2 thoughts on “Recommended reading: Motherhood, science, and academic careers

  1. While I’m sure that having children is indeed a major factor holding back women’s academic careers, I still find it puzzling that there are such differences in representation of women in different areas. The authors do refer to this, and their explanation is that in areas which already do not attract that many women to start with, the motherhood toll inflicts the fatal blow. Well, I still find this dissatisfying as an explanation for the different gender distribution in different areas.

    At any rate, an important focus should be on how to balance things more equally on the domestic front, i.e. measures to facilitate a better distribution of the domestic responsibilities between men and women in heterosexual couples.

  2. Quite honestly, I would not accept anything Ceci and Williams say on the basis of an article. We’ve discussed them before: here are two references beside the current post:

    I’ve also argued against a piece of theirs in Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

    I think there’s a deep sophistry in their very conservative writing. For example, in the work I replied to, they were arguing that in fact tenure doesn’t protect free speech. Their examples were of professors who made bigoted (e.g., racist) claims not backed up by adequate research. But it isn’t clear that protecting free speech in the academy should mean protecting bad work that comes close to hate speech.

    The second thing of theirs I’ve seen is discussed in the posts I linked to. They wanted to argue that bias for women in science is a thing in the past. If you looked at what their facts were, they actually showed that women’s lack of productivity, when it occurred, correlated tightly with having inferior resources. Alison Gopnik took them on to great effect.

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