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Moving Backward

Sorry for the lack of blogging this week, it wasn't from a dearth of topics just a lack of time (and ok yes the weather is finally beautiful here and I've been taking advantage of it). Speaking of topics for the blog; anyone read the Chronicle's On Hiring column from April 22? article "Family-Friendly Policies May Not Help as Much as They Should, Conference Speaker Says."

In it, Karen R. Stubaus, director of Rutgers Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, said that while family-friendly policies, like allowing women to take time off the tenure clock to care for young children or creating part-time tenure-track appointments, are meant to help young academics; they may actually hurt young women faculty. Sadly too often she is right. Among some senior faculty, women (and the vast majority are women) taking advantage of these policies are seen as "not serious" and not worthy of "gaining the glory that is tenure" or even pay raises for that matter.

I would call this a dirty, little secret but while it's dirty, it's not little and neither is it a secret. The idea that in some institutions women are punished for choosing to follow institutionally approved policies stinks. Dr. Stubaus may be right that "the environment isnít what it needs to be for female academics to seek the relief family-friendly policies offer;" but isn't that what Offices of Institutional Diversity and Equity are supposed to change? If rather than fixing the problems, we discourage women from taking advantage of family friendly polices, for their own good, then the environment will never be what it needs to be.

PS Thanks to FairerScience friend Catherine Duckett for the heads up.


I've not been reading the Chronicle regularly for weeks...got off the habit. So I missed this. Argggh. Administrators have to be the ones to set the tone for the faculty, that taking advantage of these policies is not only okay, but expected.

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