Lean in?

by L

McKinsey/Lean In’s report on women in the workplace just came out. What are Totebaggers’ thoughts?

Women in the Workplace 2016

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240 thoughts on “Lean in?

  1. At my high tech employer, I think women have an advantage over men for moving into/up in management. Female engineers tend to be better multitaskers and communicators than male engineers . Women who are childless or have stay-at-home spouses achieve at least as well as men at my company. The R&D director is and has been, to my knowledge, unpartnered and her work has been well-regarded in cities around the world.

    In my experience, it’s women with children who struggle. I simply haven’t observed discrimination against women because they are women (including no discrimination against lesbian women) at any company I’ve worked at.

  2. My experience is the same as WCE. There are women of color who are senior level managers but they don’t have the work/family juggle. One senior woman of color was very candid about this in an open forum because before, it was always you must take advantage of every opportunity etc.
    I know a few women who leaned in later in their careers, after their kids grew up.

  3. I used to think there was no discrimination against women, and the main problem was simply women who had children and too much to do at home. That is, until I took the job in the healthcare IT consultancy. At that company, I saw the toxic mix of ageism and sexism first hand. Women over about 35 were simply discounted. Women in general were perceived as not technnical. Men who were absolute technical idiots were placed in positions that required a lot of knowledge of technical systems. Not suprisingly, the company had a lot of problems and made a lot of mistakes which were always causing problems down the road. And everyone who could, got out of there quickly.

    The chair in my department is secretly sexist. He has a consistent pattern of bullying women on the tenure track, asking them to do all kinds of administrative and secretarial tasks for him. He gives the male tenure trackers the glory assignments in contrast. I can remember being forced to sit with an older male colleague to fix his Powerpoint mistakes (at a time when I barely knew Powerpoint myself), and another night, being called at 8pm by the chair, who wanted me to reformat a whole slew of documents for him, by 11. And of course this was a night that I had promised my kid that I would help on a project. I ended up with a kid in tears, and eating my dinner at midnight, to get this appallingly insulting task done. I was so angry. Now, he can’t do that to me. But I have asked the other two women on the track, and they tell me they are getting those requests now.

    So yeah, now I have been radicalized

  4. I suspect the military and academia are the worst places for sexism, because you are basically trapped in your situation with no recourse about a bad boss. In healthcare, corporate America or K-12 education, it’s easier to change jobs and you are less subject to the whims of a single, sexist person.

  5. “I suspect the military and academia are the worst places for sexism, because you are basically trapped in your situation with no recourse about a bad boss”

    Trapped? On average, one of you will be transferred in about two years.

  6. Two years is actually too high an estimate. In a three-year tour, I worked for five different department heads, three XOs, and two COs.

  7. K-12 education

    Isn’t it almost impossible to change jobs due to it being a seniority based system?

  8. As a woman who has always worked in male dominated industries, I have to say that all of the barriers ring true in my experience. My boss gives equally qualified candidates different titles and different pay. Most recently a guy of color was hired as VP. A woman with slightly more experience of equivalent relevance and a MBA was hired as an Associate after I persuaded him that hiring her as a Senior Analyst is completely unjustified. The guy is given the benefit of the doubt. My boss is 50 and told me has never managed a working mother in a professional role. I think there would be fewer barriers to my rising in the ranks if I had a stay at home spouse but that does not work for my family.

    The thing that irked me the most while here is when every male (50+ people) was invited to go to one of the manager’s cabins in the wood for a get together. It is the only time I have overtly been excluded due to my gender. I confessed to a senior colleague that it made me incredibly angry and he could not understand why it bothered me.

  9. I feel work/family conversations have gotten better since my early career. In some groups family was just not mentioned. You could be nine months pregnant but it was as if the pregnancy never existed. I was in one such group and had to transfer out because there was no way to work that schedule with an infant.

  10. Rhett, in K-12, it’s pretty easy to go to another building under another principal, unless you’re a high school teacher in a district with only one high school, I suppose. The union rules also mean that “how your boss treats you” is often the least of your worries. My teacher friend (also a union rep) devoted extensive time to getting rid of a teacher who became addicted to meth. Without union rules, the process would have been less complicated.

  11. My boss is 50 and told me has never managed a working mother in a professional role.

    I’m amazed that still exists. In your case, is it at the industry level or is it due to a specific company culture?

  12. I definitely feel like there is still a double standard for women. Leaders need to be assertive – but women can’t be too assertive or they risk being seen as “not nice.” Women need to smile – but not too much.

  13. Compensation is definitely a no-win situation. If a woman accepts a job but is paid less than male peers, it’s her fault for not negotiating. If she does try to negotiate, she is seen as pushy.

  14. I think issues like this are very manager dependent. I have had male managers with working wives who are fantastic to work for, and are all about just getting the work done. I have had both make and female managers who have a point to make publicly about how they will not give women “special treatment” just because they have kids. One of these managers routinely took work away from a single, childless guy on the team who was incompetent and gave it to me, so I was always carrying a heavier workload than the others on my team. But if I needed to work from home on a random day, she was horrible about it. I quickly learned to say I was sick, not that my child was sick. If it was me sick, working from home was fine.

    Anon – I had a similar situation where I was the only female on the team and “the team”, except me, had a golf outing on a workday. I was expected to come in and finish up a project since I didn’t play golf. I was very angry, too.

    Now that my kids are all independent and driving, I do plan to try to ramp up my career. I am spending a huge amount of time babysitting some of my colleagues on work I haven’t done in more than a year. I plan to broach the subject of getting back into a management role if they’re going to be giving me that work anyway.

  15. I wanted to add that the women of color that the company touts as examples have credentials from top schools, in addition to being good at their jobs. I see less of the credential requirement for others. It is almost as if these women have been identified in college, companies hire them and they realize that to move up one can’t have home responsibilities.

  16. It is industry, company and geography. I am in a very paternalistic city that is not on a coast and work for a company in a neighboring state that is even more conservative. I would guess that on average I have under earned male counterparts by at least $500,000-$700,000 (cumulative) in the 13 years since I finished my MBA.

  17. Similar to the cabin anecdote, I was excluded from a “guys only” fishing trip with the company owner. It was especially insulting as two of my reports were invited and they all tried to keep it secret. I was secretly happy when I heard that my boss, who I believe was behind the exclusion, spent most of the time seasick.

    On the upside, my current boss is female and treats me better than the guys that are my peers.

    In a recent meeting/webex announcing the latest reorg, I joked to a peer that this time, for upper management not only do you have be a middle-aged white guy, but it apparently helped if you were named “John.” There were 4 Johns.

  18. “So yeah, now I have been radicalized.”

    “In healthcare, corporate America or K-12 education, it’s easier to change jobs and you are less subject to the whims of a single, sexist person.”

    My dad spent 15+ years arguing with me that it was all about the pipeline, that you can’t blame corporate America for not having women at the highest levels when so few women came out with MBAs or JDs 20-30 years before. My stepmom at the time was #2 in the legal office of a Fortune 50(??) company. She was told to be considered for the General Counsel role, she needed hands-on experience in operations and in other geographical areas, so they sent her overseas to manage the company’s entire operations in a huge area. Two years into her tour, they reorganized the legal department and promoted six middle-aged white guys who had never left HQ or worked in operations ahead of her.

    Yeah, she left, and she found another job and ultimately made it to GC. But it cost her probably 10 years in “lesser” roles (with lesser pay) than if she’d been considered fairly with the men.

    My dad is now radicalized.

  19. Four Joshes and five Matthews here. We have seven TV’s tuned to sports all day and we aren’t in the sports industry. I drew the line at female MMA fighting and made them switch the channel.

  20. I am qualifying a change to a process that has been problematic for 5 years and has cost us thousands of tech hours. I got to take it over after its previous owner retired. It appears that my new, unique approach will eliminate the problem that has cost us so many man hours. In light of today’s post, I will admit my mental response to my tech’s compliment today, “You da man!” was, “Dude, I’m BETTER than the man was.”

  21. We also deal with the road to hell being paved with good intentions issue. E.g., someone comes back with maternity leave, big new case comes in, well-meaning partner says, “oh, we don’t want to burden X with all that travel, let’s have Y do that.” But the end result is fewer opportunities to learn, fewer opportunities to impress important clients, and fewer opportunities to make a big impact on major matter.

    OTOH, DH was having trouble a few years ago with a female manager — he thought the world of her work and so promoted her and kept actively looking for opportunities to put her in front of a broader audience, with clients, etc. Turns out she didn’t want to be a manager but didn’t feel like she could turn the promotion down and so was being all passive-aggressive about stuff.

    The problem comes when you assume you know what is best for someone, in either direction. Just ask. Talk. Develop a plan. Execute. With all your people.

  22. In healthcare, corporate America or K-12 education, it’s easier to change jobs and you are less subject to the whims of a single, sexist person.
    Hahahahahahahahaha. Just because you can leave, doesn’t mean you are free from the impacts of sexism on your career. It’s easy to point out the specific sexist examples (e.g. my coworker informing everyone I was the team secretary because I was the only female on the team), but it is the subtle sexism that is hard to call out (e.g. being called bossy, pushy, or aggressive when you give your opinion, negotiate etc.).

  23. I had lunch recently with an old friend who is in the field my DD is pursuing, and brought my daughter. My friend was talking to her about all sorts of career related things, and included “and for the love of God, never admit to knowing how to make coffee.” She spent a little time going off on the subtle sexism of being put in the secretary role when every friggin’ guy in the room could make the copies, or the coffee, or order/cut the cake, etc. I guess it’s good for DD to know coming in what to push back against.

  24. It absolutely depends on both the manager and the company. I have had vastly different experiences at different companies and with different managers and coworkers. For example, it also matters who runs the teams that you partner with or support.

    “It’s easy to point out the specific sexist examples (e.g. my coworker informing everyone I was the team secretary because I was the only female on the team), but it is the subtle sexism that is hard to call out (e.g. being called bossy, pushy, or aggressive when you give your opinion, negotiate etc.).”

    Amen.

  25. I guess I see subtle sexism going both ways. If Mr WCE had taken time off with the kids, it would probably receive more scrutiny when he sought another job than my taking time off with the kids did. Because it’s so common for women (especially those with professional husbands) to take time off, I think the re-entry is less difficult for SAHM’s than it is for SAHD’s in my industry.

    In short, both sexes suffer when they don’t conform to expectations. I’m not sure if this is sexism or not.

  26. I do think men suffer more when they don’t conform to expectations (i.e., are the SAH parent). But I do think that is different from what many women have faced. I worked in a very male dominated field. Some of the things that men did and said were beyond the pale. By way of example, it is not acceptable to hold a meeting at a strip club. And I did have the other end of the spectrum with the last guy for whom I did a lot of work. He went out of his way to make sure I was treated fairly and given credit.

  27. I started working in financial services in the late 80s, and things are definitely better in the industry. Are they great? NO, but there is progress at some of the firms. I hope it continues to improve as more women stay in the workforce. I see a big shift in my neighborhood in the numbers of women that continue to work full time after starting a family. They continue to work in law, finance and other professions that require them to be in the pipeline to keep getting promoted. There were very few women when I commuted on the early trains 15 years ago. I know that some of these women stay because it’s not as common among their peer group to stop working. Some start to work flex or part time, but many seem to be staying in the work force. They use technology in a way that didn’t exist when I had to travel for a week every month. A simple thing like FaceTime is a way for traveling parents to help with homework, show a hotel room or new city, or just feel much more connected during dinner etc.

    I am old enough to see that some of my friends and colleagues that took the “mommy track”, but stayed part time – were able to ramp back up to full time when they were ready for that time commitment. Their pay is definitely not comparable to trainees that we started with and stayed full time. I think this is some what fair for the number of hours they worked, or even the types of jobs that they held during this period. Other people were doing the very heavy lifting of long hours to close deals, and traveling all over the world. A couple of them manage large divisions, and it didn’t take them more than a couple of years to regain the respect and responsibility that they temporarily gave up 10 – 15 years ago.

    All of that said, there is still bias in the workplace. I see women that manage other women commit this behavior too when women become pregnant or get married. I think I once shared the story that my female managers had to choose between a woman and a man for a promotion. My female manager told me that she chose the guy because he had three kids and he had to repave his driveway. The woman was single, and she said she could wait six months. I was so disappointed to learn that some women are just as guilty of this behavior. I have tried to follow the “push and pull” rule for other women in the organizations where I have worked when I think they deserve merit and promotions. I’ve also supported flex work arrangements for some of the young dads that I’ve managed because I think that is a key equalizer that might change the workplace in financial services. If the flex time/part time benefits are used by men and women instead of just women.

  28. At a recent campaign event, Clinton said, “Like a lot of women, I have a tendency to over prepare. I sweat the details.” Leaving aside the issue whether we actually WANT a President who fits that description, it does ring true for many professional/academic women I know, including the students who are professionals-in-training. Back in the day, women had to sweat the details and over-prepare because there were a lot fewer of us at the table with the guys, and we had to prove that we belonged there. But do younger women still have the mentality that Clinton describes?

  29. I just want to echo what Ivy said because firm culture does seem to make a huge difference. I see lots of women treated with respect and fair pay in my husband’s company even when they have flexible work arrangements. They are not dinged in their total comp because they have a flex arrangement. Bonus seems to be solely based on firm and individual performance. This was NOT the case when I worked for the American branch of a European bank. The bonus numbers were ultimately determined in another country, and the managers were all white men with stay at home spouses. The culture in that country was not the same as the US, and women did not receive equal pay for the same work. I saw it time, and time again. That was in the last ten years so the problems are greater at certain companies.

  30. Based on my observations over 10+ years in an area where details really matter, it is an unmitigated disaster if a woman isn’t detail oriented and messes that kind of stuff up (and will be counseled out ASAP). And even in my marriage, I am the one who handles all of the details. According to my husband, I am just better at that kind of stuff. I call bullshit, but I do care a lot more than he does about the details.

  31. My DH is loved by the women he works with who have kids because he does the school pickup each day. He gets dinged some by the men, but not as much as women do. I also think he benefits that a lot people assume he’s going to a meeting or whatever. There was an article about how men manipulate their jobs for work-life balance. They benefit from sexism in that people assume that men who leave earlier are going to a meeting but that a woman is dealing with child related matters.

    I believe the way to reduce sexism is to take gender out of policies. Require men to take time off when children are born etc.

    I’m pretty fired up from the Trump tapes. The low expectations for men is pretty sexist and disappointing – like my son’s are expected to speak crudely because they are men and will be on locker rooms. I know this is the wrong thread but it all ties in together. Maybe I read WCE’s comments the wrong way in that she doesn’t think sexism exists in the workplace or that it isn’t really bad because she isn’t impacted or that it is just the way things are.

  32. “Require men to take time off when children are born etc. ”

    REQUIRE people to take time off??? Who’s going to be doing the requiring? Surely you don’t think that it’s the government’s role to tell me when I’m not allowed to work.

  33. Surely you don’t think that it’s the government’s role to tell me when I’m not allowed to work.

    How is that any different from the government requiring that you only hire those it deems worthy of working in the US?

  34. My DH had 6 weeks paid paternity leave. He is one of very few that took it (twice). It is a benefit given to everyone but the culture is that nobody should take it.

    A lot of companies have paid paternity leave, and I think if we could make it more mandatory or at least acceptable to use the benefit, it’d help to reduce bias against woman of childbearing age. He was dinged some for taking it, but if both sixes took leave, then there wouldn’t be a gender bias.

    I’m not a politician (something I have in common with Trump), so I wouldn’t know the best way to implement a policy that provides incentives for greater expectations that men will take on more child rearing roles.

  35. “How is that any different from the government requiring that you only hire those it deems worthy of working in the US?”

    Because I’m a U.S. citizen? That still matters, you know.

  36. The young women I teach definitely tend to overprepare compared to their male counterparts. That hasn’t changed.

  37. Because I’m a U.S. citizen? That still matters, you know.

    That kind of excessive government regulation seems like a huge burden on America’s job creators. Why shouldn’t America’s business have the freedom to hire the best person for the job?

  38. Kate I worked in a field like that but a guy who messed up details would also be dinged.

  39. The firm where I worked encouraged men to take paternity leave by only giving them an adjustment to their required billable hours if they took the whole thing. Most men wanted to take at least a bit of time off, so they all ended up taking the full thing. It was a pretty good carrot.

  40. The young women I teach definitely tend to overprepare compared to their male counterparts

    By overprepare, I assume you mean prepare past the point where they are adding value?

  41. I definitely believe sexism exists. But lots of today’s conversation has involved professional jobs in high paid industries. What about the fact that there are no male teachers at Baby WCE’s childcare? Is that sexism too?

    It’s really, incredibly hard to treat people as individuals, without making assumptions based on their age, culture or sex. I may be worse than the average Totebagger, maybe because I can’t imagine the world working without those assumptions.

    In the workforce, norms are created based on the preferences of people, and those preferences are associated with age, culture and sex. A group with lots of people from India is more likely to figure out a way to manage month-long trips to India than a group with one such person. My sister observed that in the group with mostly part-time women, lunch meetings were fine but scheduling a meeting that ended after 3:30 should be avoided. She has mostly worked with male engineers, and they prefer not to schedule meetings during lunch. Some of you have horrendous stories, and I haven’t seen things like that since I worked with the UAW over 20 years ago. But for most issues, I have to be convinced that the issue is “sexism” and not “you aren’t like everyone else in the group.”

  42. I would rather let families make their own decisions regarding how to best care for their children. Forcing men to take paternity leave when they would rather be working — for whatever reason — is not a great idea.

  43. When Baby WCE was born, Mr WCE had two weeks of paternity leave and took it, but he was in the middle of interviewing candidates and so did several hours of interviews and meetings in addition to keeping up with e-mail during that time- there was no one else to interview candidates or keep the global project on track. He didn’t work full-time, but he clearly wasn’t “off” either, and if the project had failed due to staffing, there would be long-term ramifications. In contrast, in the two weeks after birth, I am so out of it that I avoid any interaction with my work colleagues for fear of embarrassing myself.

  44. “Forcing men to take paternity leave when they would rather be working — for whatever reason — is not a great idea.”

    Agreed. It also begins to suggest that DW’s long-time preference to NOT continue working (at least not full time) after we had children was somehow a less-legitimate choice.

  45. I have worked for bosses that thought poorly of women and I got away from them quickly. I have one awful story, but the synopsis is that a male boss tried to bully me into taking a bad evaluation that was unfounded and would result in me being ineligible for any raise for 12 months. When I stood up for myself he backed down, but only after HR was pulled in.

    I also worked for a woman who was a bully towards her employees in general, but more so to the men. She would put you in situations that the only “win” was to get out of the department. A male coworker filed a hostile work environment complaint that eventually led to her resignation.

  46. “In short, both sexes suffer when they don’t conform to expectations. I’m not sure if this is sexism or not.”

    Well of course it is. What you are really wondering about is the extent to which this is a problem that should be solved.

    ITA with Lauren. The most effective way to combat sexism is to turn it from a “women’s” issue into something that affects men, too. Someone has to take care of the kids; someone has to run to school for the bloody noses, cover the sick days, etc. That tends to be mom. Fine if you choose it. But the problem is that both genders suffer if they choose the other way around. Per the above, dad gets dinged for failing to live up to stereotypes; but mom is likely already making less money because folks assume she isn’t as committed anyway. Remember this article from a few months ago? http://www.vox.com/2016/8/1/12108126/gender-wage-gap-explained-real.

    If we lived in a world where people were actually paid based on what they brought to the table, I’d be happy as a clam. But it bothers me when decisions are made based on ingrained stereotypes, because that ends up hurting everyone who doesn’t follow the norm. It’s also short-sighted and bad business — but of course, that assumes you see you employees as assets and not just a line-item on the expense ledger.

  47. When my kids were child care age, between 18 months and 5 years old, there were 3 male child care workers. All three were great with kids, but some of the moms wondered why young men (all between 20 and 30) would want that job.

    Rhett – Over prepare in my experience looks like this – (1) male puts his power point together the day before. Goes to the presentation and for almost every question says, I’ll get back to you on that. The primarily men in the room nod and say OK we’ll look for that emai. (2) female puts her power point together the week before, asks someone else to look at it, lets it sit a couple of days and then looks at comments plus her own fresh eyes look and revises. Then spends some time thinking about what the audience might ask and prepares those answers usually including some data. Goes to the presentation, if she is asked a question she doesn’t have an answer for, and says I’ll get back to you on that. The primarily men in the room nod, then after she leaves make comments to the effect that she wasn’t very prepared.

  48. Even though they claim to be “pro-choice,” there are many on the left who seem to resent those whose choices in gender roles are more traditional. Women, especially highly-educated professional women are told that they are traitors to the cause if they want to cut back or outright quit when they have kids. Men are scolded for not taking paternity leave and told that they are reinforcing outdated gender norms and setting a bad example for younger colleagues.
    Some choices must be wrong.

  49. Austin, if the men are going to react that way, why does the woman waste her time over preparing?

  50. Scarlett – You sadly have a point there. I think as humans we have the intellectual statement that the “choice” should be the right one for you, but on the emotional side, we judge others. This leads to the problem of people thinking “their” choice is right for everyone, which by definition means someone else’s choice is wrong. Human beings apply judgment to many things – the right things to spend money on, the right kind of dwelling to live in, the right qualities to value and/or over look in a partner.

    Look at here — many of us would agree in theory, you spend your money on your values, but also many would judge a family as being foolish to spend all their money on fancy trips while not saving for Junior’s education.

  51. In my experience, the over-prepared often CAN answer every question and leaves with the same respect as the men. The *problem* is that it took her doing a lot more to earn the same respect.

  52. Austin,

    Did the quality of the presentation indicate that she overprepared? If the unwritten assumption is that it should be thrown together and not take more than 4 hours and you polish it for 16 hours, it’s going to rub everyone the wrong way.

  53. LfB is always more articulate than I am – “Fine if you choose it. But the problem is that both genders suffer if they choose the other way around.”

    The problem in AustinMom’s story is that the bar is a lot higher for the woman to succeed and to get to the next level. She has to overprepare because she can’t afford mistakes like her male counterpart can.

    I think it is great for both men and women to choose what works best for them. I’m not arguing that people who step away from the workforce to care for their families shouldn’t get dinged. I’m saying that women shouldn’t get dinged before they make that decision based on gender norms.

    I don’t judge those who decide to stay home or follow more traditional gender roles. Frankly, I think being a stay-at-home-parent is about the most difficult thing to do, especially in the early years. I would have been terrible at it. I was grateful that I had the choice to work vs. stay at home when my kids were young because my kids were intense and working was like a daily vacation.

  54. Rhett – I think tcmama’s comment hits the nail on the head: “The problem in AustinMom’s story is that the bar is a lot higher for the woman to succeed and to get to the next level. She has to overprepare because she can’t afford mistakes like her male counterpart can.”

    In my world, the audience doesn’t really know how long it took, but the team in the office does. I think the male’s presentation more often looks less polished, but the audience gives him the benefit of the doubt (juggling many projects), but if the female’s looked like that she’s called unprepared (must have had a sick kid).

  55. “There was an article about how men manipulate their jobs for work-life balance. They benefit from sexism in that people assume that men who leave earlier are going to a meeting but that a woman is dealing with child related matters.”

    That article really stuck with me. I definitely think this happens. Both genders take advantage of flexibility, but it is always assumed that if a woman takes off early, it is family-related, whereas men do no get that kind of scrutiny. I think this also ties into the fact that sometimes single people feel as though they are forced to pick up the slack for those with families, moms in particular. One thing that I try to do as a manager and peer is make it clear that everyone’s outside obligations are important – I am willing to cover for people who have non-family obligations too, even though my own reasons for needing flex here & there are more often family-related.

    tcmama – I also think that it is generally a good thing if men feel more free to take advantage of flexibility and benefits. One positive thing that I have seen over the past few years is that is has become much more normal and accepted that men will take their paternity leave within my organization. Even up through the senior management team (officers, not c-suite). I don’t know about legislating it, but I think the very top of organizations making it known that it is accepted and normal for men to take advantage of flex/parent benefits is a very good thing for both genders.

    As far as being over-prepared, I tend to see that more as a personality thing with the 20 and 30-somethings that I work with. There are some people who are just detail-oriented in that way where it is clearly very painful for them to wing it or to do something “just good enough”. This is good and bad depending on the role & the situation. Sometimes you need a swag or a gut call, and sometimes you need someone who is going to make sure every “i” is dotted perfectly.

  56. A million years ago, I was a whitewater rafting guide. We worked oar boats, down an 80-mile stretch of river – it was my own power that moved the boat, not a bunch of paddling tourists.

    There was a forest service ranger, a well-respected boatwoman, who pulled me aside after my first trip and told me, “You can’t ever get in trouble. You’re not a guy – you will never have the arm strength to save yourself. You will be at the mercy of the river. You have to learn to read the water and plan so you are always where you want to be.” I heard that in in my head, every time I was looking down, above a big rapid.

    I think the last 2 decades might have gone more smoothly had I realized this was a metaphor for life.

  57. As for paternity leave, I think that some of the democratic socialist nations have a method that goes something like this. The new parents get say (as a gov’t benefit, mind you), 12 months to split however they want, as long one of the two takes at least 3 mos. Otherwise it is just 9 mos. It is an incentive, not a mandate.

  58. In my early career workplace both men and women were told that I don’t know was acceptable if you couldn’t answer that one last question. Also “I am sorry” wasn’t to be front and center for minor errors. Send out a revision and point out what changed and why if necessary. If you got heat for so be it.

  59. I have to be convinced that the issue is “sexism” and not “you aren’t like everyone else in the group.”

    When difference in the latter part is because you are female, then it is the definition of sexism.

    I find all these posts/stories interesting because they are so opposite my experience. Apparently I’ve been extremely fortunate because every place I’ve worked in the last 20 years has been extremely accommodating of people of both genders who need to handle personal and family issues.

  60. (1) male puts his power point together the day before. Goes to the presentation and for almost every question says, I’ll get back to you on that. The primarily men in the room nod and say OK we’ll look for that emai.

    Really? I’d be thinking why is this guy wasting our time when he can’t answer any questions.

  61. Here’s a different example: A group I worked in had a known window of crunch time and everyone was told to make back up plans for any living person or animal that was dependent upon you and then make a back up plan for the back up plan. Plus, most days during that period, we worked past 6 pm. Everyone knew it was part of the job, as it was clearly laid out in the interview/hiring process.

    Then we got a single dad in the department, who had his child one day a week during the week and generally, every other weekend. At the time, my youngest and his child were the same age. He refused to make backup plans and would always get to go home on that one night of the week on time. Even the men in the department we shocked. At one point, another male employee was complaining to the manager and brought up my name. The manager asked me if I thought it was unfair to let this single dad who saw his daughter so infrequently to get to go home on time. I said yes it was because during crunch time, I left home before my same age daughter was up and I got home after she was in bed. So, even though I lived in the same house, I was not seeing her any more than he saw his daughter. The manager was shocked by my answer and the next week everyone with children was allowed to go home on time once a week.

  62. “I have to be convinced that the issue is “sexism” and not “you aren’t like everyone else in the group.” When difference in the latter part is because you are female, then it is the definition of sexism.

    There are so many definitions of sexism, I really don’t know what it is. Part of the reason Mr WCE had to cover interviews and project management after Baby WCE’s birth is that his manager had recently had her first baby and, since they were the two senior leaders in the group, he had been covering those responsibilities during her leave of absence. In his view, “It’s easier to be the father of a newborn than the mother of a newborn.”

    If it’s sexist to recognize that it’s easier to be the parent NOT breastfeeding a newborn, maybe sexism needs a new definition.

  63. “I think the male’s presentation more often looks less polished, but the audience gives him the benefit of the doubt (juggling many projects), but if the female’s looked like that she’s called unprepared (must have had a sick kid).”

    My experience is that, in general, men who are winging it don’t apologize for not being able to answer a completely predictable question, where women who are overprepared will apologize for not anticipating a question that was completely out of left field. Rhett posted a link to an Atlantic article a few weeks ago that explored this issue, but I can’t remember enough of the details to find it.

  64. Can I hijak? We are planning to get a new bed and are seriously looking at an adjustable bed, which might help DH with his snoring. Does anyone have an adjustable bed? Would you recommend it? Since a regular bed would be less than 50% of the price of an adjustable bed, is it worth it?

  65. I think the Sweden approach that Meme alludes to above is the best – shared parental leave, but men must take X number of weeks/months or else it is forfeited. It must become a norm and not an outlier for the gendered assumptions and dings to diminish. I’d rather it be mandatory for everyone for the first few years so that the norm-changing is faster, but that would never pass. ;)

    10% of the lawyers in my firm are now women with small kids – doesn’t sound like a lot but is now the second-largest cohort behind the 80% guys-with-older-kids-and-SAHM-wives.

  66. Cpap did more for snoring issues than position. Does proping up on multiple pillows help? I am told if it doesn’t then the adjustable won’t help either.

  67. Scarlett – That over apologizing thing is so damaging. I work with middle school girls who apologize for everything. I try to explain the difference in accepting responsibility and expressing empathy. Do do use apology words for empathy!

  68. L – what is the likelihood that those women will continue to work ? I found that as the juggle got tough lots of women decided it wasn’t worth it to continue particularly those with high earning spouses.

  69. Houston you can try renting a hospital bed to see whether being able to change positions helps. Very cheap for short term

  70. If it’s sexist to recognize that it’s easier to be the parent NOT breastfeeding a newborn, maybe sexism needs a new definition.

    How does that have any relevance to the issue of men excluding women simply because they are female?

  71. Louise – well, we have all had our second kids (and I had a third) and are still going a few years later. I think most of us make half of the household income at least and are not inclined to quit.

  72. L – what is the likelihood that those women will continue to work ? I found that as the juggle got tough lots of women decided it wasn’t worth it to continue particularly those with high earning spouses.

    This goes to the idea that women usually don’t marry “down”. So there’s always an assumption that a married woman working at a high level position has a husband who is at a similar or higher-level.

  73. Austin, were the childless people at your office upset that they didn’t get the weekly respite?

  74. Austin: Spending all that money and not correcting the snoring is my biggest worry.

    Scarlett: Great idea! We’ll look into that.

  75. “So there’s always an assumption that a married woman working at a high level position has a husband who is at a similar or higher-level.”

    Isn’t that an assumption based on reality rather than stereotypes?

  76. I was passed over for partnership, in a field where partnership is virtually guaranteed. I am certain it had to do with my gender. A month or two prior to the vote, the partners made a list of all the non-partners and asked each other to rank everyone (they were considering firing a few people). Out of 15 people ranked, 6/7 of the top were men, 6/8 of the bottom were women (the other two in the bottom half were the black guy and the sociopathic guy). My field involves individual shift work, so one can go weeks without signing out to a specific person. It is very hard to judge the quality of anyone’s work in that situation. That didn’t stop them – of the 15, two were new hires, there less than 3 months – no one knew them (or the quality of their work) at all. The man was ranked #3, the woman #14.

    Anyway, it was a big financial loss not to be made partner, and I relate it to not “needing it” enough. (Perhaps poor work product, too – but I really doubt that based on objective measures). The first time I was passed over, they stated it was due to recent financial troubles (4 people all told “no”, 3/4 women). They begged me to stay and keep working, and I fell for it. The second time, I was passed over, the begged again, but I had learned my lesson (3/3 men granted partnership, 1/4 women). It wasn’t my product that was a problem, they just didn’t want to share the spoils with me.

    I actually paid a hefty sum to an employment lawyer to be told that I might have a suit, but it would consume my life, and it would cost me far more than it would cost them. It was money well spent.

    Leaving the small private group was a great move for me professionally, so a lot of the white-hot anger has evaporated. However, I still believe the boys network is in full force in many industries/groups/etc.

  77. The comments here have been eye opening for me. I worked in the 80’s and early 90’s in the computer software industry, and did not experience any discrimination. If it was there I was oblivious. I always felt that I was rewarded for my performance, and we had at nearly as many women as men at whatever level I was at, and one or two above me. Definitely mostly male at the higher levels, but I attributed that to the fact that the company was started by former military men, and that the women just hadn’t “caught up” yet (as in, 10 years later, were there more women in upper management?).

    After I quit to stay home with the kids DH progressed in a field that definitely didn’t handle working moms very well at the upper levels. The women partners were either single or had no children.

    My daughter works for a big 4 accounting firm and they seem to be trying to take steps to keep women at the manager and partner level – it will be interesting to see how she progresses.

  78. Isn’t that an assumption based on reality rather than stereotypes?

    Mostly yes. And that’s a big part of why it’s expected that women will do more of the childcare and home stuff – because their husbands’ jobs are “more important.”

    We’ve had this discussion many times. Equality in the workplace and and equality at home are linked together. But neither will be achieved until women marrying down becomes more common because it will continued to be assumed that men’s jobs/careers are more important than women’s.

  79. Scarlett, at least in my organization, high level women are more likely to have SAH husbands than equal or higher level husbands.

  80. After I quit to stay home with the kids DH progressed in a field that definitely didn’t handle working moms very well at the upper levels. The women partners were either single or had no children.

    How well would they have handled a dad who was the primary caregiver for his kids?

  81. Scarlett, at least in my organization, high level women are more likely to have SAH husbands than equal or higher level husbands.

    Which is why they are able to reach a high level. They aren’t the primary caregivers.

  82. Denver Dad, I strongly agree with your comment that equality at work is linked with equality at home.

    One of the reasons I think my organization is not-very-sexist is that Mr WCE’s manager can take a few months of leave for her new baby and still progress in her career. The men and women I work with seem to have agreed that’s a good thing.

  83. Denver Dad – I don’t think there were any (that DH told me about). They all had SAH spouses. I think a dad who was the primary care giver would not have been promoted to partner because he could not spend the time necessary to do the job successfully. In that way at least they treated women and men the same. This was a some years ago, so I never heard of any women who had SAH husbands – that didn’t seem to be a thing yet.

  84. Ssk – in my experience there are lots of senior women in accounting. The trick I think is to get to a certain level by the time you think of a family. It is a matter of luck at times, being able to be at a workplace for a while, get promoted, able to take a work free maternity leave and come back with a smooth reentry.

  85. 38% of women out earn their husbands. So no, it is not reality, it is an assumption.

    And while some of those are blue collar nurses out-earning their former factory worker husband, a lot of them are also lawyers, accountants, consultants, CFO’s and sales people.

  86. “And while some of those are blue collar nurses out-earning their former factory worker husband, a lot of them are also lawyers, accountants, consultants, CFO’s and sales people.”

    I wouldn’t say that a *lot* are. Only 30% of American adults have college degrees. And the 38% statistic includes married households where women are the sole earners (some of whom, presumably are simply retiring a few years later.) When both spouses work, women earn more only 29% of the time.

  87. Ssk, that’s exactly my point. Men have never “had it all” because you can’t have the high-level job if you aren’t 100% committed to it.

    38% of women out earn their husbands. So no, it is not reality, it is an assumption.

    Which means 62% of women do not out-earn their husbands, so it is reality that women still tend to not marry down.

  88. SSK – public accounting, in my opinion, works hard at enabling balance for men and women that they want to keep. Back in the early 90s, my primary mentor there worked October through April, and was off summers to be with her kids. She was flexible if they really needed her, and she was all-in during the months she worked. She was promoted to Sr. Manager before I left. The partner that I worked with most was a single dad with primary custody, and he worked special projects and clients that were amenable to his work hours. If you are not a high achiever and request special accommodations, they are not likely to be as willing to grant them, but I saw quite a few women make it work.

  89. Louise and MBT – thanks for the assurances. I think her plan is to get as high as she can before she has kids, so she has more leverage and is more valuable to the company.

    DD – you are exactly right.

  90. Finn – They initial complaint came from a man with no children on behalf of those (all women) with young children. The department wasn’t very big and there were benefits to staying late, so it had never been a big deal until they made the single dad exception. Next crunch cycle, he was gone (own choice) and everyone staying late was back to the norm.

    I agree with others that if you make it to a certain level in your career/industry/organization before you start having kids and/or elder issues, it is easier to get the flexiblity if you are someone they want to keep.

  91. ~1/3 of women outearning their spouses is too many to just assume that women don’t “need” the money because of their husband. This is the kind of assumption that is maddening. And I’ve heard it made IRL too.

  92. Continuing discussion for previous thread….

    Risley, since no one else had, I’ll ask a couple obvious (and possibly stupid) questions:

    -What are you doing in your diet to avoid anemia? I’ve heard that is a common problem for vegetarians and vegans. Are you upping your vitamin C intake?

    -What are you doing to increase your calcium intake? Any particular foods or food groups that are particularly good sources of dietary calcium?

  93. It isn’t surprising that this sort of thing “still”‘exists; it is still being taught. My kiddo has a teacher who makes no secret of her belief that boys are lecherous predators waiting to swoop down and rob girls of their innocence, who will have boys work on more technical aspects of class projects, and backs this and more up with references to “god’s will”. They are in high school, so their ideas about gender are fairly developed, but are not set for good yet. It doesn’t take many teachers actively pushing old-school stereotypes, if no one actively counters them, to seemthose ideas continued for another generation.

  94. Milo, what’s the source for this?
    When both spouses work, women earn more only 29% of the time.

  95. “If it’s sexist to recognize that it’s easier to be the parent NOT breastfeeding a newborn, maybe sexism needs a new definition.”

    I don’t see how nursing makes it any more difficult. What hit me hardest was the 24/7 responsibility for another person’s life, whether he was with me or someone else I had chosen to care for him. If mama is nursing but not the lead parent, then I don’t think her role is as hard. (Caveat: we had no problems nursing; it was a happy way to reconnect at the end of the day and mornings before I left, and filling up those bottles for the sitters to give him wasn’t hard either)

    On over-apologizing: that’s one of several “tics” that often show up in women’s writing. You may have seen these cartoons about them http://hellogiggles.com/satirical-cartoons-show-sexism/ I don’t see them here much, which is nice.

  96. Finn – right now, I feel I’m a little overly reliant on vegan supplements (calcium, D3, magnesium, potassium, omega-3) and vegan protein shakes, and will be that way until I figure out the best food sources, how much of each I need to have per day, etc. (And may stay that way even after I sort out the foods, depending on what they tell me at the clinic).

    After much testing of gross vegan protein shakes, I found a not-horrible-tasting one that includes iron (among other things), and I have that for whichever meal follows my workout. I mix it with almond milk and frozen fruit. For C, I drink one of those Emergen-C things every day–have done that for a long time.

    I also have lists of food on my fridge: best foods for calcium; best foods for potassium; best foods for magnesium; best foods for vitamin K. I include several of them from each list in each grocery store run, and plan our meals around them. For calcium, the ones I rely on are: edamame (this is my new go-to snack), bok choy, kale, greens, almonds, almond butter, broccoli, almond milk. Swiss chard is on the other 3 lists so I throw that into a lot of things. I also have another vegan protein shake that has 2 servings of greens in it, and greens are on all 3 lists, too.

    I’ve been experimenting with tempeh in my effort to not rely on processed or unfermented soy too much. Not a tempeh expert just yet…

  97. “ However, I still believe the boys network is in full force in many industries/groups/etc.”

    “My daughter works for a big 4 accounting firm and they seem to be trying to take steps to keep women at the manager and partner level – it will be interesting to see how she progresses.”

    In my DH’s industry, “sexism” or “treating mothers differently”, however you want to describe it, is alive and well. Most of the married females with children who started out on the partner track end up quitting, in HR, communications, or in other vague roles that apparently are more suitable for their choice to spend time as primary caregivers. It is their choice, even if they believe it was partially driven by what they consider discrimination. The company gives lip service to diversity and makes these women partners, but they’re not rainmaker partners. IMO, a main driving factor in all this is the fact that mothers tend to want to spend more energy on child/family care than fathers do. A similar situation existed where I worked before I quit to stay home with the kids. :)

  98. “A similar situation existed where I worked before I quit to stay home with the kids.”

    I might add that I experienced being shut out of the boys’ network when I was working. It was challenging to navigate the path between artfully easing my way in and being a pushy bitch. But I did not see mandates from on high working much to help me.

  99. ssk posted
    “The comments here have been eye opening for me. I worked in the 80’s and early 90’s in the computer software industry, and did not experience any discrimination. ”

    That was true for me too, while I was working at the software company. I did not see overt sexism until I hit the healthcare IT company, which was definitely more in the healthcare sector than the IT sector.

    However, ageism is a huge, huge problem in the software industry, and that tends to hit women harder. Also, in the really high tech subsector of the software industry (your Google/Facebook/hip startup world), people have an extreme tendency to hire only those who are like themselves. I have written this before, but it is worth saying again – I have had really top African American students who have had a lot of trouble finding good jobs. These were people with straight A averages, articulate, and knowledgable. I was recently at a conference on diversity in computing, and heard similar stories from colleagues at other schools. Part of the problem is that the companies don’t recruit on campuses where the African American and Hispanc students are, part of the problem is an interview process which is designed to drive people out, and part of the problem is a deep assumption that the large black man sitting across from you in an interview couldn’t possibly have the technical skills for your startup.

  100. Most of my friends who are able to combine being a mother with a high powered job have stay at home husbands. And even some without kids – SIL is a high level exec at a major media company, with no kids, and a stay at home husband

  101. This is totally off topic, as it relates to our earlier discussion on sports spending in colleges. The Chronicle had a great article on this today, titled “As sports spending soars, colleges scramble to keep up”. Unfortunately the article is behind the paywall. Here is a quote
    “The median athletics expenditure among a group of about 200 Division I public universities rose by nearly 30 percent between 2010 and 2014, according to a Chronicle analysis of financial statements those institutions provided to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, obtained through public-records requests.
    Many of those programs — including 104 of the 128 athletic departments in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision — do not bring in enough money through ticket sales, donations, or other outside revenue to offset their costs.”

  102. Saac – The BLS stats are referenced here:
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/how-many-women-earn-more-than-their-husbands/
    although the link to the actual BLS report is no longer valid.

    It’s interesting that the 538 author thinks that the 38% represents an “improvement,” but it’s not good enough, and the only really acceptable distribution is 50-50. This is what I was alluding to yesterday, that despite DW’s personal preferences, she made the wrong choice about working part-time.

  103. WCE, in your example about planning a trip to India, the thing that would make people who were from there better at it is the experience of living there. Trying to assume that based on age, race, gender or other general categories would be as stupid as assuming that everyone in Chinatown knows karate, and that no one there will kick your butt for being a racist jerk.

  104. Milo, according to this Gallup poll, it’s not just your wife. They state that 54% of working women would rather stay home. http://fortune.com/2016/10/05/working-moms-stay-home/

    And I agree with your criticism of the implication that anything other than a 50/50 split is acceptable. Families make all sorts of arrangements that work for them, with money being only one of the factors involved. If 50% of us are not working toward a goal of earning more than our spouse, it should be no surprise that that metric is not being hit.

  105. MBT – Good point.

    “WCE, in your example about planning a trip to India, the thing that would make people who were from there better at it is the experience of living there.”

    I’m guessing the thing that makes them more likely to want to visit for a long period of time is the much greater likelihood of having extended family and friends living there, and not so much the fact that they just happened to have lived there previously. Recognizing that is not racist. It’s a relevant HR/benefits topic because it often comes up when companies shift to awarding vacation hours on a quarterly, rather than annual basis, and those who want to take three or four weeks in the summer often have to “borrow” from their 4Q hours.

  106. “Dude, I’m BETTER than the man was.” is a hilarious, awesome way to subvert expectations! I wish you would’ve said it out loud, WCE.

    MBT, as an undergrad, I was stunned by a prof’s blindingly fast typing. She told me that she did about 85-90 words a minute, and that I should never do it or I’d be stuck as the secretary/recorder for everything. That could go on the list of things your colleague started for your daughter, along with MM’s putative PowerPoint prowess

  107. “This is what I was alluding to yesterday, that despite DW’s personal preferences, she made the wrong choice about working part-time.”

    Yup. Your wife should suppress her own preferences so that we can achieve this ideal world that Sheryl Sandberg describes.

    A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.

    https://thetotebag.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/were-you-told-to-suppress-your-high-ambitions/

  108. MIlo; you took that to mean exactly the opposite scenario than I had imagined! I agree with you that a shorter experience living there for a few months or a year is not the same as a couple decades and perhaps family traditions from that place. But, otoh, when you’ve got 50 people who need to be manuevered to all the sites, someone who did something similar as an adult and has lived there long enough to know the place (including cultural norms) really well could be just the person for the job. That’s arguable, but having someone organize a trip because they have a brown face and great aunties and second cousins living there, but have never lived there themselves, is just wrong. It really is the knowledge that matters.

  109. “Since a regular bed would be less than 50% of the price of an adjustable bed, is it worth it?”

    @Houston: Try a GERD pillow first — I think I have this one — https://www.amazon.com/InteVision-Folding-Quality-Removable-Carrying/dp/B00EN6KKZW/ref=sr_1_8_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1476189413&sr=1-8&keywords=GERD+pillow. If it helps, you can decide whether it’s worth it to upgrade to an adjustable bed. If it doesn’t help, you’re out $40.

  110. I know a good number of people who take long vacations to visit India. 100% of them are immigrant Indians. Per my view, WCE’s point is entirely valid.

  111. CoC, what’s up with that cynical response? Do you mean to say that you think that less than half of men would want to be lead parents, and that less than half of women want to prioritize career? I find it odd that her equation entirely leaves out dual-income families. Given that the average income in this country is a little over $50k, most people on this board who are part of a two-career couple are doing so because they choose a higher COL than that average would allow.

  112. I think we should want 50/50 participation if we think that women and men are the same in terms of connection to children and desire to provide for those children and it isn’t because of some cultural expectation/conditioning that women do more with the kids/handle the house stuff. I think the cultural conditioning is very strong and so while I made the decision to stay home, I don’t think it was because of some innate maternal reason.

  113. Houston, if it’s fine by you to assume that the person with ansectors in S Asia should organize the tour WCE mentioned, then I assume it’s also fine for your kids to be asked to tell the class about the partition of India and Pakistan?

  114. MIlo, thanks for the link at 7:08. If half go one way and half the other, then it’s no problem for one individual to go whichever way she chooses. The point of the 50-50 is the absence of pressures that Kate refers to. Those pressures begin at least as early as when girls are told that dolls are what they should be playing with.

  115. “If half go one way and half the other, then it’s no problem for one individual to go whichever way she chooses.”

    Why the prerequisite that half must go one way?

  116. Nevermind, I see that you sort of answered that question in the rest of your response.

    Are you saying that societal pressures are entirely artificial? That, even recognizing plenty of exceptions, on average there is no biological difference that would alter the 50-50 balance?

  117. MILo, now you’re just being stubborn. 50-50 not the prerequisite. It is (likely) the result of the removal of prerequisites and barriers. We can’t know for sure, because we’ve never seen a world without those pressures. And as long as we’ve got people like the teacher I me tionex earlier, or my sister telling her daughter she may not play a sport that will make her “unladylike”, we won’t see it.

  118. “It is (likely) the result of the removal of prerequisites and barriers.”

    I’m not sure many would agree with that, that absent any artificial societal or external conditioning, boys will be just as likely to girls to want to play with dolls, and fathers will have just as high of a biological maternal drive as mothers.

  119. Saac – I don’t think this board’s a good representation at all, because we have a lot of women who are very professionally ambitious, and we have men who were drawn to discussions about parenting and work-life balance. We should be careful not to extrapolate and normalize our little population too far.

  120. I think a lot of boys would/do play with dolls. I have seen this kind of thing with my boys. They play with them until they get a little older and start to understand/internalize certain messages. Same kind of thing with colors. Both loved pink and purple. Until they got old enough to understand that it was a “girl” color. I guess the question is if the innate paternal bond is different from the innate maternal bond or if much of it is due to social conditioning. I tend to think that the latter accounts for a lot of it. Certainly there are some biological differences, but much of it can be attributed to social conditioning. So, I am not sure that a 50/50 split shouldn’t be the goal. My personal preferences aren’t just mine. They include a lot of stuff that we all learn/pick up along the way.

  121. “They play with them until they get a little older and start to understand/internalize certain messages.”

    Is that it, or are they just maturing and growing into themselves?

    I’m still thinking that if you set up the most progressive, crunchy, gender-blind preschool possible on an isolated commune with a bunch of Saac parents fully bound and determined to never ascribe gender norms to anyone, and you make guns, swords, and trucks available alongside dolls, traditional gender preferences will still prevail (although certainly not exclusively–boys who prefer guns will still play with dolls some of the time–and certainly not without exception–some girls will definitely prefer guns.

    The differences may be to a slightly lesser degree.

  122. I get what you are saying, but I think the color thing is proof of pure conditioning. And I am not discounting that there may be real biological differences that account for some of the choices. But, no doubt that there is a lot of conditioning going on and for a workplace I think the right thing is to strive for closer to 50/50 and not just assume that there are biological reasons for the differences.

  123. “for a workplace I think the right thing is to strive for closer to 50/50 ”

    Should elementary schools start hiring less-qualified male applicants over female applicants until they get 50-50?

  124. Are men applying in droves and getting turned down? If yes, then yes, we should make a concerted effort to discriminate less against men in that role. I suspect that the answer is no because it is a low prestige/low pay profession?

  125. No, I would guess that they’re already given some favor in hiring, but far fewer are applying.

    I don’t share the same disdain for teachers that much of this board does, and I don’t consider it a “low-prestige” profession. Regardless, why should that matter? If you’re saying 50-50 should be the goal (or “closer to 50-50”) why are you only concerned about higher-paying jobs, which represent a much smaller slice of the population, anyway?

    Wouldn’t it be much more important to get a 50% representation of men as elementary school teachers, especially if early societal conditioning is so important?

    And then, of course, we’ve got to figure out how to get more women interested in the Army infantry. I don’t know why these discussions always seem to only apply to Biglaw and Google.

  126. “I’m still thinking that if you set up the most progressive, crunchy, gender-blind preschool possible”
    My kids actually went to a preschool like that, a place that answered its phone with “YWCA, promoting justice and equality for women and girls”. They were studiously gender free. And from what I saw, both of you are correct. The kids at the school were far less bound by gender choices than what I have observed elsewhere. Girls and boys played freely together. They used to do these massive block projects that practically filled the room, all together. I can remember when DS1 was 3, often finding him prancing around the room in pink mules (yes, they allowed costume items like that, but made it clear they were for everyone, and they did not allow any character costumes). So, the kids did fall into traditional gender choices at times, just not as much as you might see in other preschools. My kids were all very shocked by the extreme classroom genderization when they hit kindergarten.

    My take on all of this is that if we strive for 50-50, we may not reach it, but I bet we end up closer than you might imagine.

    And, I think it is great when women, or men, are able to be a stay at home parent. I would have liked to have done that myself. I also know lots of men, including most of the men in DH’s extended family, who have chosen that route. But the reality is that very few stay at home parents will remain that way forever. Many can’t afford to, or realize that they don’t need to when their kids grow up. So making workplaces better and more accomodating for everyone is a good goal

  127. I have no disdain for teachers. One of my siblings is an awesome teacher in an inner city school and what he does is very valuable. Certainly more valuable than what I did to hep rich people get richer. But it is low paying and low prestige. The goal is to provide equal opportunities to women, so no, it doesn’t really matter if we get more men in elementary schools if they don’t want to be there. Men generally get to be wherever they like, and that is usually a place with money and prestige. Women should get the same opportunities.

  128. ” “YWCA, promoting justice and equality for women and girls”. They were studiously gender free.”

    Sounds like it.

  129. Milo, it seems to me that there are lots of people who are interested in getting more women into the military, and also in making them more accepted when they choose that line of work.

  130. “The goal is to provide equal opportunities to women”

    You just changed the goal. Before you said that the goal should be to get it closer to 50-50.

  131. “Milo, it seems to me that there are lots of people who are interested in getting more women into the military.”

    Absolutely, there are. The problem is that there just aren’t that many women who are interested.

  132. Milo, I was kind of poking fun at the Y. We actually did not choose them for that reason. The place was NAEYC accredited, close to my workplace, relatively affordable, and most importantly, I got off their waitlist before I got off the other two place’s waitlist. But once my kids ended up there, we really loved the program

  133. “I don’t share the same disdain for teachers that much of this board does, and I don’t consider it a “low-prestige” profession. Regardless, why should that matter? If you’re saying 50-50 should be the goal (or “closer to 50-50”) why are you only concerned about higher-paying jobs, which represent a much smaller slice of the population, anyway?”

    I assumed it was a short-hand reference to the fact that the perceived “prestige” and pay of various positions is strongly correlated with the number of men in that line of work, and that as more women enter that line of work, the overall prestige/pay goes down. So I would disagree with Kate’s follow-up. My goal is equal opportunities for all, not based on gender expectations. That means more women in high-pay positions *and* more men in low-pay positions — in the same way that women succeeding in the workplace requires men being freer to take on more of the load at home. The key is to break the various societal expectations that pigeonhole people — not to force people into roles they don’t want to take, but to free them up to take roles they love and are good at without feeling like a duck out of water.

    I think men bring something to traditionally female jobs in the same way women bring something to traditionally male jobs. My son *adored* his male ES teacher. If you want to go with just pure stereotypes, I think teaching could do with less of the “make it pretty/follow the rules/bonus points for perfect handwriting” that is a stereotypical girl thing, and financial services could do with a little less of the testosterone-laden locker-room crap that is a stereotypical guy thing.

  134. I think that if we provide equal opportunities to women/people really get to make their personal choices free from any social conditioning (not that this will ever happen), we’ll naturally see a much closer to 50/50 split. But I see no benefit or ability to get men to lower prestige/lower paying jobs that they don’t want. I imagine that if teaching suddenly paid 5x, we would see many more men flood the profession.

  135. “I assumed it was a short-hand reference to the fact that the perceived “prestige” and pay of various positions is strongly correlated with the number of men in that line of work”

    Is that really true any more? At the very high end, probably, but only because of the requirements of time and devotion we’ve already discussed. But across the board, when you consider how many more women have gone into well-paying, reliable and plentiful medical work, I don’t think that’s quite so true.

    “That means more women in high-pay positions *and* more men in low-pay positions”

    How are you proposing to get more men in lower-paying positions? Again, are you willing to turn down higher-qualified female applicants to make more men teachers? What about getting more women into the Army infantry (and I’m specifically talking about that community, not just in the ranks of the general bureaucracy).

    It’s not hard to find people of either gender who will take high-paying jobs. But there’s more evidence to my overall point when you consider the other ends, and you’re both generally ignoring the fact that the genders don’t necessarily want to go into these non-traditional roles, but some people insist that it just shouldn’t be this way.

  136. “So making workplaces better and more accommodating for everyone is a good goal.”

    This is what I am fighting/hoping for/working toward.

    I am sincerely offended by some of the snide comments here. I didn’t read the Sheryl Sandberg book, but I don’t see where the sentiment is that women should work harder/more ambitiously than they are inclined or that men should stumble & stay home to make things “even”. Each family has to make their own balance and choices. But making broad assumptions about people’s career goals and potential based on their gender alone is both wrong and short-sighted as it can mean that a company is overlooking a large part of the talent pool. And this happens far more regularly than it should.

    What I am against is overt sexism and the subtle assumptions that people make about me based on gender that prevent opportunities from even being offered in the first place. LIKE people assuming that women “don’t really need the money” because working is just a hobby for them even though a significant chunk of women are breadwinners for their family.

  137. LFB: Thanks for the pillow recommendation.

    Your recent post brought up a memory. My kids loved the very rare times when they had a male babysitter. They would play sports and video games and the babysitter seemed more interested in what they wanted to do. The female babysitters were awesome, but seemed to focus on reading books and letting the kids play by themselves.

  138. “we’ve got to figure out how to get more women interested in the Army infantry”

    why? Is it just to create a pipeline for the Sergeant/Sergeant Major ranks? Would you say the same thing about women and ROTC / military academies / OCS?

  139. My DS now has more male teachers and this year all his core subject teachers are male. From K-5 most of the teachers were female but there are lots of music teachers who are male (more than I had expected).
    In all the daycares my kids attended I knew of exactly one male teacher in the preschool class.

  140. ” I imagine that if teaching suddenly paid 5x, we would see many more men flood the profession.”

    Yes, absolutely. Count me in. I don’t think it would need to be 5x, btw. 2-3x would do it in a lot of places.

  141. “IMO, a main driving factor in all this is the fact that mothers tend to want to spend more energy on child/family care than fathers do.”

    ITA.
    Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable, nor should they be. If families choose to organize their lives so that dad stays home and mom goes to work, that’s great. I know a few families who are doing this. But they are not the norm, and it’s unrealistic and unfair to expect them to be.

  142. “Would you say the same thing about women and ROTC / military academies / OCS?”

    Yes, absolutely. 36 years after gender integration, the main service academies are still at around 20% women**, and it has not budged, despite three decades of steadily increasing outreach efforts, despite a total revolutionary change in gender acceptance in the military, despite steadily opening up warfare communities to women (first they were only administrative roles, then, in the Navy, on things like ships, etc. Now they’re allowed in absolutely any role). They just, simply, don’t want to do it in anywhere near the same numbers. And we’re talking even the high-prestige roles here.

    *The Coast Guard Academy has always had a significantly higher proportion of female cadets, at about 35% and steady for decades. Same military culture, same prestige, same pay and promotions, different (less masculine) fighting/missions.

  143. One mistake there…we’re 40 years after gender integration. 36 after the first class graduated. It’s not uncommon now to see pictures in the alumni bulletin of mothers/alumna swearing in their sons and daughters.

  144. “and it’s unrealistic and unfair to expect them to be”

    Why? Those families may not be the norm now, but why is it unrealistic and unfair to expect the norm to change?

  145. ” but why is it unrealistic and unfair to expect the norm to change?”

    Because the best indications that we have is that most people don’t want it to change.

  146. An interesting recent study on women who earn more than their husbands.

    “Within marriage markets, when a randomly chosen woman
    becomes more likely to earn more than a randomly chosen man, marriage rates
    decline. In couples where the wife’s potential income is likely to exceed the
    husband’s, the wife is less likely to be in the labor force and earns less than
    her potential if she does work. In couples where the wife earns more than
    the husband, the wife spends more time on household chores; moreover,
    those couples are less satisfied with their marriage and are more likely to divorce.”

    http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/emir.kamenica/documents/identity.pdf

  147. “Because the best indications that we have is that most people don’t want it to change.”

    That may be true where you live but I see things changing, including where I grew up.

  148. Scarlett – Thanks for that downer. I guess DH and I are an exception. He’d find the characterization that I’ve “married down” amusing as well.

  149. “That may be true where you live but I see things changing, including where I grew up.”

    CoC’s stat about 54% of working moms (the ones who are WORKING) responding that they would prefer to stay home* leaves me less than convinced that anything is really changing beyond what’s probably a mostly fixed percentage far shy of 50.

    *And you’ve got to figure a stat like that is already heavily skewed by choice-supportive bias.

  150. “responding that they would prefer to stay home”

    There is a huge stigma still for women to say they don’t want kids and prefer to work or if they have kids, that they prefer to work. The results reflect what the surveyors were told, might not always line up with what they really think.

  151. Kerri,

    I married down too. DH made half my salary when we finished school. Even working part-time, I still earned more. It didn’t bother him at all; in fact, he was happy to be in the position to take a lower-paying academic job because I was an attorney. Now he is earning an attorney-level salary but would not have been in the position to do so had he married another academic.

  152. Milo – Don’t I know it! Feel it everytime I come to this board. I don’t see it to the same degree IRL, which is part of why I first joined this group. I like to hear different views, consider them, learn, grow.

    Have to say, though, for a lot of our conversations I feel like I’m talking to a wall and wasting my time.

  153. “Feel it everytime I come to this board.”

    What do you mean, specifically? There are a lot of high-earning attorneys on here.

  154. Milo, when my kids were younger, I was definitely in that 54%. But that was only true for about 10 years. I was in the workforce for years before kids, and will be again post kids. That is the reality for most women (and most men too) – they will spend the majority of their lives in the workforce. So we need to make it better.

  155. I think the time when the survey is done is important. When I had small kids and it was a tough juggle there were many days when I would have said – I want to quit and stay home. How I felt very much depended on how the work/home juggle was going. If it was a good day, I would have said – work definitely, a bad stretch – I want to stay home.

  156. Milo – but back to “we’ve got to figure out how to get more women interested in the Army infantry”

    why? If women don’t want those jobs/roles, and similar in the Navy, Marines, Air Force, why do we need to do it? Do we have an overall lack of willing/able applicants? (serious questions, not trying to provoke…I believe if across all including non-military jobs we’ve removed significant historical barriers to successful participation, why the continued pull effort?)

  157. “Milo, when my kids were younger, I was definitely in that 54%. But that was only true for about 10 years.”

    10 years is a long time. It might be a full third of my working life.

    How do you think your husband would have answered that question?

    “So we need to make it better.”

    The problem is that we don’t agree on what “better” looks like. Yes, we should have equal opportunities for all. But some people are clearly not satisfied until they see equal outcome, including fully equal participation (except, inexplicably, only in the high-paying fields).

  158. Fred – I meant that, not entirely tongue-in-cheek, but in the sense that Totebaggers and NYT’ers discuss this to no end focusing on the types of high-paying jobs they envy or for which they strive. And then that led to the nature/nurture argument, and the idea that absent any societal constraints, women would be no more likely than men to place a higher value on childrearing; they would have identical career ambitions.

    The military, and elementary schools, are clear examples of how that’s not evident.

  159. Milo, given that my DH is the one of the few men in his extended family to NOT be a stay at home spouse, I suspect he would have said, yes, sign me up!

  160. And since when has the idea that more women need to get into the military, especially in combat roles, been controversial in liberal circles? It seems to me that there has been a big push to get more women into the military, largely driven by the left. Many people do see the military as a good opportunity for young people. It seems to me that the pushback comes from conservatives.

  161. Mooshi – I’ve answered this already. It’s not controversial, it’s not a liberal/conservative thing. Everyone is in favor of more women serving in the military. Everyone, except, the actual women who would be doing the serving.

  162. My DD has a male teacher this year. Both my DS’s had them at various times in elementary school as well. Men make up a minority of the elementary school teachers here, but there are a few and the school seems to be making a real effort to get more.

    I think we need more women in the military and more men in early education simply because it would improve outcomes. The American military has morphed into something that does far more than just fight traditional wars, and could benefit from a diversity of viewpoints, including even lowlevel infantry viewpoints. As for education, I think it is obvious that schools benefit from a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints.

  163. Milo, I get the sense more that you are arguing that we are hypocritical because we don’t want to get more women into the military.

  164. Kerri +1

    I agree with all of your posts.

    Plus, in what context would women prefer to stay home? If we won the lottery, I would prefer to stay home. If I happened to have married someone who had a job with lots of travel & long hours, then maybe I would prefer to stay home because juggling wouldn’t be worth it. But here, in the world I actually inhabit, with the partner I actually have and the careers we actually have, I would rather work. But that is a very loaded question to ask, and the answer is highly dependent on how it is phrased. Milo, expert parser of biased survey questions, should know that. (I don’t mean that as an insult)

  165. Kate, I have three good friends with stay at home husbands, and they say they like the arrangement very much. In all three cases, it has lasted for a long time. All three women have very high powered careers – a orthopedic surgeon, a lawyer, and a very well known CS researcher. They love their kids and are very close with them, but the husbands do the day to day

  166. No, I don’t think you’re hypocritical. I believe that you want to get more women in the military (but among the Totebag demographic, they typically mean other people’s children, male or female).

    I don’t know how many other ways to say that I’m using it as an example that people are naturally attracted to different jobs depending on their gender.

  167. “Milo, expert parser of biased survey questions, should know that.”

    You’re right, and I thank you. :) The question would be what % of WOH men said they would prefer to stay home.

  168. “The question would be what % of WOH men said they would prefer to stay home.”

    Context matters there too of course. ;) There are definite times that DH would have answered yes, but when push came to shove in making decisions, we both decided to work.

    FWIW, I agree with you about the military to some degree. I don’t want to be in the military, and I don’t want to be CEO. I don’t want to be pushed into either of those, I just want to have had equal opportunity to do either had I been interested. But I do think that fewer women will probably chose to go into the military no matter how equal the opportunity and friendly the environment. Having never been part of the military, I can’t say where it fits on the spectrum of gender-opportunity-equality. I do think it is a job that long-term makes it almost impossible for two spouses to work though. That’s just how it is.

  169. I wonder what will happen to career achievement over time and to what extent children will be affected by how they grew up. The estimates of completed family size I read recently (and currently can’t find) estimate at least 10% of women will be childless, 20% will have 1 child, 40% will have 2 children, 20% will have 3 children and 10% will have 4 or more. (Rough numbers, and “childlessness” continues to decrease after 40 so it’s hard to determine.)

    When you look at how children grow up, assuming the average size of 4 or more families is 5, you see that ~10% of children grow up as only children, 38% as one of two, 29% as one of three, and 23% as one of 4 or more. To the extent that professionally accomplished women tend to have small families and larger families tend to have a SAHP for at least a few years, children are disproportionately likely to grow up with a SAHP.

    There are economic pressures that I think are reducing family size, but not that many people think about how the distribution of completed family size affects what people perceive as “normal”. If my stats are correct, slightly more than half of children will grow up in a family of 3 or more and that’s probably even more true of stable, two parent families whose children are likely to enter the professions. (You have to stay together for awhile to have four children together…)

    I’m curious if Scarlett observed any correlation with family size in her admissions reviews, because I also perceive that children of large families are unlikely to attend prestigious schools.

  170. WCE – Are those stats limited to children born to married parents?

    I think the median child (depending on how you define up or down) might be the mother’s second child, with a father who is tentatively engaged to marry the mother, but no firm date yet, and an older sibling from a prior relationship.

  171. Milo, no, they are based off completed fertility for women, independent of whether the children have the same or different fathers.

    I suspect you’re right about the median. I got a “bubble check” yesterday when our new hire’s wife (an ER physician in an outlying town) texted him that someone had injected meth in his eye and he asked us what he should say to the observation that this area is messed up. Our collective response was, “The coffee at work is still bad.”

  172. This story is not for argument’s sake, but I remembered it and thought it was amusing. Freshman year of college, we’re about two full months into this whole experience, the summer has ended and we’ve spent maybe the first week in classes. But the pressure from “hazing,” or whatever you want to call it, is not letting up in the slightest. It’s Friday night, and since we had nothing else to do, they’re making us walk over to the stadium as a group to watch some football scrimmage.

    I’m talking with a friend, a girl from an affluent southern family and we’re commiserating about how much this place absolutely sucks and how did we ever get ourselves into this mess, and do we even want the prize at the end (dangerous thoughts to entertain at this point in time). And she says, in her thick, but upper-crust drawl “Ahhhhh don’t know, Milo. I just want to be a mom.” At 18 years old, that was the first time I’d ever heard a contemporary say that.

    She is a mom now, and flies part time for a regional carrier that is a subsidiary of Delta.

  173. Great story. The other mom of a same age boy in my small group is a retired fighter pilot turned SAHM. Dad is also retired military but “consults,” both for the income and because they want their kids to see someone in the family working, I think.

  174. “people are naturally attracted to different jobs depending on their gender.”

    Not to beat the already-wheezing horse, but you assume the distribution of entry-level job seekers is due to inherent gender preferences, whereas I assume there is significant social conditioning involved. E.g., SM story about her sister who won’t let her niece play an “unfeminine” sport: how likely is that girl to grow up thinking that the Army is an awesome career choice?

    I am not going to argue that living in some perfect gender-expectations-free world would lead to a precise 50/50 split — nor, I think, is anyone else here. That’s a strawman. I think, like most other things, nature and nurture are both involved, and it is just as wrong to assume nature has no say as to assume nurture is irrelevant. But I do think more boys would grow up to be teachers and more girls would grow up interested in serving in the Army if their families and friends and societies treated those options as just as good as the other way round. And I firmly, strongly believe that our society and institutions and companies should provide equal opportunities for whichever girls and boys follow whichever road.

  175. WCE, there is a lot of selection bias in our applicant cohort. So I saw very few only children. Would guess that median family had 3. At least half a dozen of my sample had more siblings than would fit on the common app form.

  176. Except, LfB, in the examples I’m talking about, societal acceptance and normalization have gone way, way up in 30 years, but the numbers of volunteers have leveled off a long time ago.

    There’s a hard limit somewhere. We may not quite have reached it yet, but we’re very close, and then it comes to biology.

    Imagine transferring this argument. “We will not have a truly equal society until 50% of marriages are homosexual.”

    “No, it’s a biologically based orientation.”

    “No, there’s really no such thing. It’s just that society hasn’t been sufficiently open to it. 50-50 is the goal.”

  177. A very good example of the role of social conditioning is what happened in computer science. For most people under 40, it appears to be an intractably male field, one that women just don’t “want” to get into. I hear guys argue all the time that it is just not appealing to women and we shouldn’t be pushing women into the field if they don’t want it. But are women staying away because they are “naturally” not attracted to computers?? Probably not. Back when I majored in computer science, I saw tons of women in my classes. And it wasn’t an aberration – nationally, up until the early 80’s, about 39% of computer science majors were women. At the time, percentages of women in all of the STEM fields were going up, so everyone just assumed we would hit 50-50 in a few years.

    And then it crashed. Starting in the late 80’s, the number of women in computer science took a nosedive. It is now something like 10% of majors. There are tons of theories as to what happened, but clearly it isn’t a result of some innate feminine disinterest, because women HAD been eagerly going into computer science. Most people who have studied this think it is some result of social conditioning. The rise of gamer culture, perhaps? PCs and the code-in-the-cave phenomenon? It is hard to tell, but once computers became pegged as “boy only”, it became very hard to fight the trend.

  178. Milo, there is no way to have any idea of the out looks of your proposed experiment at 8:12, other than it will not work as long as the kids, their parents, and everyone at the school, even physical plant workers who they only see in passing, are in contact with the rest of the world from the kids’ birth through adulthood. And that experiment is just too creepy to run! But we do know that women have been wanting equality for a long time. There mustn’t be something to that. And I’m sure I’m not he other girl who couldn’t figure out how a baby doll or a Barbie was fun.

    But I think your earlier comment about the way this board is tipped is off. Yes, most of the women here have felt driven to succeed in their profession, but there is absolutely no way to have professional success without being very intimate with gender norms and finding ways to fulfill the assigned gender role. And the men here certainly know the men’s part, with your banking as sport and sports and cars. Your question at 9:01 can’t be serious. Haven’t changes recently been made to permit women to take those military positions? I recall hoopla about one or two women completing a really tough training program. So they’ll inspire a few more, and the ripples will spread. Your example of other roles might give us an idea of the nimner of women who are willing to put in enough energy to fight against all the stereotypes. And don’t come back at me with something about how no one in the military would mind them taking those positions, because we all know that people have spent at least twenty years in society before being eligible for the military at all, and don’t get away from the pressures when they take a particular job, even one that comes with housing.

    Scarlett, why does there need to be any norm? What’s with this desire to control people and their aspirations? It is bizarre that many people who claim to want less big brother are all about creating lanes to tell everybody to stay in. The study you linked to at 9:16 tells us the same thing as Milo’s examples from the military: women are being squeezed both ways. We are in a difficult time when it’s ok (not lauded) for women to take on more of the traditional masculine role, but only if she keeps up the traditionally female as well.

  179. “as more women enter that line of work, the overall prestige/pay goes down.”

    Over the last generation or so, a lot more women have become MDs, and I believe more women than men attend med school these days. Has the overall prestige/pay for MDs gone down coincident with that?

    Similarly, the number of male nurses has increased. Has that resulted in an increase in pay/prestige for nurses?

    As more women enter the military, has pay/prestige for that gone down?

  180. Ack! Big typo on little screen–would only work if all those folks are NOT in contact with anyone else. (And even that is never fully possible; we all carry in our heads the patterns and blueprints our parents & other role models drew for us of the kinds of people we should be)

  181. And “I’m not the only girl”
    About ready to open the laptop, copy that post and do-over.

  182. I think pay for physicians rises and falls based on the amounts that the government is willing to reimburse, not the gender of the physicians.

    Military pay has gone up considerably over the past generation, and even moreso when accounting for the value of medical and retirement benefits. Prestige varies significantly by demographic.

    Saac – the opportunities available to women in the military have been steadily increasing, and are now at the point where there are no limitations. But generally, the changes have only meant that, of the women who already chose to serve, anyway, some of them would choose those newly available fields.

  183. “And I’m sure I’m not the only girl who couldn’t figure out how a baby doll or a Barbie was fun.”

    No, but in my Kindergarten class, I think I was the only boy interested in playing “house,” which put me in some demand among the girls. I remember three stations: one was “Color, Cut, and Paste” in which I had absolutely no interest whatsoever, any time, no matter what. And that has not changed in the subsequent three decades. My friend down the street would go there and cut out gun shapes from construction paper.

    Another station had these gigantic plastic blocks. We could make them into motorcycles, and I did spend a lot of time there. The third was “House,” or something to that effect, and it requires no explanation.

    Point is, I’m not as stereotypical as you seem to think. I am here, after all, which is not all that different from “House.”

  184. “We may not quite have reached it yet, but we’re very close, and then it comes to biology.”

    See, I just don’t buy this assumption. Every day there are stories about overt and not-so-overt pressures women face in non-traditional fields. E.g., https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/10/04/this-is-the-kind-of-sexism-women-who-want-to-be-doctors-deal-with-in-med-school/?utm_term=.d19184ba6734

    Make all that go away, then we can talk biology.

  185. “Has the overall prestige/pay for MDs gone down coincident with that?

    I don’t know about prestige, but my understanding is that the field has changed a lot in the last 20 years. MDs are more likely now to work in large group practices rather than for themselves. I have heard, too, that younger MDs don’t work such long hours any more.

  186. “Make all that go away, then we can talk biology.”

    make what go away? The initiation harassment she cites? That’s already illegal. I certainly don’t condone it. But all her other data about % of female academic department chairs seems subject to the same critiques that we always discuss on here (usually by people like Rocky, Mooshi, and Scarlett).

  187. My on-gyn friend tells young people, “it’s a good second income.” Her DH has a PhD in Econ and is a consultant who earns the first income. Interesting thing about her speciality is that she says it’s very difficult for male docs to get a position in private practice unless they work with high-risk pregnancies.

  188. Also, saac, for my preschool-commune experiment, you have to make readily available toy guns and swords, and dolls and sparkly glitter makeup kits. It sounds like Mooshi’s school puts out a bunch of generic, inoffensive, mostly gender-neutral stuff and says “Yay! They love to play with gender-neutral toys!”

    That’s analagous to how the Duggars raise kids. “Yay, they love homeschooling and playing broomball all day, and have no interest in wearing jeans or dating!”

  189. Milo, something being illegal means it never happens and there is no pressure related to it? Pffffft! Maybe the reason for the disconnect you are having with the majority of women posting here is your assumption that social attitudes are that easy to read by someone who doesn’t experience them, and can be waved away in an instant or a year.
    On the payment for docs issue, yes, it is related to what the govt and insurers will pay, and it has been slipping, just as pay for accountants did when women entered that field. And my dad would certainly back up what MM said about there being many more restrictions on physicians now. Those who I know in my generation see themselves as employees, whereas my dad and his colleagues saw themselves as small business owners. The local hospitals were run mostly through decisions made by a board of physicians who had privileges there. Not anymore. The admin got stronger, local hospitals were bought up, and decisions are not made according to medical priorities.

  190. “something being illegal means it never happens and there is no pressure related to it?”

    No, that’s a strawman conjecture. I was asking what I’m supposed to do to make it go away.

  191. Milo, as you know, my kid had access to all that stuff and chose trains, dolls, and anything he could experiment with. His favorite colors were purple and pink. He dropped pink first, then later learned that purple is also a “girl” color and it was jettisoned. Pure social pressure. I’m not a big fan of pink, but once I knew clearly that he did, I made sure to include it when giving him choices.

    Incidentally, he’s been telling me for a few months that there is nothing feminine about me, that I just have no female qualities whatsoever. I protested a little, then shrugged my shoulders and let him have his opinion. It’s not like I want to date him anyway. What he actually meant by that came out recently–I don’t do the squealing, giggling, silly routine. Turns out he still can’t stand that, and wants to find a girl like mom. Warmed my heart.

  192. “what I’m supposed to do to make it go away.”. Make it clear in words and actions that you support individuals no matter what they choose. It will take a couple generations, of course, because parents teach these things to their kids.

  193. You can move this discussion to the election post if you want, but a big discrepancy that affects voting is whether people think social norms (which include race and gender norms) are a good thing or not and whether recognizing norms associated with race and gender is racism/sexism or observing truth. (If I run a T-test on whether people who want to spend a month in India every two or three years are of Indian or Norwegian heritage, does anyone want to bet me about the outcome?)

    Mr WCE and I have similar ideas about how our household should run. He married me in part because I can and do cook, and no, it’s not because I’m an awesome cook- it’s because in my rural, Midwestern mind, cooking is Something That Needs To Be Done. If we didn’t have similar ideas about how marriage and family would work, negotiation and long-term decision making would be much more challenging, and I’m not sure we’d have the bandwidth to handle it on top of careers and family obligations. I’ll also note there is a cost to being different from other people- it’s harder for SAHD’s to find social groups than it is for SAHM’s, for example. And that’s why the observation yesterday that many people who want gender equality are somewhat averse to choice resonates with me. My traditional, constrained choices reinforce stereotypes that undermine gender equality.

    For average, non-Totebaggy people, it’s far harder to run a home and family without established norms, and the norms (Do you avoid moving away from family so grandparents can help out with childcare?) aren’t set solely within the nuclear family.

  194. Milo, pink kitten heeled mules and toy power tools are gender neutral? It is true they disallowed Disney princesses and toy weapons, but the little girls were pretty good at brandishing the toy power tools as space blasters

  195. WCE, if people want to follow norms, I’m not going to fight them. But Milo saying they are not influential in shaping people seems out of touch to me, and Scarlett’s desire to compel people to follow them baffles and angers me.

  196. “The American military has morphed into something that does far more than just fight traditional wars, and could benefit from a diversity of viewpoints, including even lowlevel infantry viewpoints.”

    Not picking on MM here, but this is a concept that doesn’t seem to square with the “men and women are just the same” mantra that many, especially on the left, are fond of reciting.

    The whole transgender movement, in fact, seems to fly against the notion that gender norms and identities are simply social constructs, not rooted in biology. My young transgender friend, for example, came out as a lesbian in high school, then decided during college that she was really a he. It wasn’t enough simply to reject the gender norms of long hair, dresses, and makeup for short hair, jeans and boy sneakers; nor was it enough to engage in romantic relationships with other women as a lesbian. She needed to BE a he, complete with partial surgery (the easy part) and hormones and all of the awkwardness that results when you use the men’s room but always need a stall. People who meet this person today would never, in a million years, guess that he began life as a girl. Why go through all of that pain and expense when you can just go through life as a masculine lesbian?

  197. But the transgender thing also flies in the face of a strictly biological interpretation – your friend was once biologically female, but not mentally female. So the biology was not the determiner.

    Plus there are people who have come out as gender-neutral. And men who have become female but adopt a butch lesbian style, or women who have become men but adopt an effeminate male style (and I have met some students in that category).

    I have to admit that I have real trouble understanding transgender people. I work closely with a colleague at another school on a conference each year who is a woman who was born as a man. I knew her as a man, and now as a woman. But I still can’t “get” what is in her head.

  198. “The American military has morphed into something that does far more than just fight traditional wars, and could benefit from a diversity of viewpoints, including even lowlevel infantry viewpoints.”

    One thing I should point out because I think both Mooshi and Fred misinterpreted it is that “low level” and “infantry” are not synonymous. It’s a community, or a specialty, and I used it as an example to mean one that actually does the most traditional fighting. But there are infantry generals — in fact, if that’s your goal, it’s probably one of your best paths.

  199. “But the transgender thing also flies in the face of a strictly biological interpretation – your friend was once biologically female, but not mentally female. So the biology was not the determiner.”

    It’s two kinds of biology, isn’t it? The physical parts and the brain that “feels” like a man.

    “Plus there are people who have come out as gender-neutral.”

    Yes, I have another young friend in that category. She also first came out as a lesbian, changed her name to a gender-neutral one, then had the “top” surgery. She dresses in gender-neutral fashion and wants to be addressed as “he,” but does not identify or present herself as a man. Because she has not taken hormones, she still looks like a female who is trying to be gender-neutral.

    Both of these young people were and are deeply troubled, both before and after they changed their pronouns. It’s entirely possible that their gender confusion is a symptom, rather than a result, of their underlying mental health challenges.

  200. I won’t pretend to fully understand being transgender, but people seem to be moving away from figuring out if they are A or B, and if they like A or B. I hear more and more about gender fluidilty. To me, that means that there aren’t simply two clear cut types to choose between. I’m clearly hetero and I’m fine with the body I’m in, but I think that what I have wished for my whole life is a smaller version of gender fluidity. Quit telling me what I’m like because the bits I’ve got, and let me be the person I am. Given the opposition I’ve felt–much of it from my family, especially my mom–I can’t imagine how heavy it must be to have even greater variance from who people think you “should” be or “really are”.

  201. Since we’re confessing stuff, I’ll admit that I don’t understand transgender either. I can understand being gay, because I understand sexual attraction and it’s got to be the same thing, just directed at members of the same sex, right? But “feeling like I’m really a man”, I totally don’t get that. I’m not going to try to stop anyone from being transgender, but I don’t “feel” it.

  202. I think that nature can be a lot more subtle than X or Y chromosomes. Babies being born with ambiguous genitalia is more common than most people realize and, according to one doctor I’ve talked to, in the old days they would immediately do a quick surgery and later say “play with this doll, Mary.”

    So if your body can be ambiguous, I can imagine that your mind might be, also, and I sympathize.

    The one little aspect that *I* don’t understand is why that means you HAVE to use a certain bathroom. While I’ve never been “all boy” or a “man’s man,” I’m reasonably comfortable and confident about my sex, and yet, if you told me that I had to use the women’s restroom, I’d say “great!” They’re cleaner, they smell nicer, they often have comfortable chairs. Why would using the “wrong” one be so difficult?

  203. “if you told me that I had to use the women’s restroom, I’d say “great!” They’re cleaner, they smell nicer, they often have comfortable chairs.”

    OTOH, imagine telling someone with female parts, who probably needs to sit, that she needs to use the male restroom. I’m sure you know that most males have very poor aim in public facilities.

  204. Yes, but we still have to sit to poop, and being comfortable with a penis doesn’t mean that I want to sit in urine. So we wipe it.

  205. The kid of one of my old college friends just declared himself to be pansexual on FB. I had to look that one up. Sigh. I don’t know whether I should be more disturbed that I don’t know the latest trends in sexuality designations, or that the kid I remember toddling about with a picture book is now old enough to be declaring stuff like this to the world.

    His dad, I was convinced even in college, was a severely closeted gender-fluid person. We were shocked when he got married and even more shocked when he had kids. But we didn’t have official vocabulary for this stuff back then

  206. My young friend still has the relevant female parts, and he is using the men’s room. And for good reason, because he certainly APPEARS to be a man and would therefore startle women in a women’s room. But he doesn’t have the parts to use a urinal.

    There is no easy solution for him. But then, even though he is very dear to me, I don’t believe that the 99+% of the population that is NOT transgender should have to be made uncomfortable in order to accommodate him. I’m guessing that most men don’t care who uses their restroom or what an individual is doing in the stall. Women, however, usually do care, and that is not surprising.

  207. There was a story online in the last few weeks about a transgender man who had given birth to his own child. Of course, the “man” is really a woman pretending to be a man, who is married to a man pretending to be a woman. Neither has had any surgery or hormone treatments, and they had their child in the usual way, except that the person giving birth insisted on being called the “father.”

    These are truly end times, because it appeared that the hospital was going along with their nonsense. IMO, that child should be removed from the home and raised by wolves.

  208. Scarlett, not sure if it’s the same case, but a story about a trans guy giving birth was big news here a year or two ago because he’s originally from here, although he was living in OR when he gave birth.

    Ally McBeal had the solution to the restroom issue more than 20 years ago.

  209. “These are truly end times”

    In some Civil War book I’d read, the author talked about how it was not uncommon for units to have women soldiers pretending to be men. Sometimes people kind of knew, sometimes they didn’t. But nobody seemed to care all that much. It seems incredible to me that a transgendered person would go to that much trouble to sleep on the ground, contract dysentery, and risk getting shredded by exploding shrapnel, but they did. And who can question such motives at that point?

    The only difference now is the fight is about how far can society be compelled to embrace naturally occurring deviation and pretend it’s mainstream. Not right or wrong, necessarily (at least not for me), but mainstream.

    I had to look up pan sexual. There’s a long explanation in Wikipedia that basically boils down to “any available orifice.” Again, talking about a teen boy, what else is new? Many prisoners have been pan sexual since the dawn of time. Same for boarding schools. Now it’s just been churched up.

  210. The one little aspect that *I* don’t understand is why that means you HAVE to use a certain bathroom. While I’ve never been “all boy” or a “man’s man,” I’m reasonably comfortable and confident about my sex, and yet, if you told me that I had to use the women’s restroom, I’d say “great!” They’re cleaner, they smell nicer, they often have comfortable chairs. Why would using the “wrong” one be so difficult?

    How would you feel if you were told you had to use the women’s room because you’re actually a woman and not really a man?

    I agree with Finn on the Ally McBeal solution. In Iceland, all the bathrooms have floor to ceiling doors on the stalls so there is complete privacy.

  211. “How would you feel if you were told you had to use the women’s room because you’re actually a woman and not really a man?”

    Eh.

  212. “how far can society be compelled to embrace naturally occurring deviation and pretend it’s mainstream.”

    I tend to disagree. I don’t think it’s about being mainstream; I think it’s more just a recognition and legal standing for those who don’t fit into the common M/F categorization, and not being forced to fit into a categorization that doesn’t accurately reflect them.

    As I commented to DS and some of his debate teammates about the fallacy of a topic that involved single-gender schools, gender isn’t binary, it’s a continuum.

  213. “As I commented to DS and some of his debate teammates about the fallacy of a topic that involved single-gender schools, gender isn’t binary, it’s a continuum.”

    I disagree with that, notwithstanding my experience with my young friend. While there are extremely rare (well under 1%) cases of children are born with ambiguous sex characteristics, those children are suffering from a disorder. The vast majority of people are either male or female. There is no “continuum” of gender.

  214. “those children are suffering from a disorder”

    Is it really a disorder? How do you differentiate a disorder from just being different?

  215. So, what’s the solution to the bathroom issue ? Unisex bathrooms for adults with full doors and single family bathrooms with diaper changing area for kids?

    Is the specific bathroom for men and women an example of a societal norm whose time has passed ?

  216. “Is the specific bathroom for men and women an example of a societal norm whose time has passed ?”

    Hasn’t that configuration long been a problem for male parents with female kids, and female parents with male kids?

  217. Maybe Oregon is different from elsewhere, but we’ve long had signs at the rest stops giving permission for opposite sex attendants but (I forget the phrasing) also asking for them to inform the people in the restroom.

    Talking about the bathroom situation with other conservatives from church, no one cares if someone is accompanying an elderly person or child who needs help. Transgender people have probably been using their desired restroom for years. The objection, in my friend’s words, is to “Teenage guys who are pretending to be transgender in order to use the girls’ locker room but appear to have no characteristics of being transgender and who are robustly heterosexual.”

  218. There is no “continuum” of gender.

    I completely disagree. There are girls/women that are considered tomboys, to use the traditional term, and there are girls that are considered “girly girls.” And there are boys/men who give a more masculine presentation and others who are effeminate. This is the continuum. Biologically, gender is usually binary, but emotionally and psychologically there is a huge spectrum. And the emotional/psychological gender doesn’t always match up with the biological gender.

  219. “Biologically, gender is usually binary”

    On which side would you put, say, someone XXY or XYY? The fact that such people exist suggests to me it is not binary.

  220. “Is being born without arms a disorder or just being different?”

    I’m not sure. How do you differentiate?

  221. “While there are extremely rare (well under 1%) cases of children are born with ambiguous sex characteristics”

    “Babies being born with ambiguous genitalia is more common than most people realize”

    “well under 1%” is also ambiguous, but in a country of 300 million people, 1% is 3 million people. Or in my HS with a typical graduating class of about 300, an average of 3 per year.

    My perceptions (others’ differ, I’m sure), is that treating it as “a disorder” rather than something that regularly and normally occurs has some connotations and consequences for them that leads to unhappiness more often than for the general population. I don’t see any reason to not treat them as normal, if a bit unusual; I don’t see that it’s any skin off my nose either way.

  222. “Biologically, gender is usually binary”

    On which side would you put, say, someone XXY or XYY? The fact that such people exist suggests to me it is not binary.

    You missed “usually” in my sentence.

    My perceptions (others’ differ, I’m sure), is that treating it as “a disorder” rather than something that regularly and normally occurs has some connotations and consequences for them that leads to unhappiness more often than for the general population. I don’t see any reason to not treat them as normal, if a bit unusual; I don’t see that it’s any skin off my nose either way.

    I agree.

  223. On the desire to treat people as if they have a disorder because they are different than the world order in your head, again, I am so sick of being bashed by people. Scarlett, what is it with your kind that makes you want to have control over other people, and think that you deserve it? Who are you people to declare “gender is binary”, when there are many people who say clearly that they don’t fit either of your two available options? That desire for complete power over other people’s souls is sick, sick, sick.

    “These are truly end times”
    We’ve been in a dystopia for over a year.

    ITA with bathroom stalls that have adequate doors. The real issue was never about bathrooms or concern that someone was going to be molested in the bathroom. As others have said, transgender people have been using the bathroom of their choice since before gender-coded bathrooms came along. The hypocracy of politicians claiming to be concerned was just made apparent when they shrugged off claims by a very prominent person that he assaulted women on the regular and could get away with it because he was a star. It’s all about power. They bow to his and want to make others kneel before their own.

  224. “I hate, hate, hate Rome lights that stay on after door is closed.”

    I dislike dome lights that do this. I consider it more of a bug than a feature.

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