Ooh. I’d like to go to this conference in Oslo on women in academia – not least because Virginia Vallan is giving her Why So Slow: The Advancement of Women talk, which Hanna wrote about a while back. Also, because I keep noticing I’m the only women in situations where I don’t see why there should be so few women – in a committee at the arts and humanities faculty (which has more women than most fields) or in the university’s IT reference group or in my university’s mac user mailing list discussions. Or there was that talk I gave at the media department (the media department, not physics) where there were about forty male professors and grad students in the audience and two women, one a student. What’s up with that? Where did the women I studied with go? I’m not likely to get to the conference, though: I’m coming home from Christmas holidays in Australia just before it, so I think I’ll content myself with watching Vallan give her MIT version of the talk on video. Must put aside time to actually do that soon. (via Torill)

7 thoughts on “why so slow?

  1. Gro

    We are sitting in our offices, creating fun things – and very
    happy for not being stucked in academia:)
    gro & hanne & synnove

  2. Jill

    Ah. Yes. Of course 🙂

    Actually, that’s true, not only are you obviously very happy and successful outside of academia, so are most o fthe other women I studied with.

    Maybe the talk says “Women aren’t in academia because they’re bored with it”?

  3. diane

    Might be worth remembering, too, that academic jobs require the specific sacrifice of control over where one lives.
    While many people are comfortable with a working partner, it’s another thing to have a partner whose job requires
    you to up sticks every couple of years, if not more often, especially when the job does not pay well —
    as a lot of early-stage academic jobs do not. Unless you make a specific commitment to take turns, someone
    is always going to be the “trailing spouse,” which sucks.

  4. Elin

    Hei, gro & hanne & synnove!

    Smart move:-)

  5. Jill

    I should tell everyone to go check out Pixelpikene, the women I studied with. Hanne and Synn¯ve’s creative web design firm is great, and has the best name ever. Gro is a novelist and a book reviewer and works with Pixelpikene too.

    And when I went down and had lunch with them I wondered why I was in academia.

  6. Jess

    We discuss this frequently at my (nearly all-female at the grad student level) department. There’s definitely a consensus that academia is unfriendly to women, that even the best advisors give us less attention, sometimes even more so when they’re women themselves. And then there’s my main complaint, which is the nearly unshakeable conviction women in academia seem to have that, being women, they NEED to do gender-related, specifically woman-related work. As though the boys have the market cornered on everything that doesn’t have a uterus. How are we supposed to get academic equality if we keep doing work that hinges on our being female? I ask you.

    There’s also the fact that women, even those of us who went to women’s colleges, are not socialized to have the kind of ironclad ego you sometimes need in academia. Combine that with the extra effort you need to put forth in order to get and maintain credibility, and our career-damaging desire to be of all things liked by our students, and you have an unusually gruelling grad school experience. I think about quitting every day. So do most of the people I talk to, but they’re girls too. I don’t really have data on the spear side, since Dan’s in physics and it’s a whole other kettle of fish, so maybe I’m overestimating the effects of growing up convinced (to whatever degree — because we all are, to some degree) that you can’t possibly be smart enough for it to matter on your ability to withstand the psychological rigors of grad school. But I doubt it.

    That wasn’t very clear. I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I know lots of people who introduce EVERYTHING they say in class with an apology, and usually end it with one too. Or whgo start backing down from their assertion if you make eye contact with them. Or who’ve had genuine mental breakdowns due to professorial cruelty. And not one of them has a Y chromosome. If you’re raised in self-doubt, can you really toughen up by the age at which most of us are facing the job market?

    And then there’s the article I read in the Chronicle a few years back, about how women are now getting too educated to get married, because they can’t find men with comparable degrees of erudition, so they’re just not interested. Maybe we’re actually just trying to level the field.

  7. JosÈ Angel

    “… gone to young men every one…”

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