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user at mpi.com user at mpi.com
Thu Nov 20 10:51:43 EST 1997

In article <347369B4.40F2 at nospamsalk.edu>, forsburg at nospamsalk.edu wrote:

Regarding men mentoring women:
> I think they often are uncomfortable,
> because they are afraid that someone will think
> there is something sexual going on, or becuase they just
> find it difficult to interact with women because women
> tend to interact differently than men.  If you don't fit
> the competitve heirarchical model that they are familiar
> with, they may not know how to deal with you. 
> Although I think I'm as good a mentor for the men as the
> women in my lab, so I don't know what the problem is with the
> older guys. 

I have seen this too.  Some of the older male faculty seem to be
uncomfortable because they are somewhat at a loss for how to interact with
women postdocs and students.  I guess they are not sure if the way the
interact with the men is always appropriate when interacting with women,
so they are constantly thinking about their behavior around the women. 
And since this creates an uncomfortable situation, I think some of them,
perhaps unconsciously, tend to minimize their interaction with the women
in their group, especially one-on-one interaction. While a male PI
probably wouldn't think twice about having a long scientific conversation
with a younger male colleague in his office behind closed doors, he might
hesitate to do so if the colleague is a woman.  Not because he wants to
discriminate, but because the setting makes him a bit uncomfortable, and
because he may also worry what people will think.  

stubdal at mpi.com

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