Slate Silliness

Slate continues its assault on academia. I wonder who is paying.

The most important finding is that family formation negatively affects women’s, but not men’s, academic careers. For men, having children is a career advantage; for women, it is a career killer.

I’m due to give birth in under 3 months and I promise to inundate everybody with stories of how my career becomes blighted as a result. Of course, those stories will never happen, but I will do my utmost to squeeze every possible drop of self-victimization out of everything that takes place in my life from now on.

No, I don’t think I will because the woman I admire the most professionally has 4 kids and she raised two of them as a single mother.

15 thoughts on “Slate Silliness

  1. A personal life is not a general tendency. Family formation generally affects men and women and women are generally more affected than men because they generally do more domestic tasks than men. This generally tendency will not prevent you to be not affected by your own family formation, though.

    “For men, having children is a career advantage”

    I wonder how they obtain this nonsense.

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    1. “Family formation generally affects men and women and women are generally more affected than men because they generally do more domestic tasks than men.”

      – If people prefer to do the dishes to doing research, that’s their right. Of course, if anybody is in need to advice on how to achieve an equitable distribution of domestic chores, I’m here to offer advice. 🙂

      “I wonder how they obtain this nonsense.”

      – I wonder, too.

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    2. ““For men, having children is a career advantage”

      I wonder how they obtain this nonsense.”

      If they’re married to the self-martyring ladies Slate is describing, they probably don’t have to lift a finger around the house and can concentrate on research only.

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  2. Having kids is a career killer for a woman if she decides to stay home with the kids for a few years, or if the father puts little to no effort in raising the kids, so she has to handle everything. Ideally, a woman would figure out if the man she’s with is the patriarchal type before she has a child with him – the way household chores end up being split is a good way of gauging what his contribution in child rearing will be.

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    1. “Ideally, a woman would figure out if the man she’s with is the patriarchal type before she has a child with him – the way household chores end up being split is a good way of gauging what his contribution in child rearing will be.”

      – Exactly. I have no idea why an educated, intelligent woman would end up living with somebody who refuses to clean his own space and treats her like a maid.

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      1. Because she still thinks her value as a woman comes from her capacity to serve others, so when the guy starts treating her like a maid she starts acting like one and feeling all fuzzy and warm inside because of her own self-sacrifice.

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  3. And oh, brother, this is a great article. Women in academia feel like they have to choose between children and career, they choose children, and the results show that for women, children and a career in academia aren’t compatible.

    “Still, when a female faculty member must leave a meeting early to pick up a toddler at child care or to pump breast milk for an infant, “leaning in” will not be enough to keep her on the same career track as a man. ”

    Well why isn’t the father the one picking the kid up? Or a relative, or a friend if both parents have meetings at the same time. And just put the baby on formula if the milking schedule is interfering with your job – the maybe-slightly-worse nutrition will have less of a negative effect than a mother that feels she sacrificed her career for the child.

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    1. ““Still, when a female faculty member must leave a meeting early to pick up a toddler at child care or to pump breast milk for an infant, “leaning in” will not be enough to keep her on the same career track as a man. ””

      – One of my colleague has 2 children she is bringing up mostly alone. She is also the most productive research scholar at the department and a rising start in the field. Another colleague has 3 kids, and 2 of them are infants (born within less than a year of each other.) She is the most productive person we have in teaching, supervision, and service. I also have a male colleague with 3 kids, and I can’t say this has provided a huge boost to his career as opposed to the female colleagues with the same or greater number of children.

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    1. We are talking about how to interpret evidence here. And that is up to everybody. If people choose to interpret this as female academics being chained to the stove by mean ogres of their husbands, I can’t prevent that.

      I am convinced that the real – and a really enormous – obstacle to there being as many female Full Professors as male ones is that the social rewards for professional and financial success among one’s peers are higher for men. Simply put, people do what pays off. The first generation of women who will stop saying to each other “the day of your wedding is the most important day of your life” and will start saying “the day you get tenure / start your own business is the most important day of your life”, will be the generation with the same number of male and female Full Professors.

      Mind you, men who say to women “the day of your wedding is the most important day of your life” can only be found among crazed religious fanatics. Women who say it are everywhere.

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