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Parenting and academic tenure will be discussed by panelists

The Program in Women's Studies will present a panel discussion on "Coordinating Academic and Biological Clocks: Parenting And Tenure" on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 4:30pm in Rm 10-250.

Although the overall participation of women in higher education has increased drastically over the past decade, the number of female professors, especially in the physical sciences, has not shown any improvement. Many researchers attribute the disparity to prejudice within tenure selection committees.

However, recent evidence suggests that discrimination may be more subtly rooted in the choice to have a family. The tenure selection process demands that each candidate publish a certain number of papers in scientific journals, and having children when developing one's career greatly detracts from the amount of time in which such research can be conducted.

Professor Lotte Bailyn of the Sloan School, chair of the faculty and author of Breaking the Mold: Women, Men, and Time in the New Corporate World (Free Press, 1993), will moderate a panel of researchers and administrators who will discuss what measures can be taken to give women who want to have children an equal opportunity in the tenure process. One controversial proposal is to give an extra year of consideration for women who have been pregnant during the tenure-selection time frame.

Other panelists will be Dr. Shirley Malcom, head of the Directorate of Education and Human Resources Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Dr. Anne E. Preston, a labor economist at the Russell Sage Foundation and the W. Averell Harriman School for Policy and Management at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who is working on a manuscript comparing careers of men and women in the sciences and engineering; and Dr. Virginia Valian, professor of psychology and linguistics at Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center, author of Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women (forthcoming, MIT Press).

The event is free and open to the public. For information, call x3-8844.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 22, 1997.

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