Sunday, March 28, 2010

Women Can Not be Held Back -- Interesting Take on the AAUW Report

I guess that it is all in one's perspective and that is precisely one of the big issues and problems. Jeff Jacoby in today's Boston Globe, in an OpEd piece, comments on the AAUW report, "Why So Few?" which identified “striking disparity’’ between the numbers of men and women in the so-called STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math. His take on this research study appears under the headlines of his article, Good News on Women in Science, which is completely contrary to recent articles in the media that he cites: “Bias Called Persistent Hurdle for Women in Sciences,’’ from The New York Times and the AOL News in the “Report: Stereotypes, Bias Hurt Women in Math and Science,’’ in which I am quoted.

Jacoby notes that: In the workforce women are now highly visible in many scientific fields. My take on this, even if there is only one of us, and, especially if we are in the minority, females tend to stick out like sore thumbs, so, obviously, we will be highly visible, even if there is only one of us! I recall giving a plenary lecture in Switzerland, yes, in the new millennium to an auditorium filled with only males. I recall when "she" would identify me since I was one of the very few women in my field. Even today, I am the only female in my subject area in my department and the level of service that I do as a named chaired professor is tiers above that done by any male but it isn't recognized nor noticed. So I get up around 3AM in the morning so that I can do my research before the official "work day" begins.

Jacoby writes: but where women do have an interest, they cannot be held back. Entering a profession does not mean that one will necessarily succeed in it and the need to prove oneself constantly never stops. Luckily, loving the research that one does plus having great students makes up, in part, for some of the extreme workload.

Here is the link to my earlier post on this blog on this subject.