Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Great article today about women breadwinners (in the Chronicle) and how they still don't make as much money as men (in the same field with the same education).   You can argue that women in some fields are younger (assistant prof versus full prof), but here's the rub:
"When compared with men's pay at the same level of educational attainment, women's pay is even more unequal: Women earn only 67 cents to their male counterparts' $1. That difference remains steady at every level of education.."
 Why is this?  Some of the arguments focus on how women are likely to be in lower paying specialties (primary care physicians versus surgeons), but I think it is more than that.  It may also be too that women are more interested in qualify of life (work/family balance) than money so they opt for situations that give them more flexibility rather than more pay.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  I think it is bad that women are underpaid and don't have opportunities to advance!  On the other hand, I think that if women are truly choosing family time over more money, that is OK if that is what they want.

There are certainly situations where I see very successful individuals (research superstars, administrators, etc.) and I think wow that person is amazing.  Then I think, but on the other hand I don't want their lifestyle (too much travel, working 24/7, etc.)  I don't want to do bad research or not have any opportunities for leadership/advancement, but I don't want to give up evenings with my kids or be gone all the time.  Travel is something that appeals to me less and less.  Whether it is missing the family, the prep work required for the house to run smoothly while I'm gone (not to mention childcare if spouse is gone too), missed work, and the joys of flying these day I would rather not travel too much.  I obviously go to some conferences, give some seminars, and serve on review panels but I try to work on saying no.  How will this impact my earnings long term, hard to say.  I've been a co-breadwinner my whole career.  Sometimes I have made more money and sometimes my husband has made more than me.  Really for us the big issues are affording a house in a good (close) school district and being able to pay for high quality childcare.  But, would I take a job for double the money that cut my kid time in half, probably not.

Ah well, back to making the most of my last 3 week days before the semester starts...

Tentative syllabus - check
First round of edits on two papers from former students - check  (need to do second round on 1 paper)
Grant reviews - started
Book chapter - lit review in progress
Regulatory protocol - submitted
Major service work - moving along nicely
Paper reviews - To be started (need to work on saying no!!!)
Annual review - almost done
Lab freezer - former students samples - sorted/removed

Fairly productive break all in all, but my to-do list seems to be growing rather than shrinking.

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