Envisioning a Career Path with Pit Stops

Envisioning a Career Path with Pit Stops


Illustration: Randall Enos

Illustration: Randall Enos

IN the month of January alone, researchers concluded that high I.Q. diminishes a woman’s chances of getting married; men in demanding jobs prefer to wed women willing to be old-fashioned stay-at-home mothers; men looking for long-term relationships would rather have them with women lower on the job ladder than higher; the number of women who have never had children is rising markedly; and employers do in fact hold working mothers to a higher performance standard and working fathers to a lower one.

Rounding this out with a flourish were the remarks of Harvard University’s president, Lawrence H. Summers, who wondered whether women lag behind men in mathematics and science because they were born that way.

Of all these demoralizing tidbits, the one getting the most attention is the suggestion by Dr. Summers that one cannot ignore the role of genetics when women fail to rise through the ranks. That remark certainly rankled me, but something else he reportedly said – largely ignored in the resulting firestorm – troubled me more.

Though there is no exact transcript of the off-the-record meeting in question, Mr. Summers is reported to have said there were fewer women on the math and science faculty at the country’s most elite institutions because those jobs simply entail more time and energy than women with children were willing to give. Work less, get less – doesn’t sound all that explosive, does it? And that is the problem. READ MORE