What is this, folks? The week of anti-causality articles? Yet another completely idiotic bit of fluff has been published in Inside Higher Ed whose contributors seem to be on a warpath against formal logic. The article claims that marriage somehow slows down the progress of female academics’ careers:
Marriage appears to speed up the advancement of male historians but slow down that of female historians, according to new data from the American Historical Association. . . One of the issues debated in many disciplines has been the slow path of promotion from associate to full professor for women as compared to men. The new data from the AHA suggest that marriage has a different impact on men and women in the history profession.
Once you read the entire article, however, you realize that this is yet another case of “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy. The article fails to list any ways in which getting married could conceivably hamper a female academic’s career as opposed to, say, living together without formalizing the union, having a boyfriend or girlfriend, or being in a long-distance relationship. What the article does instead is enumerating the ways in which child-birth slows down a female academic’s career progress. Unless the authors of this strange article are living in the XVIIIth century, I’m sure they have noticed by now that marriage and child-birth are very different concepts that might or might not overlap.
Of course, after the article’s authors engage in this scandal-mongering and sensationalist bit of data manipulation, I wouldn’t trust them to tell me what the weather is today. In my opinion, this stupid article is part of the push to keep women down by telling us lies about the supposed sacrifices we need to make at every turn of the way. Marriage itself is in no way detrimental to female profs’ careers. But such alarmist, dishonest articles are in that they contribute to the perception that being a female scholar is an insurmountably hard task that should probably not even be attempted.
To offer a bit of anecdotal evidence, I got married in my first year on the tenure track. Obviously, I didn’t get married to improve my career but marriage did have that effect. I now have somebody to share the burden of paying bills and doing the household chores, I feel happy and energized, my personal life is blissful, and that makes it easier to concentrate on work. At the same time, I’m sure that people who live together without formalizing their relationship can have the exact same experiences.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find this anti-women piece of idiocy published in the trashy NY Times, but to see it appear in an academic publication really rankles. Haven’t we had enough of the stupid and sensationalist garbage telling us lies about the horrible price women are supposed to pay for having personal lives, for getting married and having children? Such articles are nothing but projections of the diseased minds of their authors who want to see women punished for having lives.