists?

Linnea Ista lkista at unm.edu
Sat Jul 10 13:53:44 EST 1999

I think it might be the most OBVIOUS answer and one which most people can
watch with sympathy. 

I am sure, however, that there were post docs and grad students around you
that dealt with the "little" things that built up. Lack of credibility
because you have two X chromosomes (aka as "proving you can handle the
job or "Jane's having problems with her experiments because she is not
working hard enough/not capable of solving the problem/inept" while "Joe 
is having problems with his experiment because it is a really hard thing 
he is trying to do), people assuming that since you are female, you MUST
be the tech or receptionist (my personal favorite), utter crap from men
who come from cultures that value women even less than we do here.

How about one from my grad school days? If I took a dance class (which I
paid for myself and took up two and a half hours of my week), it showed a
lack of commitment to my science, while the guys could go out and play
basketball for 1 1/2 hours a day with no comment? 

Or looking for a job and people assuming that since you ARE female you
WILL be reproducing at some point, and, therefore will be less "reliable"
than your male peers. Or the state my friend's committe made two weeks
after her wedding: "Well, I hope that this means that you will not be
losing time because you have a family now". None of the men heard this and
in fact were heralded for the "extra work and commitment" it takes to be a
grad student and have a family. Or having different levels of "allowed
radiation" exposure for women because they "might" some day become
pregnant, even if rapidly dividing sperm are much more prone to radiation

Or the friend of mine who dated a grad student from the same department we
were in, only to have him tell her that he found going out with her was
relaxing because he didn't have to be around "hard core" scientists all
day. Or the men who let you know at every turn that you don't belong and
use subtle and not so subtle means of proving it?

I will bet this sort of crap was going on all around you, but the most
OBVIOUS thing was pregnancy discrimination.

If that were the MAIN source of our problems, we would not have nearly as
many problems. Most of us are pregnant at MOST 3 times in our lives. We
are women everyday.


On Wed, 7 Jul 1999, Davenport, John wrote:

> I hardly consider maternity issues to be the only issues affecting women
> scientists, and by no means intended to imply that.  However they are
> certainly important, and I have watched friends lose post-docs because they
> became pregnant.  I consider that completely wrong.  I merely intended that
> as one example to get people thinking.
> Nevertheless, if there are specific issues that you think are important, let
> me know.
> John  
> > ----------
> > From: 	Linnea Ista[SMTP:lkista at unm.edu]
> > Sent: 	Wednesday, July 07, 1999 6:58 PM
> > To: 	Davenport, John
> > Cc: 	womenbio at net.bio.net
> > Subject: 	Re: Abused junior scientists?
> > 
> > 
> >   We are especially interested in hearing of the challenges
> > > to female (i.e. maternity issues) and/or foreign scientists.
> > Do you mean like people assuming that the only issues affecting WOMEN
> > scientists are maternity issues? Give me a break.
> > 
> > Linnea
> > 

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