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Topic: subtle barriers

S L Forsburg forsburg at nospamsalk.edu
Sun May 17 01:17:14 EST 1998

REmember that Swedish study that showed women postdoc fellowship
applicants had to have significantly higher qualifications
than men to get similar scores?  The only thing that correlated
with good scores was 1) being male and 2) knowing someone on
the panel.

I've been thinking about that a lot lately.  How do we
identify and overcome these barriers? It seems increasingly=20
apparent to me  that some of the endless difficulties we face
are simply versions of (1) and (2) above.  And, I believe
these factors loom larger and larger the further we go.
(have you heard this one?  "We hire women, they just don't=20
reach our standards for promotion.").  Maybe
we should be flattered that society is so defensive
against us but I'm afraid I'm simply worn out
dodging the rocks they throw in my path.

I found this quote in a seminar about women's leadership

>The exclusions and affronts that take place in=20
> school and in the work setting are indirect but=20
> significant barriers. To be subtly undermined=20
> may be more damaging than to be shoved aside=20
> on the street. A shove is observable, something=20
> to which one can respond. However, subtle=20
> undermining can be easily dismissed as =93all in her mind.=94 "

It seems almost impossible to prove that the undermining of our
accomplishments, the negative feedback, the closing of doors in
 our faces,  are due to these subtle barriers. There's no=20
way to prove that the real explanation is
"she didn't succeed because she's Not Like Us",=20
instead of their usual answer,=20
"...She's not good enough".=20

it's my  stockbroker model:  take 5 young stockbrokers and
give one a $50,000 stake.  In a year, he'll definitely look better
than the others, through no accomplishment of his own.=20
But no one will admit it.  On my cynical days, of which today
 is one, I think that  sums up  how academic science works.=20

How do we fix this?

DON'T REPLY to the email address in header.
It's an anti-spam.  Use the one below.
S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab         =20
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA=20
"These are my opinions.  I don't have =20
time to speak for anyone else."

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