To clarify: my statement about conflating women academics with the working poor 
was not in response to Sarah's post, which came after mine, but in response to 
Karen Golinski's criticism of people working long hours being poor parents. 

I made the point in my post that people forced to work multiple jobs and long 
hours are not in the same situation as working academic mothers, even though 
both would benefit from increased institutional support. This is not to 
criticize either group, but to point out that having a work-life balance 
discussion at all is, for some, not an option. I suspect most academics are 
above the poverty line, underpaid though they may be (adjuncts are a different 
story). Whether you have to work or choose to work, you should have the same 
access to support and protection from criticism. 


On Apr 30, 2012, at 11:51 AM, Sarah Fann <> wrote:

> A couple of notes to my post. :)
> I made a silly assumption that readers would check out the link that David
> originally posted, and I then re-posted. Without reading the article, my
> paragraph is out of context. The article follows women and men with at
> least a B.S. in mathematics, and found that a disproportionate number of
> women with these degrees do not attend graduate school and do not become
> professors. It then asked the questions I re-posted (in green which I
> forgot doesn't show up on this list serve) about why these women leave and
> where they go. As a woman who fits into that category, I answered their
> questions about myself.
> The second is in response to this quote.
> "Conflating the plight of the working poor with the choice of a woman to
> have a career and a family is false equivalence."
> Robert Hamilton gave an example of the "6am-10pm" parent working fine for
> the family, and I provided a counter-example. Others may disagree with me,
> but personally I don't think my example should be discarded simply because
> my family was part of the "working poor". Professors do not make that much
> money, especially when compared to administrators in academia, or to
> scientists outside of academia. Additionally, cost of living raises are
> rare and sometimes non-existent for professors. Many universities are
> rolling back and cutting health insurance benefits while cost of living
> (rent, gas, food, commodities, education, etc) is skyrocketing around the
> nation, and programs put in place to help support families (in retirement
> or other stages) are being cut by States and the Federal government. My
> generation of scientists are faced with the additional burden of
> considerable debt for undergraduate studies, of which congress is voting to
> possibly double the interest rate on. My point is that my family situation
> in high school might not be all that different for a "sole-bread winner"
> professor in today's America. I maintain my original point, which is that
> having one parent working gross overtime on a consistent basis only works
> if either one parent can be home more frequently, or the family is rich
> enough to cover child care costs. Both of these scenarios are unlikely
> amongst my generation, and having this high demand of time spent away from
> family is one factor that drives some of women out of science careers in
> academia.
> On Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 11:05 AM, R Omalley <> wrote:
>> This all started with a query about how best to bring kids along on
>> fieldwork...
>> It may be helpful to remind ourselves of our predecessors, to be able to
>> believe in our own capacities.
>> I love the story of Dorothea Lange, who had two kids and two step-kids.
>> (forgive the Wikipedia source)
>> Excellence is defined in many different ways.  Sole-authored research
>> papers is a mighty narrow definition of contribution to the advancement of
>> knowledge, even if it (sometimes) may lead to the promotion of the
>> individual. Seems like we need to work on social skills, too.
>> Keep up the good work, all of you (us).
>> Cheers,
>> Rachel O'Malley
>> Professor of Environmental Studies
>> San Jose State University
>> (and usually quite happy with my job, two kids, partner, thousands of
>> current and former students, and colleagues... I only wish the polis were
>> funding more education and ecology so that everyone who wants to work in
>> this field, could do so).
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Apr 29, 2012, at 3:02 PM, karen golinski <>
>> wrote:
>>> I wonder how a person who is regularly away from home from 6 AM until
>> after
>>> 10 PM really raises a family? Most kids are sleeping during the "at home"
>>> time of 10 PM-6 AM.
>>> It saddens me to think that people want to silence the discussion of
>>> positive models of work-life balance. Just because people have to work
>> the
>>> long hours described below does not mean it is a good (or productive) way
>>> to live our lives.
>>> On Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 1:20 PM, Robert Hamilton <
>>> wrote:
>>>> I must say that I find this conversation somewhat embarrassing, and hope
>>>> it never gets out into the public domain. I have and have always had
>>>> friends and neighbours who work 2 or 3 jobs to keep things going.
>>>> Literally going to work at 6AM and not coming home till after 10PM
>>>> working jobs at places like Walmart and McDonalds. Lots of people work
>>>> 8+ hours per say 50 weeks a year, like say my Dad, and had no problem
>>>> raising a family and contributing to the community. This whole thing is
>>>> a study in extreme narcissism. How's that for a wet blanket!
>>>> Robert Hamilton, PhD
>>>> Professor of Biology
>>>> Alice Lloyd College
>>>> Pippa Passes, KY 41844
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news
>>>> [mailto:ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU] On Behalf Of Jahi Chappell
>>>> Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 10:07 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ECOLOG-L] Families in Science - Balancing your personal
>>>> and professional life
>>>> While putting resources into science, including ecology, is of course a
>>>> wonderful, necessary, and valuable thing, assuredly supporting our own
>>>> families with our presence, time, and energy (and societal resources) is
>>>> at least as wonderful, necessary, and valuable. Indeed, as many benefits
>>>> as flow from science and science funding, we know that having strong
>>>> families and communities makes everyone better off, ceteris parabus, and
>>>> having strong families and communities requires time and resource
>>>> investment from everyone.
>>>> Even granting the proposition that we in the US produce the "best and
>>>> most successful scientists in the world", all accounts indicate that we
>>>> certainly don't produce the highest average of "happy and most secure
>>>> and successful families in the world." We have a *lot* of those, but
>>>> alas, our median is likely much lower than our mean, and both are likely
>>>> behind countries like those Andres analyzed. So much of what so many are
>>>> lacking are basic needs, connections, support networks, and resources,
>>>> something depending as much or more on good and participatory governance
>>>> than new scientific discovery--we need more time for more participation
>>>> outside our work and research, not less.
>>>> On 4/27/12 10:22 AM, "David L. McNeely" <> wrote:
>>>> This is not meant as a wet blanket, as I encourage family friendly
>>>> employment practices for all countries and for all occupations.  But, I
>>>> wonder how those figures would look if all areas of science were
>>>> considered?  It may be that smaller economies, and the Scandinavian
>>>> countries in particular, put a greater fraction of their available
>>>> resources for scientific research into ecology than do larger economies
>>>> and non-Scandinavian countries.  Is U.S. science more diversified than
>>>> Finnish or Icelandic science?
>>>> David McNeely
>>>> ---- Andres Lopez-Sepulcre <> wrote:
>>>> Since we're at it, it did the same calculation for all four countries
>>>> ranked first in gender equality by the Global Gender Gap Report. All
>>>> four, as far as I remember, provide generous paternity leaves that
>>>> guarantee job security and can be shared between mother and father.
>>>> ISI indexed publications in Ecology per capita (countries ranked in
>>>> order of 'gender equality index')
>>>> Iceland: 1167
>>>> Norway: 1794
>>>> Finland: 1500
>>>> Sweden: 1361
>>>> Not only do these countries do significantly better in ecology 'per
>>>> capita' than the less family-oriented scientific powerhouses (e.g.
>>>> USA: 650, UK: 660), but it almost seems that if anything, their ranking
>>>> in the gender equality index is correlated with their productivity, not
>>>> an 'impediment' ... safe for Iceland, but do remember that Iceland
>>>> suffered the largest financial collapse in world history in these last 5
>>>> years.
>>>> Even when this small sample and oversimplified analysis is not proof of
>>>> anything, I hope it can change peoples' perceptions that countries that
>>>> have increased social welfare, gender equality and more protective
>>>> labour laws are less productive.
>>>> Andres Lopez-Sepulcre
>>>> Laboratoire d'Ecologie, UMR 7625
>>>> Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris
>>>> On Apr 27, 2012, at 6:43 PM, Cecilia Hennessy wrote:
>>>> PERFECT response, thank you so much!  If we Americans could stop patting
>>>> ourselves on the back long enough to realize that other countries have
>>>> successful ways of doing things too, maybe we could learn from
>>>> international example and progress more efficiently.
>>>> cheers!
>>>> On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 7:48 AM, Andres Lopez-Sepulcre
>>>> <
>>>>> wrote:
>>>> "...however, why should the USA modify the system producing among the
>>>> best and most successful scientists in the world..."
>>>> I would simply like to add a quick clarification. I struggled with how
>>>> to respond to this US-centric statement. There is no doubt that the USA
>>>> is a scientific powerhouse and I have wonderful things to say about my
>>>> experience as a scientist there, which has brought me wonderful
>>>> collaborations I hope last long. However I am not sure it is fair to
>>>> compare a country of over 300 million inhabitants with another of 5
>>>> (Finland). In fact, I took the liberty do do a quick search in Web of
>>>> Science for articles in the area of 'Environmental Sciences and Ecology'
>>>> for both countries in the last 5 years. USA showed 204,414 in front of
>>>> 8,119 Finnish articles indexed in ISI. If one thinks 'per capita', the
>>>> USA has produced 650 indexed articles in ecology per million
>>>> inhabitants, while Finland has produced 1,500. With this I do not mean
>>>> to say that Finland is better or worse... but just to show that, when
>>>> the comparison is done 'fairly', maternity leaves do not seem to be
>>>> hampering Finnish ecology. Productivity can be achieved without equality
>>>> and social welfare suffering.
>>>> Andres Lopez-Sepulcre
>>>> Laboratoire d'Ecologie, UMR 7625
>>>> Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris
>>>> On Apr 12, 2012, at 6:52 PM, Amanda Quillen wrote:
>>>> "...however, why should the USA modify the system producing among the
>>>> best and most successful scientists in the world..."
>>>> --
>>>> Cecilia A. Hennessy
>>>> PhD Candidate
>>>> Purdue University
>>>> 715 W. State St
>>>> Pfendler Hall, G004
>>>> West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061
>>>> lab: 765-496-6868
>>>> cell: 574-808-9696
>>>> --
>>>> David McNeely
>>>> --
>>>> M. Jahi Chappell, Ph.D.
>>>> Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Justice School of the
>>>> Environment Faculty Affiliate, Center for Social and Environmental
>>>> Justice Faculty Affiliate, Program in Public Affairs Washington State
>>>> University Vancouver Vancouver, WA 98686
>>>> Tel: (360) 546-9413
>>>> Fax: (360) 546-9064
>>>> Faculty Page:
>>>> Chappell Lab:
>>>> Email:

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