Husbands who work long hours linked to wives quitting their jobs (especially with children)

How many hours you work per week may affect your partner's career choices.

Results show that having a husband who works 60 hours or more per week significantly increases women’s odds of quitting by 42 percent (exp[.352] = 1.42). However, having a wife who works 60 hours or more per week does not significantly affect men’s log odds of quitting.

though for those working under 60 hours:

The effect of having a spouse who works 50 hours or more per week is not significant for either men or women.

Effects are stronger in those with children:

Specifically, professional mothers’ odds of quitting increase by 2 times when their husbands work 50 hours or more, and 3.2 times when their husbands work 60 hours or more, as compared with their childless counterparts.

The interesting thing seems not to be the specific numbers, but realizing two partners' professional lives are interdependent, and that one way we can support our partners is to not work more than 60 hours per week (which seems reasonable!).

"Joking" is not an excuse for sexism

If we say derogatory comments are acceptable in the context of a joke, this basically allows anything, because anything can be construed as a joke post hoc. Suppose someone said: “Let me tell you about my trouble with blacks. Three things happen when they’re in the lab: (stereotype 1), (stereotype 2), (stereotype 3).” I think most educated people would regard this as unacceptable, even if the speaker subsequently argues that they were being ironic. However, substitute “girls” for “blacks” and for many people it becomes OK.

There are a lot of women on the Pluto New Horizons team


Ennico says it never dawned on her, until New Horizons, that she might someday be on a mission where women would outnumber the men. “From personal experience, this will be my fourth space mission, and by far this mission has the most women on it,” she said. “To be in a room full of more women than men or equal number of women and men? First of all, it feels normal, which is wonderful. Whenever it was only one woman in the room or two it always felt awkward.”

FAQ on gender equity at scholarly conferences

Good stuff here.

Q. What counts as making a good-faith effort? A. We have adapted 6 good suggestions from In brief:

  • Set yourself the task of thinking of female names
  • Since women are overrepresented at lower prestige institutions, don't stop searching once you have exhausted the people at high-prestige * institutions
  • Do a search for women's names in the relevant areas
  • Plan ahead, so that women, who might have more non-work responsibilities, have adequate time to make arrangements
  • Don't automatically structure your conference – or part of it – around an eminent man but consider building it around a woman
  • Provide adequate funding so that women, who may have fewer resources, will be able to afford to come Inquire about child care needs (for both men and women).

Steps to support women in science: #just1action4WIS

I'm not sure about the opening defense of Tim Hunt, but Athene Donald has a fantastic list of concrete steps we can take to support women in science:

  • Call out bad behaviour whenever and wherever you see it – in committees or in the street. Don’t leave women to be victimised;
  • Encourage women to dare, to take risks;
  • Act as a sponsor or mentor (if you are just setting out there will still always be people younger than you, including school children, for whom you can act);
  • Don’t let team members get away with demeaning behaviour, objectifying women or acting to exclude anyone;
  • Seek out and remove microinequities wherever you spot them;
  • Refuse to serve on single sex panels or at conferences without an appropriate level of female invited speakers;
  • Consider the imagery in your department and ensure it represents a diverse group of individuals;
  • Consider the daily working environment to see if anything inappropriate is lurking. If so, do something about it.
  • Demand/require mandatory unconscious bias training, in particular for appointment and promotion panels;
  • Call out teachers who tell girls they can’t/shouldn’t do maths, physics etc;
  • Don’t let the bold (male or female) monopolise the conversation in the classroom or the apparatus in the laboratory, at the expense of the timid (female or male);
  • Ask schools about their progression rates for girls into the traditionally male subjects at A level (or indeed, the traditionally female subjects for boys);
  • Nominate women for prizes, fellowships etc;
  • Tap women on the shoulder to encourage them to apply for opportunities they otherwise would be unaware of or feel they were not qualified for;
  • Move the dialogue on from part-time working equates to ‘isn’t serious’ to part-time working means balancing different demands;
  • Recognize the importance of family (and even love) for men and women;
  • Be prepared to be a visible role model;
  • Gather evidence, data and anecdote, to provide ammunition for management to change;
  • Listen and act if a woman starts hinting there are problems, don’t be dismissive because it makes you uncomfortable;
  • Think broadly when asked to make suggestions of names for any position or role.

Chris Chambers weighs in on Tim Hunt

Right on the mark from what I can tell. A great learning experience for how even the (apparently) nicest people can also be sexist, and how we all need to work on examining our unconscious biases (and words).

Hunt’s comments were unacceptable and stupid. He has yet to offer a full apology, which just shows how little recognition he has of sexism in science. Oh but he's old, right, so that's ok? Fuck that. My dad is the same age as Hunt, has one less Nobel prize, grew up in 1950s Australia (AKA Betty Crocker Central) and could teach him a thing or two about equality.

“Help! My adviser won’t stop looking down my shirt!”

Sad story, good take from Dr. Isis.

The last part is most important. Alice’s advice is that she needs this person for his professional guidance and future recommendations. Start working to make that less true. Find other mentors at your university who you can establish a track record so that if one relationship goes to shit, you have a history with other people who might advocate for you. Your future should never be in one person’s hands.

Inside higher ed has a summary of the whole debacle.

The Motherhood+PublicPower Index

I haven't looked at the details of the index, but I like the idea.

When approximately 40 percent of the US population are mothers, how can we be satisfied with just 14 percent representation in the halls of power? And with more than 3 out of every 4 of the most powerful positions held by fathers, clearly having children need not act as a barrier to public influence.

Measuring things can really help.

Scientists share their stories of sexism in publishing

Following up on #AddMaleAuthorGate, some of the many tales of sexism still rampant in academia.

One of Sang’s bad experiences came from a paper in which she tracked patterns of co-authorship in a leading journal in her field over the course of 10 years. She found that white men frequently publish together, whereas female and minority scientists are more often at the periphery of these networks.

“One of the reviewers argued that the reason there are so few women and black academics in the social networks is because the research they produced just isn’t good enough to get into the top journals — and the editor agreed,” Sang said.

Increasing diversity at your conference

Great compilation of advice from Ashe Dreyden. Tech-centered but a lot of it is very applicable to academice conferences, too.

The easiest way to get feedback on your efforts is to publically state what you've tried and ask for contructive criticism. Be transparent and truthful. I've seen many conferences write blog posts about what they've done to address the issue of the lack of diversity and the positive or negative results that they ended up with. This is important for a few reasons: it signals that this is important to you and that you are open to more ideas as well as letting people within marginalized groups know that you are considering their needs and the reality of their situations.

Calling attention to meetings with skewed speaker gender ratios, even when it hurts, part 2

Great post from Jonathan Eisen.

Why is this important? Well, speaking at a meeting is important for people's careers. It helps in merit and promotion and tenure cases. It helps get their work recognized and known. Speaking at a meeting is also good practice for speaking at other meetings. Having diverse speakers also is important in terms of providing role models to attendees. And having diverse speakers helps a meeting not just be about the same old, white, men talking about their ideas. Or, in other words, it makes a meeting more, well, diverse. And almost certainly more interesting. And so on.

Representation of women in the journal Cognition (PDF)

Great letter from Klatzky, Holt, and Behrmann (Carnegie Mellon).

Perusing the table of contents, we were struck by the fact that among the 19 authors listed for the 12 articles, only one female author was present. While the substantive content of the issue may persuade us that the face of cognition is changing, it appears that changes in gender distribution are not to be expected. The face of cognitive science will remain unequivocally male.

Jonathan Eisen's suggestions for having diverse speakers at meetings

  1. Do not try to invite only the famous people or the people doing the "top" work. This usually biases one towards more established researchers (as in, older) and this alas also usually is accompanied by distortion of diversity.

  2. DO try to invite people across the breadth of career stages. Meetings to me should not be only about getting the PIs whose labs are doing the best work to talk. It should also be about giving opportunities to junior researchers - PhD students, post docs and junior faculty who are doing exciting work - perhaps more focused or smaller scale - but nevertheless exciting. If one opens up a invited speaker list to people at diverse career stages one generally greatly increases the gender and ethnic diversity.

10 simple rules to achieve conference speaker gender balance

Rule 2: Develop a Speaker Policy

A speaker policy captures what the committee is trying to achieve for its members and audience when putting together the speaker program. It can also help the committee measure outcome. A policy may state, for example, that the conference committee wants to achieve a gender balance of speakers that roughly reflects that of its audience. Depending on the conference or meeting, the policy might include scientific diversity, geographical distribution, ethnicity, and level of seniority in the speaker policy.

I don't see a lot of speaker policies for conferences I attend or know about - either they don't exist, or aren't advertised.

Calling attention to poor speaker gender ratio - even when it hurts

Great example of how to be proactive about equality from Jonathan Eisen.

If this was a symposium outside UC Davis the first thing I would do would be to post about it. To Twitter or my blog or both. And to critique them. Why? Because there is a bad history in STEM fields of having meetings and conferences have under-representation of women as speakers. And this has become a passion of mine and I write about it a lot. But I hesitated. Why? Because this was from UC Davis and many of the people involved are friends / colleagues. I did not want to anger them, or embarrass them. And I don't think there is any intentional bias here by any means. But, if I am going to critique people outside UC Davis, it seems like I should also apply the same standards to people inside UC Davis and to colleagues and friends.

The sad state of parental leave in the United States


And on the list of countries that mandate zero paternity leave is the United States. At least the U.S. is an equal opportunity denier. There is also no legally required maternity leave. For both parents, leave is up to the employer.

When leave is granted, the family benefits. Jody Heymann, dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, points to research from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showing that fathers who take leave after a child is born — especially those who take at least two weeks off — are more likely to be involved in childcare in the first years of life. OECD research also found that children with highly involved fathers perform better on cognitive tests.