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Do Women Choose “Mediocre” Progress On the Career Front?

Do Women Choose “Mediocre” Progress On the Career Front?

Once more a study is coming out that “proves” that there really isn’t gender discrimination in the workplace — it’s just that women make choices that hurt their careers in order to put their families first.


The authors scoured the studies, looking for evidence of discrimination against women, and essentially, found none. Among their myth-busting findings:

  • Women and men professors were treated equally by funders, according to several other large-scale studies, in several countries.
  • Women who apply for tenure-track jobs at top research universities are actually slightly more likely to get those jobs than men.
  • There were no sex differences in the acceptance rates of papers submitted for publication in scholarly journals. Men and women with “similar resources and characteristics” published the same amount of work. But, the Cornell professors noted, women are more likely to have jobs that are teaching-intensive as opposed to research intensive, which means that, overall, women publish less.

Yet, female math and science professors are far less likely to hold tenured slots and be published in journals. Why is that? The study points to choices women make, due to work-family issues. Almost one out of three–31%–of female graduate students said it was “important” or “extremely important” to work part-time for some part of their careers, compared to just 9% of their male colleagues. In practice, that means more women take teaching-intensive jobs with fewer research opportunities.

Of course, the major flaw in the study is the conclusion, which is that women aren’t really discriminated against, it’s that they choose to work part time to have a balance between family and work.

But why do they need to work part time to do that?  The male colleagues aren’t being forced to find an attempt to balance the two — there seems to be no issue with them managing both fatherhood and their own tenure track at the same time.

The gender bias lies in the idea that women have to reduce their career paths to have families as well, where as men presumably do not, because the mother in each case will do it for them.

And that, then, makes it not a choice.  That makes it discrimination.

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10:04PM PST on Feb 20, 2011

I only lean yes.

For me, stereotypes and sligth bias is as unavoidable as first impressions.

It's upto the person what to make of those biases, and upto the other how to deal with them.

Women are discriminated, sometimes extremely, sometimes slightly, just as men are. Hopefully women can find a way to be encouraged and recognize that they have as much if not more power and ability than their better halves and work it out with them, so they agree on what to do.

5:28PM PST on Feb 20, 2011

depends solely on the workplace, boss, and co-workers

8:58PM PST on Feb 19, 2011

This says it - "The gender bias lies in the idea that women have to reduce their career paths to have families as well, where as men presumably do not, because the mother in each case will do it for them."

11:31AM PST on Feb 18, 2011

Sounds like they "studied" academia. That is not a well rounded study that would lead one to say their is or isn't discrimination in the workplace, which is a much more broader statement.

As a woman who has worked on the lower and higher parts of the ladder for 51 years I will tell you it has gotten better but we've a long way to go before we are truly equal with our working brothers. Yes there is discrimination in the workplace and it isn't only gender.

2:37AM PST on Feb 18, 2011

Anita R: “If we had more support for affordable child care, more women would choose to work full time. The lack of affordable child care is in itself a form of discrimination.”

Are you suggesting the taxpayer should fund care for your children? Put that to Carol H (at 3.36pm on this thread) and I suspect you will be told where to go! And I would support her 100%!

1:24AM PST on Feb 18, 2011

If we had more support for affordable child care, more women would choose to work full time. The lack of affordable child care is in itself a form of discrimination.

10:27PM PST on Feb 17, 2011

Always blame the victim- so much easier than changing.

5:01PM PST on Feb 17, 2011


4:47PM PST on Feb 17, 2011

Here we see scientific evidence of tenure discrimination against men and nothing to confirm the idea of discrimination against women. Well, at least in these fields. I have to say the study on doctors ( looked sound.

But that's the issue. It goes both ways, and feminists want to pretend they are still the universal underdog. Progress has been made and while there is still a ways to go but we won't get there until we acknowledge the sexism and discrimination against men instead of ignoring it.

Saying that this gap is the result of "discrimination" is dodging the issue. The issue as hand was discrimination in the workplace and the data is in. Women aren't discriminated against by employers, in this field.

Still I find your point interesting and valid, if sexistly applied. The are indeed issues with social expectations but they apply to men just as much, if not more so. The claim that men do not have difficulty balancing fatherhood and career is countered by large amounts of evidence and utterly unsupported. It doesn't take much to see the inverse of your argument... how many men would take more time off for themselves and their family if they were not under pressure to be the bread winner and provider? Is it not discriminating against them to expect them to fulfill this role?

Nor is this some role forced on men by men, look at studies of how women view men who make less than

4:31PM PST on Feb 17, 2011

The idea that some of the most intelligent and well-educated women in our society are arriving at their own personal career management decisions because it is somehow "expected" of them is, I believe, highly insulting to these people.

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