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Dunham
Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 2:12pm
Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 7:25am
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page 1 of 21 recent posts

Thread: career in academia and getting pregnant - the right time

posted
22-Jun-15, 11:43
edited about 6 minutes later
by Dunham
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posted about 5 years ago
I am not saying that there are no cases where women get paid less, because that is definitely sometimes the case, but I don't like the generalisation of that debate. The reason why women are earning less on average are also influenced by the fact that they are more likely to choose a subject that results in a lower income. They are often not comparing the genders within one profession (with the same qualifications) such as engineers. It is not a secret that men tend to choose the more lucrative subjects and therefore of course have the higher average salary. I think they even had one figure where they showed that females in the US in their 20s are actually earning more than the males. However, I am of course not denying that there is a pay gap in some cases and that this has to stop. A step into the right direction would be that salaries are fixed and you can't negotiate about it. Research shows that men do that more aggresively, which in return results in higher salaries.

In case of the professors it depends if they are at the same age. If they spent the same time at the university and did not get level 3, while their male colleagues did, than this is not okay. However, if we compare a 40 year old female professor to a 70 year old male professor, thant you make the wrong comparison. They became professors at completely different times and of course things were different 30 years earlier. I honestly don"t believe that a university in 2015 hires a female and a male engineering professor and groups them differently. I'm not buying this. No university can afford something like that anymore. Furthermore you usually apply to a position and know in advance what level it is. Most new humanities professorships in Germany are rather W1 , while you will probably get W3 in computer science. I don't believe that someone says that the position was advertised as level 2 but gets a downgrade to 1 due to the female applicant ;)

Of course we are biased on gender. But don't fool yourself, women are biased as well. I would like to get a dollar when ever a woman dropped a male stereotype, whenever I heard something like "that's typical for men" or when a woman told me to do something because "you are the men". Happens daily but nobody considers it as sexism and let's be honest, most people would probably just laugh when a male would accuse a female of sexism ;) We perceive that in a comp-letely different way. Of course I don't wanna present men as victims in that debate. Just saying that we are all biased and there will probalby never be comple equality of both genders because we are not the same, otherwise we would not have two genders.

Yeah, we kinda got off topic. Maybe we should open a new thread for that :)

Thread: career in academia and getting pregnant - the right time

posted
22-Jun-15, 07:06
by Dunham
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posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:


We already have a limit on the working week: it's called he EU working time directive and it limits work to 48 hours a week.


Apparently, a lot of people in academia or finance don't follow this directive ;)

Thread: career in academia and getting pregnant - the right time

posted
21-Jun-15, 09:53
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Well you choose your family model, don't you? You are not forced to stay at home longer than your husband. In most European countries you are allowed to take equal amounts of time. Most families don't do that, but that is an individual problem that has to be solved by the individuals themselves. The basic condition and possibility is provided by the government. If you choose not to do so that is your own decision. I doubt that employees react more friendly to a husbands decision to take a break for 6 months compared to a woman that takes a 6 month break. Makes no difference to me.

I mean seriously, what are you going to do about that? Prefer people with families over people without families? I don't really see how else you could change that. It is natural and logical to hire someone that works more for the same money if he or she is equally qualified. Both women and men do that because it gives them an advantage.

You could introduce fixed hours in academia and everybody who does not stick to it has to face consequences. Force the people to work a reasonable amount of hours so family persons have no disadvantage, but who will support a change that will definitely slow down research? I doubt that you will find a majority who supports that in all countries.

Thread: career in academia and getting pregnant - the right time

posted
21-Jun-15, 09:14
edited about 29 minutes later
by Dunham
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posted about 5 years ago
Well then academia should change to be a place where you can work part-time and care for a family. Why it is so hard to believe that women want to work hard and do well at work, just like men? They also want to have a family. I just don't think these things should be mutually exclusive. I think academia is exactly what a lot of women want, and it has to wake up and facilitate women to have both a career and motherhood.[/quote]

But why is it so hard for people to understand that this has nothing to do with gender? As a professor, your publication record will always depend on the research output of the people working in your group. Your funding will always depend on your publication record. The prestige of your university will always be depending on the research output of your scientists. Why is it so hard to conclude that these institutions will always prefer and always hire employees that work a lot and thus, are not necessarily better scientist, but have a huge advantage? How is that ever going to change without a huge change of academia in general, which would affect almost everything. I don't believe that this will come any soon and I don't believe that countries all over the world would agree and implement such major changes together (if not together, than some countries will have advantages/disadvantages, you see that also for the introduction of fees for financial transactions. Either everybody does it or nobody does is)

What makes the whole issue worse is the massive excess supply of labor in academia. You could introduce changes if it was hard to find people with the expertise and willing to work at a university but the opposite is the case. People who receive 50 applications will probably always favor the woman that won't cause inconvenience such as sick child, parental leave or part-time work over the type of woman who seems to be a family person and seems to not focus 100% of her energy on her research. If they are equally qualified there is simply no reason to do differently.

Same is true for men. I said it before : Try to work part-time as a man or try to get parental leave and you will experience the same as women do. Even though its justified by law and you are allowed to take it, most bosses get pissed and let you know that they are pissed because you are slowing their research down regardless of the bosses' gender.


PS : A possibility would be maybe that you introduce a law in all country that restricts working hours in academia to, let's say 45 hours. No professor, lecturer, Post doc or PhD is allowed to work more than that, otherwise will face certain consequences. As long as people can work as long as they want, you will seldom get a chance if you are not one of them (because of family). Just my opinion.

Thread: career in academia and getting pregnant - the right time

posted
20-Jun-15, 13:17
edited about 23 minutes later
by Dunham
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posted about 5 years ago
Well, first of all there is definitely increase in positions hold by females (at least in Germany). Almost every position in academia has now the add on that female applicants are preferred in case of equal qualification. The problem is simply that for a lot of "feminists" this is not fast enough. They want 50/50 NOW and won't be satisfied if the increase is just 1 to 2% per year. In my opinion this is not gender equality (where everybody has the same chance to get the position regardless of gender) but equalization. It just takes time to raise the numbers from 10% (actually I read that there are 17.5% in the UK at the moment, not sure if that is correct). There are not so many new professorships so either we stop hiring males for the next 10 years or we accept that this will take time and the old, ever-sexist dinosaurs in academia are not going to live forever. Even female nobel laureates like christiane nüsslein-vollhard say that the unequal numbers are not only a result of discrimination but also of the fact that women often aim for different things. Academia was never the place were you could work part-time or care for a family. Most of the male scientists with permanent positions do very little about their kids or the household. They just have a wife who does it and that was my main point. Academia immediately discriminates everyone, regardless of gender if he or she can't give the 110%. In the institute I was before, there was a really good post doc with a great publication record that got offered a group leader position (tenure track) abroad and in the end she turned it down because her (female !) "bosses" communicated that it is not enough to work just 45 hours a week (because of small children that you want to see from time to time). I don't believe that it is still so much sexism, it is more that the things academia demands are completely contradictory to what most women want. I know several female PIs and those are the kind of workaholics, who you write an email during their holidays without expecting anything back soon and you get a response 5 mins later, even in late hours. There are maybe just fewer "freaks" among women that are willing to work an enormous amount of time and to subordinate everything else to make a career in academia happen. One of my male friends in a company who recently became a dad had serious trouble when he wanted to stay 6 months at home to care for the kid so his girlfriend could start working again after her break. The boss already communicated that this will cost him a promotion. He will do it anyway. There are just assholes out there who will punish every inconvenience you cause, no matter if it is justified or not.

I don't want to neglect that there is still sexism out there, I just don't think that this is still THE huge problem. I think if the Tim Hunt debate showed one thing then that scientists and universities can't afford to be sexist anymore ;)

Thread: career in academia and getting pregnant - the right time

posted
19-Jun-15, 07:23
edited about 55 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From Nesrine87:
At the end of the day, it's your choice. I feel like women in academia are already under so much pressure, it's a shame that we're made to feel so neurotic about a natural process! (not calling you neurotic, more calling myself that)


I think it is not just women specific (pregnancy ofc but not the issue in general). I don't like it that academia is always presented as this boys club that is specifically discriminating women. It is more a general discrimination of people who are not 110% commiting to academia. This affects women more often but try to work part time to support your working wife with the kids as a man or try to avoid a 70h week and you get exactly the same incomprehension.
As as there are enough women and men willing to work 24/7, people who can't will be discriminated. No matter if it is because they get pregnant or because of any other reason. Don't wanna trivialize the issue but I think this is a general problem in academia and also companies for men and women.

Thread: career in academia and getting pregnant - the right time

posted
19-Jun-15, 07:11
edited about 3 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From annabelle9090:

On the other hand, I could wait until I finish my PhD, get a job, and after a first 6 months of being in a job get pregnant. I am just wondering which option seems 'best' in terms of developing a career. I may be wrong but I have an impression that the first option will work better, but then... I am afraid ... I've always dreamt of working as an academic and don't want too have a baby too early if it's gonna lower my prospects - I can wait a year or two. But will the university be happier if I wait? Or will it work better if I try to do it now? Recently these thoughts are on my mind all the time!


I would not wait until you are 6 months in job. If you hire someone and the person is "immediately" on maternity leave this is often badly received by others. As if you were just waiting to have the position secure to drop out.
I think it is hard to make a good timing as an academic but probably the PhD is the better option.

Thread: Reply to Postdoc application (USA)

posted
18-Jun-15, 07:18
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From KimWipes:
smashing door to my face because no one holds doors for the next person


That is not true ! ;) It is anyway hard to say that a certain behaviour is "european". There is definitely something like a european culture but the countries are still too different to relate this to something like gestures.

Thread: 3 supervisors and 20 page monthly supervision papers

posted
17-Jun-15, 15:57
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Quote From Dunham:
Usually it is expected that you already have the scientific writing skills when you start your PhD. At least in natural sciences they really focus on that component during the master, as the next thing you will write during your PhD is probably a paper. How should you do that if you did not learn how?
It is definitely not normal, but maybe they do it on purpose. You should definitely talk to them.


I think a lot of people learn how to write properly, or at least improve their writing, during a PhD. The term is 'PhD student' for a reason. People are not expected to be perfect when starting a PhD.


Nobody is perfect. Even professors give their manuscripts to other contributing authors for feedback. However, there is a difference between not perfect and bad.

When, during your PhD in, let's say biology, should you learn that? What are you writing in that time? Maybe something for a conference, then of course paper (if you have something publishable) and then the PhD thesis. Maybe the expectations are different, as most UK students don't do a master (and therefore have less practice), but in the labs where I worked so far, a PhD student was expected to be able to write a structured paper in an acceptable manner. Of course you will get tons of feedbacks, you will get that as a Post Doc as well and usually also as a professor but it should not be "rubbish". I don't mean that offensive to UK students :) I just really don't get when you should learn that while working full time in the lab. I don't think that a supervisor has time to practice scientific writing with you.

Thread: 3 supervisors and 20 page monthly supervision papers

posted
17-Jun-15, 12:01
edited about 3 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Maybe it is their way to give him/her chances to improve on the writing.Usually it is expected that you already have the scientific writing skills when you start your PhD. At least in natural sciences they really focus on that component during the master, as the next thing you will write during your PhD is probably a paper. How should you do that if you did not learn how?
It is definitely not normal, but maybe they do it on purpose. You should definitely talk to them.

Thread: Considering a PhD when you know you don't want to work in academia

posted
16-Jun-15, 07:30
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
I think you're asking the right questions. I think especially neurosciences have the problem that there is only limited amount of field related jobs in industry. For instance, in the pharma research they often prefer the medical students for neuro-related applications. You could of course do a PhD just for the PhD's sake and because it is fun but who knows if you can re-enter medical writing afterwards (maybe there is something like overqualification?) ?
1) and 4) are things you can deal with but I am also the more pragmatic type and think that a degree or a PhD should lead to something and at least be a little beneficial for your career. On the other hand, if there is the deep feeling you have to do this, than it will maybe not disappear and you'll regret it later. That is something you have to ask yourself. Is it really something you have to do or is it just something that would be nice. Even if you are not actively involved in research there are ways to occupy yourself with neurosciences without doing a PhD in your freetime (there is more than enough literature on the topic ;) )

Blog: PhD Syndrome - Please Let the End Be in Sight!

posted
16-Jun-15, 07:12
edited about 4 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Tell him that he is an idiot ;) I am pretty sure that you have to return the money if you cancel the trip. The money is most likely linked to the trip so of course you cannot use it to pay bills or other expenses. Don't tell him that the money was given to YOU (that might sound selfish, as his salary is also given to HIM ;) ) but that the money was specifically given for that research trip and has to be spent on the research trip.

Thread: PhD or Masters to work in biotech/pharmaceutical industry

posted
13-Jun-15, 12:41
edited about 24 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
yeah why don't you do a MSc, go into industry, see how you like it and then if you find that you need a PhD you can do one then? I think that makes a lot of sense. I know someone who just had a BSc plus experience and then got a $60k biotech job.


I think it is not everywhere as easy to re-enter academia as it is in the UK. Especially as they apply more and more barriers in terms of age restrictions.

Thread: PhD or Masters to work in biotech/pharmaceutical industry

posted
13-Jun-15, 12:28
edited about 11 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
It is not true that a PhD makes you overqualified. The truth is, there is only a limited amount of positions in companies that require a PhD. Therefore, people with a PhD have to apply for positions that does not necessarily demand a PhD, get rejected and then say that they were overqualified. On the one hand true, but on the other hand not true, as they were just applying for the "wrong" position.

The dilemma is that everybody wants to be a leader and a great career, so 70-80% make a PhD and apply for maybe 30% of the positions. Some of them make it into a company. Some obviously don't.
With a master degree you have a lower level of education and it is true that you probably never get the head of a research team (at least in big companies you have no chances). On the other hand you sometimes have much more jobs to choose from, which limits the risk of unemployment or inappropriate work. In my opinion, it is a trade off between career and security.

It also strongly depends on the country and the subject you study. Just look for positions and check if there are a lot of positions demanding a PhD or if a master degree is just fine.

Thread: It's June already and I haven't started my Masters Dissertation yet?!! Feeling very anxious!

posted
12-Jun-15, 14:33
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Am I the only one thinking that this is depending on the subject and the aim of this master degree (do you need a good mark or do you just want to pass)?
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