women in science

For Women in Sciences, Slow Progress in Academia” (Sara Rimer, NYT):

Even as the number of women earning Ph.D.’s in science has substantially increased – women now account for 45 percent to 50 percent of the biology doctorates, and 33 percent of those in chemistry – the science and engineering faculties of elite research universities remain overwhelmingly male. And the majority of the women are clustered at the junior faculty rank.

Pop quiz, class. Complete these sentences:

  1. Women are underrepresented in academia because…
  2. Conservatives are underrepresented in academia because…
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empathy

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“At its best, our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.”
      -Flannery O’Connor

Liz lists several things she wishes she didn’t know and then writes, “Yeah, I think life would definitely be easier if Id never had to learn any of those things.” But because Liz knows those things, there will be people around her for whom life is easier. This world often brings unwanted pain, but if you’re lucky you’ll find yourself able to do something positive with that pain, like help others avoid it or find their way out of it.

Danah writes of being on the receiving end of a sexist joke. Two of the responses to her entry think she is over-reacting. Certainly being told that you are good looking is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. The context matters, however. I know I would rather not hear about it if, for example, students were taking my classes because they thought I was attractive and not because they thought I was smart. And it seems to me that an overlooked part of Danah’s story is the experience of hearing yourself discussed in the third person while you are there to hear the discussion, as if you need not be addressed directly. If this isn’t objectification, then the word has no meaning.

Finally, if I weren’t such a half-assed Buddhist, I might actually believe in this concept, which I think gets at the heart of what I’m trying to say here.

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what’s it take for a woman…

…to make the cover of Wired magazine?

I’ve subscribed for a few years now, and when the current issue came, L saw the cover and pointed out that the only women we’ve seen on the cover in the past several issues haven’t exactly been known for their accomplishments in the fields of technology:

You have to go all the way back to 1996 to find a cover story on Sherry Turkle, and before that to 1994 for one on Laurie Anderson. Other than these two cover stories, there are none on women in technology.

See for youself. Check out the Wired archive of covers. Pretty shameful, no?

It’s not like there aren’t enough candidates. (Thanks to Caterina Fake on misbehaving.net for the link.)

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something’s got to give, indeed

Have you seen the trailer for the new movie Something’s Gotta Give? I really couldn’t tell you what it’s about, but I do know that it looks like a character played by Keanu Reeves (who is 40) dates a character played by Diane Keaton (who is 57). Oh, and Jack Nicholson (who is 66) is in the movie, too.

Two things really chafe me about the preview. First, you can tell it’s supposed to be surprising that a man Reeves’ age is interested in a woman Keaton’s age. Now how often have we been expected to swallow a movie in which an older male actor like, say, Michael Douglas (born in 1944) plays the husband of a younger female actor like, say, Gwyneth Paltrow (born in 1972)? Reverse the genders of the two leads, apparently, and Hollywood doesn’t think we’ll be able to handle it without “acknowledging” that such a pairing is hard to believe.

Second, there’s a “comic” scene in which Jack Nicholson’s character comes upon Diane Keaton’s character naked and is apparently so shocked by the sight of her 57-year-old body that he staggers backwards and runs into a wall. This is funny? This is believable? Now, if Keaton’s character came upon Nicholson naked and was disgusted, that I could believe. I mean, have you seen Jack Nicholson?

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