Female Science Professor turns into a book

OK, writings in the blog have been collected as a book and favorably reviewed in Nature.   I should think there’s a lot female grad students in philosophy could get out of it.  (Snippets follow. Stresses are my additions.)
Nature 456, 445 (27 November 2008) | doi:10.1038/456445a; Published online 26 November 2008

A blogging professor in print

Peggy Kolm

BOOK REVIEWEDAcademeology: Random Musings, Strong Opinions and Somewhat Bizarre Anecdotes from an Academic Life

by Female Science Professor

Lulu: 2008. 283 pp. £9.26

Pseudonymous blogger Female Science Professor (FSP) first introduced herself in May 2006: “I do not look my age, I do not look like a professor, I do not look like a scientist. My colleagues are, with a few exceptions, very kind and polite to me, and some (many? most?) even like me … but they do not take me seriously.”

That post set the tone for what has become a collection of more than 500 short essays describing her experiences as a scientist, a professor and one of the few women working in her field of science. She has revealed little about her life …. FSP’s blog has steadily gained popularity, with her clear writing style, candid revelations and often humorous musings. The blog’s comment section allows her readers to share their own academic experiences.

FSP has published a selection of her essays as a book, Academeology. Arranged by theme, the posts are interspersed with pithy points of academic etiquette. Many of the topics she covers, such as getting a job in academia, tips on teaching, giving seminars and writing grants, might be found in any academic career guide. But rather than give generic advice, FSP presents her own experiences in an informal and entertaining style. Writing under a pseudonym allows for candid descriptions of students and colleagues. Among the topics she covers are graduate student admissions from the perspective of a faculty member, dealing with coauthors — and advice on how not to be a ‘sexist jerk’.

FSP’s stories of being a woman in a male-dominated field are engrossing. She describes the casual sexism, such as being ignored or treated as a secretary by visiting scientists, or having male colleagues comment that she received an award “because she is a woman”. These tales might be disheartening to some. But FSP also relates her successes as a scientist and in navigating difficulties as one half of a scientist couple who began her academic career with a young child. …  And the book misses the added value of the comments associated with FSP’s original blog entries. That said, Academeology is an enjoyable read for anyone interested in how academia works. I would have loved to have had a copy during my own student days.

50% female

This is what it looks like (a list of Obama’s national security team, not exactly a “girlie” kind of work):

Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator from New York and former First Lady, will serve as Secretary of State.

Secretary Robert Gates, the current Secretary of Defense, will continue to serve in that role.

Eric Holder, former Deputy Attorney General and a former United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, will serve as Attorney General.

Janet Napolitano, Governor and former U.S. Attorney for Arizona, will serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. Susan E. Rice, a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Obama for America campaign, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, will serve as Ambassador to the United Nations.

General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret), former Allied Commander, Europe, and Commander of the United States European Command, will serve as National Security Advisor.

Looks pretty damned good, I’d say.

Gender bias? Yup, it’s there. Unfair treatment in workplace? Check. Feminist? Why would I want to be that?

Sally sent us a link to this article, which contains some interesting US post-election polling. A few tidbits:

68% of women said they were being treated unfairly in the workplace.
61% of women think there is a gender bias in the media.

And yet only 20% of women are willing to call themselves “feminist”.

“Teachable moment” is the phrase that springs to mind. We’ve got a real opportunity here. Thoughts on how to seize it? (Other than: give shorter titles to your posts!)

A further useful fact for teaching revealed by the poll:

39% of men say that a male is “naturally more suited” to carrying out the duties of the President.

In my experience, that’s the sort of thing all the students insist nobody believes anymore.