From The Hermitage. And we’re special because we do Social Science.
1. Are there any suggestions about how to look professorial as a young (and young looking and smallish) TT faculty?
Here’s our post on dressing the academic. Bottom line though: the younger you look, the more professionally you need to dress. Also, get an expensive haircut– ask the hairdresser specifically to make you look older.
2. For those of us who like things like pink, skirts, baking, sewing, knitting, heels, makeup, and other things girlie, how important is it to not do / wear / talk about these things lest we be seen as fluffy girls who can’t do Science?
A. #1 Well, I’m not at a top 10 school, and I’m not into most of those “girlie” things so I can’t say. I will say that many of my male colleagues are into food, so we talk about food, including baking, a lot. Don’t bore your colleagues. If they’re not into such things, don’t talk about them. I don’t talk about my nerd hobbies to people who aren’t nerds. I’m not hiding them, but nobody wants to be around that person.
#2 Hey, knitting is trendy these days! All the hipsters are doing it. Food is always good to talk about. I think you can wear whatever you want, as long as it’s work-appropriate. Heels aren’t practical for many parts of my job. One of the reasons I don’t talk that much about my hobbies at work is because I like some separation between work and the rest of my life. But like #1, I’m not hiding them and will talk about them if the conversation comes around to it.
3. What can we do when other women deny there are problems being a woman in science?
A. #1 Well, I’m always into the facts. There are good controlled studies (done by psychologists usually). But many of my male colleagues will deny said facts because they have blinders on when it comes to issues of gender. So if such women exist, I assume that they probably have blinders on too. So … no idea. Thank God my social science doesn’t seem to have any of these women I hear about in other professions. Our Grand Old Dames are amazing in every aspect. Possibly because their careers were spent studying gender.
#2 I do what I can to educate with data, like #1 said. Then I just sigh and move on, blaming the patriarchy. I wish I had the superpower to force insight into people’s brains, but I only have so much energy in the day. I make a mental note to never work with that person in the future and try to let it go.
4. It seems to me that often women don’t have as strong professional networks as men – the kind that gets built over shared interests (sports or drinking). People seem to gravitate towards others like them. What specific advice do you have for establishing and maintaining network with men as well as other women?
A. #1 My early networks were predominately female. Only recently have I branched out to more male networks. One thing that is important to do is to share your work with the people you cite. In a male-dominated field, these folks will predominately be male (even if you work in gender studies!)
#2 Likewise, lots of my network is women — I was very fortunate to work in a lab of strong, supportive, and very intelligent female scientists in grad school, and they are still a large part of my network. My adviser did an amazing job making sure her students got introduced to other successful female role models. Only after I graduated and got a job did I work up the courage to contact big names in the field, a lot of whom are men. I have been given some opportunities to network with leaders in the field and I’m trying not to mess it up.