A friend of mine shared a link to this article by Ann-Marie Slaughter on facebook, and I immediately thought to pass it along to members of the Women Entomologist network.
A large focus of ESA in the past couple years has been on raising awareness of the difference of men and women in entomology departments across the country in an effort to close the gender gap. I applaud this effort and was an active participant during last year's annual meeting symposium. But I feel that talking about it will inevitably lead to the question, "now what?" This article really gets at the societal and social bases on why the gender gap exists in high ranking offices in government, business, and in our case, academia, and on the generational differences between women who are 50, and young professionals who are 30, and wondering if "having it all" is a feasible possibility.
I am currently a fourth year PhD student, and planning on finishing up next spring. I've already got the thought of "where do I go from here" looming in the back of my mind. I have often turned to visiting women entomologist seminar speakers for advice on where to go career wise, whether to pursue a career in academia, government, or some "other" that I'm as yet unaware. But even at this early point in my career, I'm feeling pressure from the personal life vs. career choice. My boyfriend and I have done the long distance thing for a year now, and he's finally moving back to California to start a four year dental program at USC, just as I'm finishing my PhD. Recently, a fellow female entomologist told me that moving forward, I'll need to "prioritize, and make a decision of whether he's really worth it," when I expressed some anxiety about the possibility of being able to find a career track job in the LA area.
With the current state of the economy, I think it's more common for young professionals to uproot and move away from their families to pursue job opportunities, as opposed to being able to find those jobs in an area they already live. I also think that young women like myself struggle with this to a greater extent than our male counterparts. I just wanted to share this article and open up discussion on advice for young women getting ready to join the workforce, but who are also trying to balance relationships. The women in entomology discussion often revolves around women wanting to have kids, or women who already do. But let's not forget about the women who may be making tough decisions about careers in entomology before they even get married :-)