Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.
November 12, 2008 - 5:01am
I know that my mother and mother-in-law laugh at me behind my back. After all, I’ve taken some pretty ridiculous stands in the name of feminism since my daughter was born. To my mother-in-law I implored: “Please. No pink or frills or lace. I know she’s your first granddaughter, but I want to go easy on the girly-girl stuff.” Ha! Somewhere around age two my daughter mysteriously gravitated toward ruffles, lace, and sparkles, despite my best efforts to steer her toward practical, sporty, gender-neutral clothing.
November 10, 2008 - 9:49pm
One of the things I do when I'm not teaching or preparing for class, not grading or cooking or working on my research -- one of the things I do relatively rarely, in other words -- is knit. I like to knit. It satisfies on many levels. For one, it allows me to create something without requiring great effort -- I just follow the directions. I don't need to think very hard about it. It can be done while I am watching TV, or listening to the radio, or even (once) listening to a conference paper. Sometimes I get a Christmas gift out of it, or a warm scarf for myself.
November 6, 2008 - 9:11pm
The American Mathematical Society recently published a study (Cross-Cultural Analysis of Students with Exceptional Talent in Mathematical Problem Solving) that finds evidence to disprove the widely held idea that girls are not as good at math as boys are. Instead, the relative small percent of girls excelling in math is traced to cultural forces found in the U.S., forces that can be changed so girls can approach the study of math with an open mind.
November 6, 2008 - 6:18am
Of all the possible reactions to Barack Obama’s historical victory this week, I wasn’t prepared for a lead story about the black and red dress Michelle Obama wore to her husband’s acceptance in Chicago. If you read the comments (and I’m not suggesting you do; the punctuation alone will drive you mad) you’ll find a pathological animosity toward the next first lady’s appearance: her teeth, her size, how she walks, how she stands.
November 5, 2008 - 1:37am
When I was in graduate school I could count on one hand (maybe even one finger) the number of graduate students I knew who had children. In my cohort (which I have blogged about before), not one of the ten of us had children before we finished, and this was true of the cohorts before and after mine in my department. I was the first in my cohort to have a baby; born 6 months after I defended my thesis.
November 3, 2008 - 8:52pm
I first came to political consciousness during the Watergate era. We'd been living overseas and actually returned to the U.S. on the day of the break-in; the next few years, it seems to me, passed by in a haze of newspaper articles and Senate hearings. The names Haldeman and Erlichman still mean something to me.
October 30, 2008 - 9:39pm
Women are paid, on average, only seventy seven cents for every dollar earned by men. As can be seen at the site of “moms rising”, even larger differentials exist for women who are mothers, and these are most extreme for women who are single mothers. But where do these numbers come from? How are they calculated, and, more importantly, what assumptions are made in performing those calculations? I will discuss how these wage differentials, which many of us have encountered in our own professional careers, are calculated.
October 29, 2008 - 10:14pm
Tomorrow is my best friend’s birthday and I’ve decided to give her an unusual present: I’m paying to have her house cleaned. I admit I love having my own house cleaned, despite the political and ethical issues it raises. According to Mason and Goulden’s study, academic women with children spend an average of 14 hours a week on housework (compared to the 11.6 hours a week men with children spend) in addition to 26.7 hours a week “care giving.” Taken together, that’s a second job.
October 29, 2008 - 9:30am
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a law that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Most typically, this has been used to “equal the playing field,” so to speak, for high school and college athletics programs; however, it should also be true for other areas of academics that
October 27, 2008 - 10:00pm
Six years ago I wrote an essay I called "Mama Mentor."* In it I talked about mentoring a former student, and how I found my mothering and mentoring intertwined. At the time, my children were 12 and 5, and they seemed far indeed from my own students. But I had recently found myself dispensing advice about balancing family life with an academic career -- a topic near and dear to my heart. I may not be an expert on it, but I was, in that case, the only person my former student knew who was actually trying to do it.