Women in Science...
It's a hot topic right now, especially if you're a female graduate student in science.
There are entire conferences that talk about getting a keeping women in science, how to maintaining their numbers in the "pipeline" from high school to college to grad school and beyond.
There are support groups for women already entrenched in science.
This is not working.
I went into science and I never knew I wasn't supposed to be there. I was born in 1982, a time that doesn't exactly make me young and free from female oppression. However, as my professional degree has progressed, namely the portion occurring in Texas, I have realized how weird I am. I read papers about how rare I am, I see support groups for a feeling I've never had, and experience I have (yet?) to deal with. I'm concerned.
A friend told me she went to a women in science conference this year. After attending, she had the same sinking feeling. We women in science... we don't belong here if we want a real life. She said all the speakers had the same lifestyle - limited family time and very little time to herself. It was evident these women did not have a decent work-life balance.
This is not helping keep women in science.
Maybe that is the reality of the situation. If you want to be an academic researcher and lead and teach the next biologists you have to give up family and home life.
However, we know this isn't true. If males can do it....
...or can we?
The last straw to this whole unfair ordeal is that the very women who took academic positions and kept up with their male counterparts are now maintaining the status quo: if they gave up family and a work-life balance, so must the next generation of female scientists.
Not only are we, the next generation of female scientists, paranoid we are going to have to give up family and a "real life", the women in positions of power over us, the ones we need the leadership and support from, are pushing us into believing just that. If we don't give up on family time, we just don't cut it. Our passion for the work is being murdered.
We don't have to choose between family and work.
Maybe the fix to keeping women in science is to promote diversity of lifestyles in current female scientists and academics. Maybe it is shoving more women towards the "pipeline" into science. Or maybe it's just females supporting and leading other females into new and better science-based positions.
Stop the female intrasexual competition.