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Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Life Issues for Women in Science Julie.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Life Issues for Women in Science Julie."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Life Issues for Women in Science Julie Miller Vick, University of Pennsylvania California Institute of Technology July 7, 2003

2 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. What Should She Do? Emily is the only female postdoc in her lab. She has noticed that, even though she’s often the person the other postdocs approach with questions, and her supervisor seems to rely on her to see that experiments run smoothly, she’s consistently placed below the other postdocs in authorship of papers.

3 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. How Do You Get Your Fair Share? Be confident in asking for what you deserve. Find out what criteria your supervisor uses in listing authorship. Make sure he/she is aware of your contributions. Don’t let anyone deter you from your main focus. In negotiating, be informed.

4 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. What Should She Do? Parvati is six-months pregnant. She has just lined up interviews at two pharmaceutical companies. The interviews will take place over the next six weeks. Should she say anything about being pregnant? If so, when, and how?

5 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. How Do You Decide What To Share and Field Illegal Questions? Talk to people who’ve already gotten jobs. Prepare in advance for predictable questions. Know illegal questions may be asked. Use a sense of humor. Try to distinguish between potentially discriminatory questions and discriminatory intent. Answer the legitimate concerns, not the illegitimate questions.

6 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Examples of Illegal Questions Do you plan to have any children? Are you married? Is there someone else who’s involved in this decision? Who will take care of your children? Do you have any children? Why would you want to come here when there’s no social life? (Not necessarily illegal in the unlikely event an employer could prove answers from men and women would be treated the same.)

7 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. What Should She Do? Anita has spent much of her graduate career tactfully fending off the subtle advances of her brilliant and well-known advisor, while he has given her cogent and useful criticism of her work. Recently, after a departmental party at which he drank too much, his advances were less than subtle, as was, of necessity, her rebuff. Since then, he’s not been available to discuss her work. She’s preparing to go on the job market, and is worried about his recommendation.

8 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. How Do You Protect Your Professional Boundaries? Know your rights, both by law and by your institution’s policies. Talk about professional issues when you’re with your colleagues. Observe and learn from women who command respect. Join the women’s section of your professional association. Stay connected in your department. Talk in assertions, not questions. Think before you do other people’s work.

9 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. What Should They Do? Regina and Waldo are both in the same field and will be going on the job market at the same time. Regina will probably have the stronger faculty recommendations. If there are 20 openings this year in their mutual specialty, that will be a lot. Should they both apply for all the same openings? If they do, should they let employers know they’re a couple? (They have different last names.)

10 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. How Do You Negotiate Dual Career Issues? Think of this as an on-going discussion, rather than as a one-time summit meeting. Start early communicating with your partner. Anticipate issues. Talk to other people in similar situations. Make sure your recommenders know what you’ve decided.

11 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. What Should She Do? Atsuko has just been offered two jobs. One is a tenure-track position in a demanding department. The other is a better-paying, less interesting, job with a government agency, where she’s been told people mainly work 9-5. Her husband is in emergency medicine and is frequently on call for days at a time. Their two-year-old has just been diagnosed with mild autism at the same time as Atsuko’s mother, who has been the main child care provider, has been diagnosed with cancer. Their four-year-old, in response to the stress in the household, has begun to withdraw and have frequent crying spells.

12 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. What Should She Do? Sharon is 28 and getting married this summer. After several of years trying other options, she’s found her calling as a biochemist. She wants a family and, eventually, a tenured position at a research university. When should she have her first child?

13 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. How Do You Create a Life/Work Balance That Works for You? Consider stopping the tenure clock, and, if it’s important to you, remember the biological one. Find role models, mentors, and a cheering squad. Don’t try to handle it all yourself without support or help. Join with others to make change.

14 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Academia vs. Industry: Is one better for women than the other? Lin is almost done with her postdoc. She wants to apply for both academic positions and industrial jobs. She also wishes to adopt a child and wants a career and a job that will be supportive of parents.

15 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Academia – pros and cons Large research institutions + At some institutions you can take a year off the tenure clock with each child. + You have more control over your research. - With grants it’s hard to take time off. - Some colleagues think you’re not serious about your work if you go off the tenure clock. - From a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article: “After all, research standards and the number of publications needed to move up the professorial ladder are at or above levels that were set when the profession was dominated by men who had stay-at-home wives and could afford to spend every waking moment at work.” -- Piper Fogg, 6/13/03

16 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Academic Pros and Cons Teaching-Oriented Institutions + Summers available for own research or family- related activities including having a baby. + It’s possible to get a reduced teaching-load and temporarily go off the tenure-track. - Many such institutions are in remote locations where it may be difficult for a partner to find work or to find a partner. - Some small schools with predominately male faculty or middle-aged females, may not have updated themselves with family-friendly policies.

17 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Industry – pros and cons + Paid maternity leave can be supplemented by taking unpaid maternity leave. + The workday is done when you leave the lab. Work isn’t done at home. + Strong h.r. departments in large companies can create a climate where inappropriate behavior is not tolerated. + The pay is often better than in academe. - You may have less control of your schedule. - You don’t get to pick your own research. - Increased development costs cause employers to save by trimming employee benefits (such as vacation time, paternity leave).

18 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Anecdotal pros and cons Pregnancy may force you to temporarily or permanently change what you do if you work with radioactive materials or lab animals. If you can wait a few years, don’t get pregnant right after accepting a position. Your organizational skills improve. The people you work with make a big difference.

19 Copyright, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission. Besides research careers in academia, government or industry, what other options are there? Government research Teaching in a college or a teaching-oriented university Science writing Science education Intellectual property Technology transfer Clinical trials


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