Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Women v. Women

The Invisible Adjunct has a post about a recent letter in the Chronicle. The author, Cady Wells, has chosen to leave academia because of the unreasonable demands on her time. Interestingly, she feels that as a woman academic more is expected of her then her male counterparts. All this work has hurt her health, so she's opting out.

Wells resents the incredible amount of hours we must put into our jobs today. No problem with that.

But what got IA upset (and myself), is Wells comment about women with children who opt out. Wells writes,

I've read articles in The Chronicle about mothers leaving academe to have more time with their children. While those articles make excellent points about the conflicting roles of mother and professor, they neglect the larger issue of the enormous space that work fills in all our lives. In a wealthy country such as the United States, we should all be able to afford time for friends, family, exercise, healthy diets, and spiritual growth. That right should not be reserved just for mothers.

Why pick on the mothers? The only exercise I get is picking up my son from nursery school, lifting my large baby up four flights of stairs, and putting away toys for the fiftieth time that day. I'm not doing pilates in a gym with a liter of water. And a healthy diet? Ha! I started the day off with half a pot of coffee and a couple of Mallowmars. Time with friends? Oh, sure. I haven't been to a movie in a year.

Why is there this tension between women with children and women without?

Maybe that's part of the problem with the Belkin article. It didn't talk about how raising kids is really hard work.

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