Friday, September 07, 2007

Why so slow

I just finished Why So Slow, about why there are still so few women "at the top" in academia, business, or any profession. It's pretty disturbing, documenting the kinds of small slights and difference treatment/reactions that women experience. On their own these things are very small, but they DO add up--the author discusses the accumulation of advantage and shows mathematically how this kind of thing adds up over a lifetime.

One thing I really liked is that she didn't discuss family responsibilities in too much detail. Sometimes I feel like women are ghetto-ized when the whole "balancing family and work" burden is placed on our doorstep, as though children are entirely our responsibility. I feel like it perpetuates the cultural assumption that men DON'T need to balance this too (and take up their share of family responsibility). It also never rang true to me that this explained why there are still so few women in the upper reaches of any profession.

As discouraging as it was (a lot of things need to change), it was also validating--at least I know I'm not just imagining it when I think that many suggestions I make at a meeting are ignored only to be mentioned 5 minutes later by someone else and then discussed.

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