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Those without kids

Linnea Ista lkista at unm.edu
Thu Apr 27 03:40:40 EST 2000

Deirdre, you were the one who decided to change the focus of this thread about
the things that those of us without kids face sometimes from some parents to
how we REALLY DO have it so easy, dismissing what Susan said in the first
place and now it is about how I am responding to the way you responded, and
further extrapolating about how I REALLY think and feel and how I therefore
must interact with my colleagues. I find it inappropriate in a public forum.

Good way to kill a discussion that could have been illuminating  I am getting
the feeling that you are purposely missing my point because your view is so
crowded with your own juggling act.

Whether or not you believe it, I really do want to be supportive to the
parents around me, but I will not do it at the expense of my own outside life
that is just as fully developed, albeit in a different direction.  People's
life is multifaceted and it is unfair for anyone to make assumptions about
what that life is like for them based only on ONE known fact.

I think the main point that Susan was trying to get across is that family
issues are not the ONLY ones confronting women in science today and that those
of us who do not have kids want a life outside of the lab as well.  I think
that the future can also be served by those of us who are trying to solve the
other problems that those so wrapped around the "family time" axle do not have
time to solve.

I would like, for example, for my nieces to be able to walk into a lab and not
be automatically assumed incompetent until proven otherwise, simply because
they have breasts.    I would like for them to make the same money and have
the same chance at tenure and/or advancement that a man would, even if they
are not superstars.  I would like those who are going to teach be judged on
the quality of their teaching, not what clothes they are wearing, whether or
not they wear makeup, or whether or not they are perceived as "too nurturing"
or "not nurturing enough" -- in other words be  judged on the quality of their
work, rather than whether they are adhering properly or closely enough to
cultural norms for women.  I would like them to live in a world where their
family choices, whether that is if and when to have children, how to feed
their babies, the gender of the person they choose to spend their life with,
or if they choose to be single, does not limit how far they can go or the
perception of how much they have to do to get there.

At the same time, I will do my best to contribute to the upbringing of each of
my nieces so they know that they are treasured for being brave and smart and
strong in addition to being cute.

That's all I can do right now.  If that is not enough, then I am terribly


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