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NE Jnl of Med article

Julia Frugoli jfrugoli at bio.tamu.edu
Mon Feb 14 13:11:49 EST 2000

Sue wrote:

>In the Feb 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (342:399),
>there is an article entitled "women physicians in academic medicine: 
>New insights from cohort studies" by Lynn Nonnemaker, PhD.  A commentary
>about this study in the same issue (p. 426, by Catherine De Angelis,
>MD)) calls it "new insights, same sad news",  remarking that the study
>found that a "significantly smaller porportion of women than men
>advanced from assistant to associate professor and from associate to
>full professor".  Dr De Angelis goes on to say, "I do not believe equal
>opportunity will ever be possible.  I would settle for equity--that is,
>freedom from bias or favoritism".  She suggests several possible
>strategies to work towards this.
>Comments about equality vs. equity, or about the study??

I don't want to believe that equality will NEVER be possible, but I
understand the need to work for equity first.  In fact, I think equality
flow naturally out of equity.  Maybe I'm getting old and cynical, but I for
one am sick and tired of people pointing to labs with 30-50% female postdocs
and a few jr professor hires and saying that this means women now have equal
opportunity.  Part I'm frustrated because its taken too long to get just
this far, in my opinion, and partly I'm frustrated because many people seem
content to stop at opportunity itself-whether its equal or not.  Dr. De
Angelis's comment, without even reading the study, strikes me as spoken from
the trenches, and perhaps a realistic assessment of what we can do in our
lifetimes would heal some of the burnout and frustration.

Or is it better to strive for the highest goal despite the burnout?

Julia Frugoli
Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology
Texas A&M University
Norman E.Borlaug Center for Southern Crop Improvement 
2123 TAMUS
College Station, TX 77843
phone 409-862-3495
FAX 409-862-4790

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