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When Scientists Choose Motherhood


Certain things in life are not fair. Unfortunately, I see this issue as one of them, along with any number of other issues that impact peoples’ lives.

Gender equality, in itself, has merit. Women who want to go into the sciences can be successful and have done so although I believe that it is much more difficult for them in some clear measurable ways.

However, I just don't see fixing this inequity as generating more money for the Universities. How much would it cost total to equalize the professor levels to 50/50? The logical conclusion is that these proposed interventions would cost significant money now, while protracting future grant revenues to the Universities. The universities, just like insurance companies and banks, must make money.

Unless compelled, why would they want to pay extra to keep family-minded female PhDs in the supply when tons of PhD applicants and those with PhDs and several post-docs are waiting hungrily in to fill in the gaps, (and they thank us heartily for the chance to work long hours in pursuit of tenure)? This is the most cost-effective solution that I see continuing into the future.

I have lived in S. America for several years as a humanitarian service worker. Seeing the little kids roaming the dirt streets half-naked, tick infested, and running from wild packs of dogs certainly reminds me that life can always get harder.

Let’s also be a little optimistic. What a privilege to even be in a position to discuss this.

posted by Cameron Gundry
March 26, 2012


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