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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