Women scientist discovers real cloak of invisibility | Bleader

Friday, November 3, 2006

Women scientist discovers real cloak of invisibility

Posted By on 11.03.06 at 11:29 AM

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"My husband and I took turns attending the [scientific research conference] and playing with our daughter. When I was in mom mode, I became invisible to colleagues passing in the street of the small town in which the conference was held. When I was alone, everyone waved or stopped to chat. The difference was really striking, especially since my husband was visible whether he was with or without our daughter."

So writes the pseudonymous blogger at Scientist + Professor + Woman = Me. (And BTW, she makes a good case for pseudonymous blogging -- would you want to be that frank with your name attached? Especially when the world's full of well-educated professional guys who won't believe her?)

Fortunately, some men are also pointing out that the cultural and institutional climate of science can be hostile to women. Sean Carroll has a good post and a better discussion up at Cosmic Variance, focusing mainly on physics. Rob Knop contributes a useful taxonomy of problematic men (ranging from the minority of actual creeps down to the keep-your-head-down clueless). Meanwhile Knop's full blog post on the subject at Galactic Interactions has been taken down by order of his department chair (really! check it out!), whose writ hopefully reaches no farther.

In a more angry vein, a while back the definitely nonpseudonymous Zuska offered a darker take on what's supposed to be a feel-good story about a Fermilab physicist who faced all-but-insurmountable catch-22 problems with picking up her career after taking five years off to start a family.

None of these folks quotes Catharine MacKinnon, but they could: the field is organized so as to be perfectly fair, so long as you are either a man with a stay-at-home wife, or a woman who can impersonate one. 


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