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Is the Climate Still Chilly? Jodye Selco California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 19 th BCCE, August 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Is the Climate Still Chilly? Jodye Selco California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 19 th BCCE, August 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is the Climate Still Chilly? Jodye Selco California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 19 th BCCE, August 2006

2 A personal “diary” of comments as a function of time. Comments reflect attitudes of others Beginning with my years as an undergraduate student continuing through present day Geographically represented are California, Indiana, Mississippi, as well as from others I met at scientific conferences

3 From the 1970’s Conversation with the undergraduate advisor: “So you want to be a chemistry major? Why?” “I like chemistry” “But are you any good at it?” “I like it, so I enjoy spending time learning it” “Come on back after your first midterm and I’ll sign your drop slip and change of major form. You see, chemistry is not a field for women.”

4 1970’s Potential graduate advisor: “You’re not big enough, strong enough, nor male enough to work in my laboratory.”

5 1970’s After calling a vendor to order a part, vendor returned my phone call: “Can I speak with Mr. Selco?” “He’s not in right now, I believe that he has just stepped out to the Ladies’ Room.” (office mate)

6 1980’s “You must be questioning my competence because it is “that time of the month.” “You don’t need to worry your pretty little head about such complicated things.” (when I was a graduate student)

7 1980’s From student evaluations: “You would be a better, more competent teacher if your clothes weren’t so boring, and if you would wear make-up.”

8 1980’s From 2 colleagues at work on the same day: “Don’t you ever wear hose and heals like a real lady?” We can get you on morals charges for wearing those sexy low cut dresses with slits up to your waist.”

9 1980’s “Just how single are you?” (job interview) “You couldn’t possibly be a competent colleague; you’re not ugly enough!”

10 1980’s NSF proposal reviewer to a colleague of mine during site visit: “She couldn’t possibly succeed with this physical chemistry project because as a female, she would not be able to work with the necessary equipment.” He apparently changed his mind after a chance lunchtime conversation with me about fixing old VWs.

11 1980’s A faculty colleague: “You will put my name on all of your papers.” “Not if you do not contribute to the project.” “Then I’ll come into the lab while the experiment is running and have you suck me off; that’ll be my contribution.”

12 1980’s A hot house “English” cucumber clad in a condom was left on my desk while I was teaching. The office was locked, but all science faculty had keys. My male colleagues could not understand why I thought this was “sexual”, let alone sexual harassment.

13 1980’s Faculty colleague who had been the dean that hired me: “If you are having trouble with this male colleague, why don’t you just phone his wife and see how she deals with him.”

14 1980’s When complaining about sexual harassment from a male colleague to the head of the Women’s Caucus and the current EEO officer: “What do you expect when you work over in the ‘Men’s Corner’?”

15 1990’s Asked of me at an international spectroscopy conference: “Are you a real spectroscopist, or just somebody’s wife?”

16 1990’s During a faculty meeting while discussing including into a new faculty handbook a prohibition on intimate relations with students: “How dare you take away one of the few remaining “perks” of the job.”

17 2000’s During a “Breaking Down the Barriers in Chemical Education” symposium at an ACS meeting, a male presenter saved the best student comment for last: “I never thought that I’d be able to learn both thermodynamics and how to work with women in the same class.” The saddest thing is that this got a big laugh from the audience.

18 2000’s Students after visiting prospective graduate schools: “I was real surprised! Did you know that most of these schools had male physical chemistry faculty members?”

19 Overall Impressions It is getting better. Younger female colleagues have not experienced the same type, let alone level, of harassment. (Consistent with recent findings from UW Madison Males younger than about 50 tend to assume competence unless proven otherwise. Retirement is fast approaching for those with antiquated attitudes; in many institutions they are loosing their majority.

20 Best comeback line: “It is Dr. Baby to you!” Thanks to Professor Patricia Reiff.

21 Acknowledgements: With no thanks at all to my colleagues at: University of California, Irvine Rice University Indiana University Mississippi State University University of Redlands California State Polytechnic University, Pomona And all of the other scientific colleagues I’ve met in my professional career.

22 References/Resources ve/BestPractice/Best1Guidebook/chilly_climate. htm sufa05/le-sufa05perspective.cfm NSF-ADVANCE program to promote institutional change to warm the academic climate for women in STEM fields.


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