Monday, June 2, 2008

Seriously, can you remove your head out of your ass?

So I have already posted my thoughts on the harvard business report regarding women in science.
I am pissed at what the article has to say about women and science, according to a summary in the globeandmail. First this article was in the life & style section of the newspaper when it should have been in the report on business section. Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) fields are business, human resource issues relating to them are important both for our economy and our society, that however is a different rant. I am pissed because the very group that is supposed to be advocating for the plight of SET is completely ignoring the issue, to the extent that they claim the female brain drain is not an issue in Biotechnology. How can I state this as a matter of fact? Well at the risk of losing my anonymity, I will tell you that I hosted a roundtable at which Colette Rivet was invited to speak, the purpose of the roundtable? To quote my own invitation to Colette:

Panellists on the roundtable will be asked whether the biotechnology industry and academia are facing the same challenges as (in respect to a skilled labour shortage and diminishing populations) other industries and countries? What will the economic impact of these challenges be? Is encouraging professional women to re-enter the job market by improving access to quality childcare and instituting flexible work-hours a solution to the impending labour shortages?

When I asked whether Biotechnology was facing a brain drain, the answer was an emphatic no, biotechnology is all peaches and roses when it come to women’s equality. Really because that is why I picked this topic. I am pissed because that roundtable was hosted by a student organization, it was full of young women who wanted to know what the challenges they faced and what some solutions were, what could they do to make a difference. It was meant to be a worthwhile discussion on what the real issues or challenges were and what were possible solutions. There were NO politicians, the other panelists? a wonderful policy guy, a banker to discuss to the financial impacts associated with HR policies (because Biotech is mostly startups where I am) and the HR council for Canada Biotech Industry. Do you know what we got? Bullshit, nothing worthwhile complete denial of an issue. But as the Harvard report shows the fact of the matter is well qualified women, and men, are leaving SET fields because of an inability to find work-life balance. We are losing talented individuals and we need to figure out how to stem the flow. Sticking our heads in our asses and denying there is a problem doesn’t do anyone any favors.

As an aside Lesson #432861 - if you're going to rant on the phone about heads in asses while trying to cook dinner, make sure the monkey is within sight because you won't notice the silence over your ranting and you will end up with this:

What you can't see, his pants soaked in the water that used to be in the toilet bowl, the bathroom floor covered in the water that used to be in the toilet bowl.


Amanda said...

This is just frustrating! What is so difficult to understand about people wanting to at least know their family and work at the same time? For crying out loud!

At least Monkey is curious about things. Even if it is the toilet.

Melanie said...

Loving your comments about women in science! And how frustrating that discussion must have been. Also, this has given me maybe a bit of insight into my own job search and the issues at hand.

About your anonymity ... any blog where you've left a comment you've lost it already :) AT least for the blog's author :)

And I'm really lucky. Cameron hasn't yet that I know of played in the toilet.

Jendeis said...

My thoughts starting from the bottom of the post.

1. At least the water in the toilet is clean water. Was the monkey trying to give the toys a bath?

2. In my experience, there seems to be not only a gender-disconnect, but also a generation-disconnect. Generalization approaching: the mothers of the 80s "wanted it all", tried to be superwomen and failed over and over. I think that women who are in their 30s and early 40s now are willing to give up certain jobs if it means that they cannot have the life they wish.

Nicky said...

Back when Larry Summers made his ridiculous "inherent differences" speech, I had to stop reading articles on women in science because it was becoming difficult to stop myself from throwing things. Honestly, with study after study pointing out the growing impact of ignoring women in SET fields, how can anyone still be claiming that it's not an issue?!

Anonymous said...

Here from NCLM - great post! I did my undergrad in biochem/biology and did lab research w/ the NRC and a university prof, but ultimately decided to go with teaching - which I love, and might have decided on anyway. In my alternate life I think I'd have enjoyed working at the level 4 bio research facility in Winnipeg (I'm a fellow Canuck BTW!)

It is frustrating and sad and counterproductive that people don't want to admit there are real issues here, and see how they can be resolved. I wonder if Europe has any models worth investigating? They are light years ahead of North America in terms of other quality of life issues like holidays, and their research & productivity doesn't seem to suffer from it.

Cute little monkey - just follwing in Mama's footsteps and experimenting!

The bean-mom said...

Incredible, ridiculous, absurd, obtuse, beyond aggravating.

The panel discussion and their denial, that is.

I'm sure Monkey's little escapade was aggravating, too, but at least he's cute. =)

Dr. Bad Ass said...

I can only imagine how infuriating it is to arrange a panel and to have them completely deny the reason for its existence. Erg.

Here from NCLM.

DC said...

LOL that the work-life balance involves toilet raids! ;)

~Jess said...

How frustrating! It seems to be a common industry issue for companies to understand the needs of families and workers.

Too funny about the toilet situation.

Here via NCLM.

JamieD said...

Why is it when they are quiet, it usually involves toilet bowls?

Momma Mary said...

I'm terribly surprised that anyone would assume people in a science field want a life outside of work? I mean, don't scientists live in their labs? Aren't they geeks with no interest in love or human contact? <--sarcasm.

And there was silence. Silence is golden, unless you have kids, then you know it's covered in crap.

(Oh, I'm here from NCLM! :) )

InfertileMadWoman said...

Rant: You go girl!!!

Picture: Freaking PRICELESS- blackmail photo for sure!!!

Stomping over from NCLM


Tanya said...

I think you've just given me a glimpse into my future. I wonder if those toilet locks work?

Sorry to hear you got nothing of what you were looking for from your conference.

Kim said...

This could have been my 1 yr old. The other night we found a few cars in the potty! Ugh! NCLM

Rebecca said...

But it looks like his TRUCK was cleaned quite well. :)