5 Thoughts on the Invisible Hands Helping Men in Science

I was sent a link for this article/blog from Merlin Crossley on the 5 thoughts on the Invisible Hands Helping Men in Science.  It is a good read from a man’s perspective and I encourage our members to read it when you have a chance.

Ultimately, we want the most talented people delivering the most ambitious and reliable science

To paraphrase his blog post (and my thoughts on it):

Role Models – there are plenty of them for men.

if we are to support these people to deliver we need to be aware of the many invisible forces that work together to facilitate or stymie the success of different groups within our community

My response: there are plenty of male role models and they need to also understand that females might also look up to them.

Competition – life is a game, a sport, it is competitive so you must compete.

focus more on quality and less on accumulated career track record – achievements over the last 5 years or the best 5 papers may be better measures than H index etc

My response: yes, this is true, but I think women are better collaborators and we should use this to our strength, build great teams of females and share the limelight. Next time you are writing a proposal, think of a female you’d like to work with and invite them to join. 

Mobility – it is important to move institutions. 

My response: I have moved a lot. It’s hard. Especially with family. I have not moved since getting married and I can see the challenges of sabbaticals and even conference/work travel has on my family already. Like a number of women, I consider pulling back a bit so that I can spend precious time with my family and kids, as they are only young once. If Rick Moranis can quit Hollywood to raise a family, why can’t we have some credit to spending time with them as well. I don’t want to miss my baby growing up.

Mentors – committees hire people like themselves and ultimately want them to succeed.

Developing better mentoring and sponsoring systems will also be important.

My response: So does this mean that committees based predominately of males, prefer to hire males and prefer them to succeed over a female hire? I have found great mentors, both male and female, and yes, many of them are those that were on my search committee and yes, I feel sometimes the female is my biggest advocate, but the men advocate too. Men – ensure that you advocate for all your hires and help them to succeed.

Family – men don’t feel the pressure.

The asymmetry of career interruptions is a challenge which requires work.

My response: I definitely feel the pressure to be the best mom, cleaner, cooker, shopper, baker, kid chauffeur and wife… and that’s with 1 child. But I admit that I also think a lot of that pressure is self-inflicted. My husband doesn’t care if the house is clean or what we eat. He appreciates my efforts but when I’m gone, I don’t come home to an immaculate house, clean laundry and  a stocked fridge. I do come home to a happy child/husband that has been fed (and hopefully bathed at least once). When we consider a 2nd child in the mix, my friend said that the mental challenges don’t change much, but physically, it is twice as much work.  I get my husband involved. I don’t let the reasons/excuses that “I’m no good at cooking (washing, groceries, etc)” fly, but I do accept that my husband won’t do it the same way I do and if I want to be equals in this, then I have to let him do it his way.

The full article by Merlin Crossley can be found here: https://crossleylab.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/5-thoughts-on-the-invisible-hands-helping-men-in-science/