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Old 12-08-2014, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Florida
4,103 posts, read 5,383,515 times
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After reading all of this I don't see anything different about the argument as it applies to engineering vs most other occupations like Accounting and Law. The overall problem is as a "professional" you are expected to put your work ahead of all else. In the age of a duel earner household this means that nobody has time for anything unless one spouse is a clerk who can punch in and punch out.
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:09 PM
 
6,129 posts, read 6,763,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguydownsouth View Post
After reading all of this I don't see anything different about the argument as it applies to engineering vs most other occupations like Accounting and Law. The overall problem is as a "professional" you are expected to put your work ahead of all else. In the age of a duel earner household this means that nobody has time for anything unless one spouse is a clerk who can punch in and punch out.
I think that's overall true. The difference is in the academic science track, the time where you are expected to put in the most work is during prime childbearing years.

Most get a PhD right after undergrad, and it takes about 5-7 years (22-27/29). This an environment not conducive to dating, marrying, and having a baby. Not very many doctoral programs are, so it's not a situation specific to the sciences. LOL

Then you are expected to do a postdoc for another 4-5 years. This is where it gets dicey. Most postdocs are for very little pay and they essentially run a lab. But research labs in fields like biology, chemistry, etc run almost 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A university professor is typically in charge as that is the person who won the grant that is paying for the lab, and the postdoc is the grunt who running the day to day work. Their salary is usually being paid for by the grant so they are in no position to buck the system, plus in a lot of the sciences you will NOT get hired in anything science related if you have not completed a postdoc. So, from your late 20s to early 30s you have a low paying job where your boss often requires you to practically live in a lab, and the professor in charge is under pressure to keep the ball rolling because they want to publish, plus they want to show results for the money. Women absolutely DO NOT want to ask for weeks or months off to have a baby n(and many professors are hostile to the idea), and they can't exactly call out to stay home with a sick kid, and they can't bring them to a lab... it's just a awkward time to start a family. Did I mention that accepting a postdoc also often requires moving to a new city?

Keep in mind it is not uncommon for people to have to do more than one postdoc before they find a job.

Then say you land a tenure track professor job. Yay! You have to move again and you are not likely to have a lot of choices as to where. Also, now the expectation is that you will spend the next 7 years earning tenure. This will take up most of your 30s. So now you have to land big grants, conduct research (run your own lab), teach classes, serve on committees, present at conferences, advise students and most of all publish. For most tenure track professors the schedule is busy but you can arrange your own time so it is manageable. BUT, if you have a 24 hour/7 day type lab situation, your schedule is not as flexible and once again, being away from your lab for weeks or months is problematic. If you have a supportive spouse this is doable, or if you are at a teaching college that does not have high research/publishing demands this can work. But other than that...

Once you have earned tenure you can ease back a little and enjoy the flexible professorial life (if you don't want to go for full professorship that is). But that's not going to be until you are, at the earliest, in your late 30s. Starting a family is different for a male, say, biochemistry professor because they usually are not going to have as hard a time finding a woman who is willing to follow them around the country and take charge of the childrearing, plus they don't have to physically bear the children. But women are MUCH less likely to find a man who will do the same (aside from the giving birth that is LOL).

So what women have to do is decide:

1. I will not have children until I've made tenure.
2. I will have kids and my partner/nanny will be the primary caretaker during their first 5-10 years of life
3. I will have kids but I will not be as productive as my colleagues because I will stay involved with my kids, so I may not ever get promoted.
4. I will not have kids.

The situation tends to whittle down an already small pool of women interested in the sciences as a career, and steers them away from competing at the top levels of the field.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Now I realize the ultimate put-down to one's argument is "that's anecdotal". But it is anecdotes from two well-respected science schools.
That wasn't a "put down", that was me trying to politely indicate that my opinion was not an attempt to personally attack your point of view. You seemed mad that I disagreed. You still do frankly LOL.

It's not that serious. We have both spent time at more than one research 1 university, both have known science professors, and we have 2 different experiences. And the world will keep turning. No biggie!

Last edited by Tinawina; 12-08-2014 at 01:35 PM..
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:47 PM
 
4,534 posts, read 4,897,360 times
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Quite simply put---you can not have everything. Either it's your career or children. You must choose. In case you haven't noticed, there is a massive crisis going on right now with funding in academia, even profs. in top notch universities like Harvard and MIT are struggling to keep the lights on for the lab. It's not uncommon to see professors get in a 7 am in the morning and leave 10 pm at night for weeks on end as grant deadlines come due. If you have children you can forget it.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:30 PM
 
48,505 posts, read 96,393,137 times
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My guess is that like auto mechanics more men are interested it.
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Old 12-08-2014, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,316 posts, read 120,022,892 times
Reputation: 35920
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinawina View Post
I think that's overall true. The difference is in the academic science track, the time where you are expected to put in the most work is during prime childbearing years.

Most get a PhD right after undergrad, and it takes about 5-7 years (22-27/29). This an environment not conducive to dating, marrying, and having a baby. Not very many doctoral programs are, so it's not a situation specific to the sciences. LOL

Then you are expected to do a postdoc for another 4-5 years. This is where it gets dicey. Most postdocs are for very little pay and they essentially run a lab. But research labs in fields like biology, chemistry, etc run almost 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A university professor is typically in charge as that is the person who won the grant that is paying for the lab, and the postdoc is the grunt who running the day to day work. Their salary is usually being paid for by the grant so they are in no position to buck the system, plus in a lot of the sciences you will NOT get hired in anything science related if you have not completed a postdoc. So, from your late 20s to early 30s you have a low paying job where your boss often requires you to practically live in a lab, and the professor in charge is under pressure to keep the ball rolling because they want to publish, plus they want to show results for the money. Women absolutely DO NOT want to ask for weeks or months off to have a baby n(and many professors are hostile to the idea), and they can't exactly call out to stay home with a sick kid, and they can't bring them to a lab... it's just a awkward time to start a family. Did I mention that accepting a postdoc also often requires moving to a new city?

Keep in mind it is not uncommon for people to have to do more than one postdoc before they find a job.

Then say you land a tenure track professor job. Yay! You have to move again and you are not likely to have a lot of choices as to where. Also, now the expectation is that you will spend the next 7 years earning tenure. This will take up most of your 30s. So now you have to land big grants, conduct research (run your own lab), teach classes, serve on committees, present at conferences, advise students and most of all publish. For most tenure track professors the schedule is busy but you can arrange your own time so it is manageable. BUT, if you have a 24 hour/7 day type lab situation, your schedule is not as flexible and once again, being away from your lab for weeks or months is problematic. If you have a supportive spouse this is doable, or if you are at a teaching college that does not have high research/publishing demands this can work. But other than that...

Once you have earned tenure you can ease back a little and enjoy the flexible professorial life (if you don't want to go for full professorship that is). But that's not going to be until you are, at the earliest, in your late 30s. Starting a family is different for a male, say, biochemistry professor because they usually are not going to have as hard a time finding a woman who is willing to follow them around the country and take charge of the childrearing, plus they don't have to physically bear the children. But women are MUCH less likely to find a man who will do the same (aside from the giving birth that is LOL).

So what women have to do is decide:

1. I will not have children until I've made tenure.
2. I will have kids and my partner/nanny will be the primary caretaker during their first 5-10 years of life
3. I will have kids but I will not be as productive as my colleagues because I will stay involved with my kids, so I may not ever get promoted.
4. I will not have kids.

The situation tends to whittle down an already small pool of women interested in the sciences as a career, and steers them away from competing at the top levels of the field.



That wasn't a "put down", that was me trying to politely indicate that my opinion was not an attempt to personally attack your point of view. You seemed mad that I disagreed. You still do frankly LOL.

It's not that serious. We have both spent time at more than one research 1 university, both have known science professors, and we have 2 different experiences. And the world will keep turning. No biggie!
OK, first things first, peace!

I do have to disagree about the bold. Most PhD students I have known have dated and either married or become involved in a serious relationship during that time. It's the time of life when people do those things. I met DH when he was in grad school; most of his group of physics students was married, some had kids. DH was near the end of his program; he was an RA. He seemed to be able to organize his time so that he had time to date. He also had several relationships before me (!). I recall very few times that he was totally unavailable, especially on the weekends, although yes, he did have to go to the lab sometimes on the W/E. That wasn't something that was foreign to me, having worked in hospitals myself. At the time, in the early 80s, the students were all male, at least in his group. And yes, I do agree that it's easier in this society for the male students to have kids than the females. Males have this expectation that their women will follow them to Timbuktu or Tucumcari if necessary, but God forbid the woman expect the same. I know some couples who are going through that right now.

I've also known women who think having a baby will just be one more thing to incorporate into their lives. They think they'll have this kid and just continue on in basically the same lifestyle. You don't learn about daycare woes, sick kids, sleepless nights and the like until you actually go through it. I've had co-workers who were definitely going to come back to work and pick up right where they left off. . . until they had the baby.

My beef with this study is more about what the authors said about the fathers in the study. My own DH said it seemed no harder for these university guys than for anyone else to be involved in their kids' activities and the like. And I think that's a good take-home point. Sometimes, one gets so wrapped up in their own problems that they don't see that others out there in parallel universes have similar issues.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:21 PM
 
Location: moved
13,549 posts, read 9,541,954 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinawina View Post
The difference is in the academic science track, the time where you are expected to put in the most work is during prime childbearing years....
Tina, this is a brilliant and incredibly insightful analysis! Clearly you're no stranger to the system, and have observed its variegated nature. Academia in recent decades has become considerably more stressful, less prestigious and less remunerative than it traditionally has been, or as the general public regards it as being.

Side note: why do we have so many foreign professors in American universities? Is it because American PhDs and post-docs are less qualified? Is it because "the system" ruthlessly replaces "natives" with H1-B visa-holders? Is it because Americans are lazy and don't wish to pursue difficult fields like physics or engineering? No, no and no. It's because US citizens with STEM PhDs have better options than academia, whereas foreign PhD students have essentially two choices: score a professorship, or they're back on the proverbial boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
... At the time, in the early 80s, the students were all male, at least in his group. ...
And this is the crucial difference! 30+ years ago, graduate school was actually a fairly prestigious endeavor. It was never lavishly remunerative, but graduate students were comparatively rare, and opportunities were more forthcoming. It was fairly common for freshly-minted PhDs to land tenure-track positions without an interregnum as post-doc, and it was fairly common for senior faculty to mentor junior faculty. Tenure was easier to obtain. The paper-count and grant-count was less brutal. The world was less competitive. And from the male viewpoint, well, to put it bluntly, the male PhD student was a hotter commodity. It was easier for him to attract a mate, and said mate was more amenable to "traditional" female roles. Family formation was more common in the late-20s.

Let me add: I welcome the greater opportunities for women in academia. In fact I bemoan the fact that opportunities for women in STEM academia have evolved so slowly, compared to fields such as business or law. This, after all, is the whole point of the article quoted in this thread. But to Katiana's point, today's male PhD candidate/postdoc/assistant-professor has a more difficult time than his father had, in juggling his professional life and his social life. In that regard, there is a perverse equality between men and women - an equality of more stress and less reward.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,316 posts, read 120,022,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Tina, this is a brilliant and incredibly insightful analysis! Clearly you're no stranger to the system, and have observed its variegated nature. Academia in recent decades has become considerably more stressful, less prestigious and less remunerative than it traditionally has been, or as the general public regards it as being.

Side note: why do we have so many foreign professors in American universities? Is it because American PhDs and post-docs are less qualified? Is it because "the system" ruthlessly replaces "natives" with H1-B visa-holders? Is it because Americans are lazy and don't wish to pursue difficult fields like physics or engineering? No, no and no. It's because US citizens with STEM PhDs have better options than academia, whereas foreign PhD students have essentially two choices: score a professorship, or they're back on the proverbial boat.



And this is the crucial difference! 30+ years ago, graduate school was actually a fairly prestigious endeavor. It was never lavishly remunerative, but graduate students west comparatively rare, and opportunities were more forthcoming. It was fairly common for freshly-minted PhDs to land tenure-track positions without an interregnum as post-doc, and it was fairly common for senior faculty to mentor junior faculty. Tenure was easier to obtain. The paper-count and grant-count was less brutal. The world was less competitive. And from the male viewpoint, well, to put it bluntly, the male PhD student was a hotter commodity. It was easier for him to attract a mate, and said mate was more amenable to "traditional" female roles. Family formation was more common in the late-20s.

Let me add: I welcome the greater opportunities for women in academia. In fact I bemoan the fact that opportunities for women in STEM academia have evolved so slowly, compared to fields such as business or law. This, after all, is the whole point of the article quoted in this thread. But to Katiana's point, today's male PhD candidate/postdoc/assistant-professor has a more difficult time than his father had, in juggling his professional life and his social life. In that regard, there is a perverse equality between men and women - an equality of more stress and less reward.
I disagree. I was there. I didn't think you were. That's not how it was. "Publish or Perish" was extant long before 1980. You didn't get offered any tenure-track position straight out of grad school in 1980. At least, no one I know was. "Mates" were usually educated themselves, many with advanced degrees themselves, and wanted careers as well.
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Old 12-09-2014, 07:07 AM
 
13,247 posts, read 33,310,468 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I disagree. I was there. I didn't think you were. That's not how it was. "Publish or Perish" was extant long before 1980. You didn't get offered any tenure-track position straight out of grad school in 1980. At least, no one I know was. "Mates" were usually educated themselves, many with advanced degrees themselves, and wanted careers as well.
I have to sort of agree with this. The 1970's were quite different than the 1950's. Most of us were coming of age with the idea that we could have it all - both spouses would work.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Clovis Strong, NM
3,376 posts, read 6,064,519 times
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I'm still baffled by this whole thing due to most women I run into being leaps and bounds ahead of me in any science or math discipline.
But then again, I'm of that group that gets dumped on by both sexes due to the whole, "low self esteem" issue.

But at the same time, I feel I may have given some women a fire of inspiration because of that.
I mean for some people, hearing someone rant about their misfortunes and weaknesses for any given amount of time will make them think "I'm better than this sack-of-xxt crybaby".
So keep pressing on and knock those strongboys out of their hot-seats.

The rest of us are too chicken to even push open the door.
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