Picking up where we left off a week ago…Caplan outlines 11 myths about women that she argues are pertinent to the case of women in academia. I’m going to skip over the first batch of myths, and focus on the ones specifically about women and working.
20. Full-time men work full-time, but part-time women only work part-time – and both full-time and part-time male employees work harder than females.
I think this myth encompasses the perception that if your office is occupied you are working, and if it is not you are not. Never mind that in your office you might be checking the sports scores (or blogging) just as well as working, and if you are not in your office you might be in the field or with your laptop in a coffeeshop rather than out shopping for clothes. This office occupancy business is one that has received quite a bit of attention in my department this year, with some of the senior faculty complaining that people are never around and “it’s just not the same as it used to be.” The junior faculty retort that we are busy doing research – and that some times it can be more effective, or even necessary, to work away from the office. In this case, I don’t think the issue is men vs. women, but it has made me very conscientious about showing up even on days I don’t teach and making sure to leave my office door open. In fact, today we have no classes, yet my department chair just stopped by to talk with me. I’m glad I was here and looking busy. This business of “face-time” is also one of the reasons that I take care to check my email in the evening and reply to any from colleagues/administrators before the next morning. But, at the same time, it feels kind of sick to have to do this, and I don’t think it promotes a culture of having a life outside the job.
21. Married women and mothers do less work in their place of employment than do single women.
22. Single women academics have all the time in the world and thus should carry more teaching and service responsibilities.
Based on myths 21 and 22, no woman wins. Either you are shirking your duties, or you are pack mule, so keep loading it on. But what’s worse is that these myths make assumptions about women based on their marital (or motherhood) status, *on top* of all the other mistaken assumptions that we have to deal with. And these are myths that women may have about each other. (I’ll admit, sometimes I’m insanely jealous of single women academics and their lesser time constraints, but then again, I don’t think they should carry a heavier workload because of it.)
Obviously, I am no where near done with the book in the promised 3 posts. Hell, I’m not even done with the myths. But I have made a committment to myself to see this book-blogging-business through, and I’m going to keep posting bits and pieces as I have time. I’ve renewed the book from the library, so it’s mine for another few months. I’m only sad that there is a waiting list for the book here at Mystery U.