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Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby Dick Woodward » Thu May 28, 2015 4:01 pm

Regarding the comment in the original post about the lack of a male appendage, I once worked with a woman who told an interviewee "You'll do fine here, you have a penis." This was in a small industrial setting where there was a fairly large percentage of women in relatively senior positions. Unfortunately, this person decided that sexism rather than her abrasive personality, merely adequate skills and the fact that she had maxed out position-wise in her specific area was the reason for her failure to advance.

While there are no doubt troglodytes out there who still look at women as inferior beings, I suspect that, as others have said, that these guys are predominately in academia, In academia, tenure makes it hard to fire someone, thus opening the door for all sorts of bad behavior. In industry, someone like that is too much of a liability for a company to tolerate, so they will likely get fired. Unfortunately (and I have seen this happen), for liability reasons, the firing company cannot and will not say "we fired Joe because he's a sexist pig" and instead say something like "he left to pursue other options." So Joe goes to the next company (unless the grapevine preceded him).

There are also women (like the one mentioned above, and hopefully no more than a small percentage of the total) who find it easier to blame sexism for their career failures than to do a brutal self-assessment to really understand the reason for their problems.

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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby Yandorio » Sat May 30, 2015 1:48 pm

I've seen Good Old Boys' Club.
I've also seen the opposite, labs with a fierce female
PI who hires mostly female staff.
Truth is Science is much much more of a Rainbow Club than
it was 40 years ago. They have these "Diversity Councils" now
that make it very clear they are looking for women and minorities.
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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby Nate W. » Sun May 31, 2015 6:15 pm

I have to agree with Dave Walker. Despite the rhetoric, I think the academy has problems with sexual discrimination and female hiring. Once one of my PIs and I interviewed a pregnant women for a tech position. She was highly qualified with a BS from an ivy league school. My PI passed on this candidate because "she is pregnant and would require 2 months of maternity leave." Also, he said "occupational health will restrict her duties."

The more serious discrimination problem has to do with funding and hiring. Many great scientists without funding (or limited funding) don't get any consideration for faculty positions because they can't get federal funding for research. Honestly, a vocal feminist activist like Gloria Steinem could get a position with 0.5-2 million in federal funding even at Old Boys' Club University. It is all about the money.

Getting funding depends more on who you work for and their connections than the quality of science. The private sector, especially large law firms and large companies, do a far better job than academia; because more is at stake financially and public universities have legal protections against sexual discrimination lawsuits (e.g sovereign immunity).
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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby PG » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:42 am

I am in a country that gives payed maternity leave for up to a year and the possibility to add additional unpayed time. One time I offered a position as project leader to a female that was approx 6 months pregnant. The goal in that case was to make the hire, provide introduction training and get her started whcih was then going to be followed by probably 6 months maternity leave before she would join the company again. It was a hire that we wanted to make due to her previous experiences and personallity but unfortunately she declined.

I cant really see that being away up to 2 months should be a problem if it is a hire that you otherwise would like to do but of course there are always people who will consider almost anything to be a problem and Yes I am sure that there are cases of discrimination due to different reasons.

When a neighboring country started allowing for men to have paternity leave the CEO of a very large company is supposed to have said "company x will of course follow the law and allow for men to have paternity leave but I will personally ruin the career of the first male that uses this privilage not only within company X but in the entire country"
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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby Nate W. » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:29 am

PG, I wanted to hire her but my boss overruled me. The maternity leave pay would have come off the grants. While she was pregnant occupational health would have restricted her exposure to radioactivity and certain chemicals. In my PI's mind he couldn't afford this much downtime.

However, that doesn't excuse his disregard for the law. He discriminated against her because she was female. The law is the law and you follow it regardless of your beliefs. Otherwise, you cost the organization a lot money in litigation expenses. Plus, you hurt your reputation within the organization.

The last medical school were I worked ignored the laws on Medicaid billing. It cost them millions in litigation. About 30 different lawsuits were filed over the same issue of improper billing.
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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby PG » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:46 pm

I fully understand that your PI is making the hiring decisions. That part is what it should be.
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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby SPD » Sat Oct 24, 2015 5:27 am

Unfortunately, almost all of the comments in this section seem to be related to employment within the developed world. In other parts of the world gender discrimination (and discrimination of all kinds) is alive and well. Employment practices operate with variable levels of institutional policy protections or governmental law/legislative protections that would potentially prevent these behaviors or attitudes. And sometimes the women themselves are accepting of what would be inappropriate in other parts of the world because that's the way things are done in their universe.
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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Oct 24, 2015 6:58 pm

SPD wrote:Unfortunately, almost all of the comments in this section seem to be related to employment within the developed world. In other parts of the world gender discrimination (and discrimination of all kinds) is alive and well. Employment practices operate with variable levels of institutional policy protections or governmental law/legislative protections that would potentially prevent these behaviors or attitudes. And sometimes the women themselves are accepting of what would be inappropriate in other parts of the world because that's the way things are done in their universe.


I'm sure there's a great deal of truth in that, thanks.

I remember an assignment in Africa where the age was stated in the advert -- age 30 to age 50, please apply. No one over 50 was considered. They could get away with that in Africa, but no way would that potential for age discrimination fly in most other areas of the world.

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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby P.C. » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:42 pm

Dave, look at Japan, which is one of the women hating cultures of a developed nation. Look at the tolerance for JK culture. (School Girl).
Lip service to women s rights while tolerating a culture of abuse.
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain
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Re: Is this sex discrimination comment truly valid?

Postby Yandorio » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:00 pm

"Dave, look at Japan, which is one of the women hating cultures of a developed nation."

I did postdoctoral research in Japan and felt they had a lot of
respect for the women. In fact, I don't think I ever worked
in a science lab with so many females. Let me guess, you've been
reading lots of Gloria Steinem lately...
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