《台灣女科技人電子報》009期—書籍簡介

性別與科技論文/書籍介紹

Motherhood,the Elephant in the Laboratory: Women Scientists Speak Out.

作者:Emily Monosson
出版社:Cornell University Press
出版日期:2008年

http://www.the-scientist.com/cultureFriday/2008/08/22/
By Vanessa Fogg

Dr. Mom

A new book explores the challenges of balancing motherhood and a career in science

[Published 22nd August 2008 02:50 PM GMT ]

When toxicologist Rebecca Efroymson flew to Washington D.C. to defend a grant proposal before a federal agency, she lacked child care options and was forced to bring along her sick toddler. On the day of her presentation, she left her feverish, screaming son in a hotel room in the care of his grandparents, who had taken a train down from Philadelphia to babysit. Fatigued by lack of sleep, Efroymson admits that she did not give her best presentation, and her grant was not funded. "This was the first time that my split life might really have impacted my work and the viability of my job," she writes.

The "split life" between work and child rearing is one familiar to millions of working parents. For women, balancing work and family can present particularly difficult challenges in the highly competitive, often male-dominated world of research science. Efroymson's story is one of many told in a timely new book, Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory: Women Scientists Speak Out .

Editor Emily Monosson has collected the voices and personal stories of 34 mother-scientists working in various fields. In eloquent and often witty essays, these women directly address the challenges of being mothers in the scientific workforce.

Contributors to this volume include biologists, physicists, geologists, and oceanographers. They are professors, writers, independent consultants, science policy experts, teachers, and government researchers. For those who fear that motherhood is incompatible with traditional scientific research careers, this book offers some stunning examples to the contrary. An atmospheric chemist writes of raising five children as she works and rises to a position of leadership at NASA. An astronomer raises four children, each born only eighteen months apart, as she first achieves tenure at the government Space Telescope Science Institute, then takes on a faculty position at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Other women seek non-traditional careers in a quest for balance, and forge new paths for themselves. The editor of the anthology, Monosson, is a prime example: trained as a toxicologist with a Ph.D from Cornell, she has established a career as an independent consultant, researcher, and writer.

The diversity of career paths described by Motherhood's essayists is impressive and eye-opening. These women demonstrate that there are number of different ways of balancing work and family life. Even for those who eventually end up in traditional careers, the road may be circuitous. Some of the women in these pages drop out of the workforce for a few years while their children are young, or work part-time. Many have setbacks, and make career compromises for a spouse's or their children's sakes. Some eventually return to the lab and tenure-track careers; testament that these traditional careers - often thought of as rigid, unyielding pathways - may have more flexibility than we have been led to believe. Indeed, the fluidity of scientific careers - the shifts between home life, academia, industry, government, and back again - becomes a major theme.

It is not all sunshine and success, of course. Many of these women also write movingly of the sacrifices they have made. Full professors admit wistfully that they wish they had been able to spend more time with their growing young children. Meanwhile, some of those who deviated from traditional research tracks report a twinge when they envision the scientific careers they might have had.

These pages also reveal that discrimination is alive and well in the twenty-first century. In one harrowing chapter, Gina Wesley-Hunt, an evolutionary biologist, tells of how she was fired in 2006 from a postdoctoral position at an unnamed institution. The reason for her dismissal? She was fired for being pregnant. As she learned to her shock: "The equal opportunity office and office overseeing interns and postdocs told me there was no policy that protected me. It was entirely up to my PI, and I was on my own."

Essays in the book are arranged chronologically, according to the date by which the writer's PhD was conferred. The book opens with scientists who received their PhDs in the 1970s, and marches onward through the 80s and 90s, ending with the voices of women who are in graduate school today. In this way, the book tracks the sweeping social changes of the past thirty years. Despite the great influx of women into science careers over the last decade, it is sobering to read that conflicts between work and family have not changed. Indeed, some of the essays in the last section read as though they could have been written decades ago.

Monosson provides social and historical context in her introduction, and to each section of the book. She notes that in the 1970s, women earned only 17% of the doctorates awarded in science and engineering. Today the figure is around 45%. However, women continue to be underrepresented in the highest tiers of scientific employment, and are more likely than men to work part-time or to leave science altogether. Monosson closely examines this phenomenon, dubbed "the leaky pipeline." She discusses the growing body of evidence which points to the demands of motherhood as a major cause of the leaky pipeline, citing the work of Mary Ann Mason and Marc Goulden, among others, who found that women academics who have babies at early stages of their careers are less likely than childless women to achieve tenure. As early as the 1970s, Monosson notes, there were published calls for more family-friendly and flexible career structures in the sciences. These calls have been repeated in each succeeding decade.

It is often said that motherhood is not for the faint of heart. The same could be said for a career in science. The debate over what causes the leaky pipeline, and remedies to address it, rages on. The pace of institutional and cultural change can seem glacial. In the mean-time, scientists who are also mothers can find support by sharing their stories with one another. Monosson's book provides a valuable medium for doing so. As one woman writes in the opening pages of Motherhood: "In the final analysis, every woman finds her own way. It's just good to know that none of us is alone."

Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory: Women Scientists Speak Out . Emily Monosson (Editor). Cornell University Press, Ithaca , 2008. 232 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8014-4664-1. $25.00.

Vanessa Fogg is a freelance scientific writer and editor based in Grand Rapids, Michigan . She holds a Ph.D in molecular cell biology from Washington University in St. Louis . She is also a mother.

Emily Monosson has established an accompanying website and online community to discuss issues of motherhood in science, which can be found at http://sciencemoms.wordpress.com/

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comment:

Thanks for the review.

by anonymous poster

[Comment posted 2008-08-22 20:43:32 ]

I can't wait to read this book. I actually left research last fall, a little less than a year into my first postdoc, so that I could spend more time with my two young children, then 5 months and 3 years old. I'm now teaching part-time at a local university, and am contemplating what to do next. In my situation, life in the lab was just too demanding for me to feel that I was giving my best in both my career as a scientist and as a mother/wife.

Not an easy task, but doable.
by Taek You
[Comment posted 2008-08-22 15:55:15 ]

This is not an easy task to take as a woman scientist. In my case, we have waited a baby until my wife almost finished the degree.
When she had a real job, it was not getting any easier at all. Fortunately, I could babysit for a year or so when she started her career in the real world (I became a post-postdoc babysitter). Now, I am in academia with 9 month contract and I try to spend as much time with my teenager children with guilt feeling of the past.
Nothing is easy, especially with the higher degree. Employers have expectations. For many years, my two children were with babysitters all day. There were many instances that the babysitter could not babysit. Well, we had to make urgent arrangements under pressure.
My wife and I were lucky enough that our advisors (through both Ph.D. and postdocs) were so much understanding. Looking back, I really appreciate those mentors and they had great impacts in my wife's and my life.
I think that it is fairly important to find a lab or employer that give full understanding and respect of your family value.

It is about time that this subject is addressed!
by anonymous poster
[Comment posted 2008-08-22 15:11:00 ]

I almost was in tears reading this article. I am a 5th PhD student and have a 15 month old baby at home. I understand the frustration, quilt and exhaustion that are a part of juggling a science career along with motherhood!

Defending your proposal?
by anonymous poster
[Comment posted 2008-08-22 13:09:27 ]

Being a scientist is not easy at all. Being a woman scientist is just much harder. However, let's also acknowledge that there has been very good progress made since the 1960s in the US .

Is it true that she was given a chance to defend her proposal at NIH? If so, she was better treated than most of us (perhaps 99%+, both men or women). We have never been offered a chance to face our reviewers! Dad


working parents
by anonymous poster
[Comment posted 2008-08-22 12:43:12 ]

Word of advice to young scientists - if you are a "power couple" both with demanding careers in academia, be aware that the nanny will be raising your kids instead of you. If you are going to have kids, one of you should consider dropping back to part-time work - either the the father or the mother (although women in general seem to be more adept at the multi-tasking required to run a household). I ended up not getting tenure partly because I was not willing to work 70-hour weeks while my wife was building her business,
but at least I didn't have some stranger raising my kids.

Posted by Edyta Zielinska [Entry posted at 20th August 2008 06:00 PM GMT ]

All fat is not not created equal: In the past couple years researchers have come to realize that there's good fat and bad fat, and a study in this week's Nature points to a biological reason for this difference.

White fat, the main type of fat in the body, develops from fat precursor cells and stores excess energy. Brown fat, however, burns energy rather than storing it, and the new findings suggest it originates from muscle precursor cells. That means that "brown fat is one gene away from skeletal muscle," said Bruce Spiegelman from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School , who led the study.

Once thought to be important only for keeping infants and small mammals warm, brown fat may play a role in maintaining normal body weight in humans. Mice that have stores of brown fat are leaner than controls, and become obese when brown fat is knocked out. Brown fat stores have been difficult to find in adult humans, but recent studies using PET scans have identified several brown fatdepots, bolstering the idea that brown fat plays an important role in adult physiology as well.

In previous work, Spiegelman had identified the gene PRDM-16 as the "master regulator" of the brown fat's genetic program. (He wrote about the experiments that led him to PRDM -16 in our January issue ). So his group set out to further define how the gene switches on brown fact cell production.

Researchers had long assumed that white fat and brown fat come from the same fat cell precursor. So when first author Patrick Seale and colleagues knocked down PRDM-16 via RNA interference in brown fat taken from mice, they expected it turn into white fat. Instead "we got muscle," said Spiegelman. To double check their results, researchers took myogenic cells -- muscle cells precursors -- and forced PRDM-16 expression. This time, they turned the cells fated to be muscle cells into brown fat cells. When they tracked the development of myogenic cells in vivo, they saw the cells develop into brown fat or skeletal muscle, but not white fat. The results suggest that "the natural precursor cell type [for brown fat] is probably myogenic," said Spiegelman.

Spiegelman believes that PRDM-16's ability to increase brown fat stores may make it a good target for treating obesity. Along with collaborators at the Broad Institute, his group is now searching for the natural and pharmacological triggers of the gene.

 

科技史小識-來擺科學龍門陣

作者:張之傑
出版社:風景文化

出版日期:2007年

內容簡介本書是作者數十年科技史研究作品之選集。雖然各篇長短性質不一,但皆文筆簡潔流暢,深入淺出易讀,無論博物、人物簡傳、書評和議論,各方面多有獨特的見解,而非人云亦云。不僅從科技史的觀點闡明真相、原委,還能傳遞正確的科學知識,加上可讀性高,故可達到科學普及之目的。

作者介紹
張之傑
筆名章杰、張百器等。資深編輯人暨科普作家。業餘研究民間宗教、民間文學、西藏文學、科學史與美術史,並在大學兼任教職。著述面廣,各類代表作有:《生命》(科普)、《走出實驗室》(雜文)、《寂靜的河堤》(散文)、《綠蜻蜓》(科幻)、《江湖行》(武俠)、《台灣善書小說選》(民間文學)、《西藏文學精選》(西藏文學)、《畫說科學》(科學史、美術史)、《名人的話》(童書)、《世界屋脊》(翻譯)等。主編書刊以《環華百科全書》、《百科大辭典》兩鉅構為代表。

作者相關著作:《自然札記 -大自然小逗點》、《畫說科學-科學與美術的邂逅》

 

當教授變成學生:一位大學教授重讀大一的生活紀實》

作者:麗貝嘉.納珊(Rebekah Nathan)
譯者張至璋
出版社:立緒
出版日期:2006年

內容簡介
在大學教書十五年之後,
她發現自己越來越不了解學生們都在想些什麼?做些什麼?
同事們和她一樣都有個相同的問題:
「為什麼今天的學生越來越難教?…」
於是,她讓時光倒流,重返新鮮人生活……

本書作者匿名的麗貝嘉.納珊( Rebekah Nathan),是美國一所大規模的州立大學人類學教授,教了15年書之後,她發現自已無法瞭解當前大學生的行為舉止。她和同事商談,發現大家都很困惑:為什麼今日大學生變得那麼難教?現在的大學生比以前愛作弊,更無理,更無精打彩嗎?他們到底關不關心成績和教育?納珊決定利用休假一年的時間,以高中畢業的良好成績,獲准註冊入學,混跡在大一新生之間,「刺探」現代大學生是怎麼回事?

為了體驗學生生活,她搬進學生宿舍,登記了全讀課程。她在學生餐廳吃喝,加入學生俱樂部,並且以五十來歲的年紀堅持參加體育活動,定期玩翻翻滾滾的排球和拉拉扯扯的美式足球。納珊成功地處理她的身份問題,發現班上同學難得問她私人生活,或是她為什麼以這種年紀上大學。

納珊的這項舉動,危險性不下於情報員,因為一旦被人識破,後果可能破壞一生學術。此外還有個更大問題,學術倫理和一般道統如何看待資深學者偽裝做學術研究?一九四零年代的「化身博士」( Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde),與後來的電影「變蠅人」也有類似將自身置入研究的情境中。匿名麗貝嘉.納珊在這本書中,是個真實的化身博士,冒著變蠅人的危險,從事人類學研究。

她也自問人類學界和學生能允許學者這樣做「化裝刺探」嗎?她算不算欺騙?學校贊同嗎?然而更重要的是,她發現了什麼?對美國大學和全球教育界,有什麼啟示和警惕?本書「後記」也花了不少篇幅來討論訪問者與被訪者之間的互相尊重關係。可以說是對讀者上了一堂人際、法律和人權的課程課。

《當教授變成學生》是納珊與學生、教授和其他大學教職員的訪問、交談、互動,以逐日細心觀察為基礎,所撰寫的珍實大學生活。是學生,家長,教授,大學行政人員,以及今日任何關懷高等教育的人都應該讀的書。

相關推薦
蘇珊.莫菲 (康乃爾大學,學生與學術部,副校長)
「麗貝嘉.納珊運用她的人類學家素養,以及教授當學生的技巧,呈現給我們大學一年級新生體驗的特殊面貌。她還展現今日大學生面對學生文化,社會規範和大眾期望時,未經過濾的純潔看法。對當前所有從事大學教育者,這是本有深度的書。」

露依絲葳絲 (作家,《同學會》作者)
「這是本讓人從頭到尾一口氣看完的書。主題牽涉廣泛,橫跨友誼和群體生活,地點涉及大學教室和宿舍生活,經驗涉及少數民族,以及人數日益增加的國際學生。麗貝嘉.納珊遂以其熟練的人類學技巧來研究這個‘大學村'。當我們親近的這些大學生,參與這個社會的大團體時,老師、學生、父母會發現本書的光芒。」

瑪格麗特愛森哈特 (科羅拉多大學包德分校教授)
「首先要說明,坊間極少這類書。作者住進學生宿舍,在教室上課,而她原本卻在此擔任多年教授,多麼神妙。從她註冊為新生開始,透過她的人類學者眼光,我們始得知學生世界有多不同,不是教授能想像的。我想,每個對大學生生活感興趣的人,不管是否為了學術,都會想看這本書,都會欣賞這本書。」

愛蜜麗托絲 (路易斯安納大學,作家)
「這是本傑出的書,也是我在本世紀閱讀過最重要的書。我深知它會改變我的教課,激發我的寫作。麗貝嘉.納珊隱藏自己,當個學生,住進校舍,可謂膽大心細,特別是她已是個五十來歲的人類學女教授。她那些同學的故事非常迷人,而這些學生是多麼疲憊,卻又聰明地適應著當前的制度………大學系所人員多半渾然不覺的世界。她的記載揭露,也解決了不少神秘的事,像為什麼有那麼多大學生不讀指定的書?為什麼星期五的課如同大難?什麼原因學生不願意參加課堂討論?為什麼多半大學生不願意在課外討論觀念問題?為什麼國際學生見到美國大學生的舉止那麼吃驚,甚至驚嚇?本書值得我們重視,在於它對於私人事物的道德療方,例如醉酒和欺騙。納珊擅於說故事,她描述人們努力在大學營造共同體之際學生方面的發展,讀來既有趣又傷感。《當教授變成學生》就是一本既有趣又傷感,令人眼前一亮,心智掙扎的好書。如果我知道作者是誰,我會熱切而誠懇地向她祝賀。」

約翰范馬能 (麻省理工學院)
「《當教授變成學生》觀察敏銳,充滿睿智,但是毫不做作。它可當成小說,參考書來讀。尤可喜的,它說出許多我們關心的事。麗貝嘉.納珊細心的實地調查訪問,以及精明地慎選主題研究,為美國大學生活帶來動人而重要的收益。」

作者簡介
麗貝嘉.納珊 (Rebekah Nathan)
人類學博士,曾在美國海外廣泛進行實地研究工作。目前是“某大”人類學教授,教大學部及研究所課程,兼任大學畢業生輔導協調人。

譯者簡介
張至璋
政大法律系畢業,曾在中廣,華視,澳洲國家廣播公司任新聞主播,主編,製作主管及《讀者文摘》翻譯多年。獲澳洲聯邦及台灣文學獎項,出版《鏡中爹》,《何凡傳》等書。

 

女人治校先鋒 —Smith College首位女校長回憶錄》

作者:吉兒.凱爾.康威 (Jill Ker Conway)
譯者:何穎怡
出版社:女書文化 (吳氏總經銷)
出版日期:2002年

內容簡介
吉兒.康威繼頗受好評的暢銷書《庫倫來時路》( The Road from Coorain)、《真實北方》(True North)後,推出第三本非凡的回憶錄,描寫她身為史密斯學院第一位女校長,任內的喜悅、挑戰與驚喜。

故事始於一九七三年,在康威毫不知情的狀況下,史密斯學院將她鎖定為可能的新校長人選,派出一群成員前來「審視」她。而後康威評估自己接任史密斯學院的熱情與可能性,終於決定接受挑戰,在一九七五年出任校長。康威被數千名年輕女性包圍,她們傳達出的能量讓她得以面對應付不同成員的困難──從自詡捍衛人文學習的偉大傳統者,到同樣意志堅定、堅持改變的年輕女性主義者。我們看到康威奔波於教職員、學生、家長、校董與校友的需求與關切間,重新定義與設計史密斯學院的面向,以符合女性生活的真實新貌。我們感受到她急於形塑這所教育機構,俾以吸引新世代學生的迫切感。

在這個過程裡,我們也看到康威學習應付丈夫的疾病、保護與維持內在自我的掙扎與努力。十年任期屆滿,我們看到她「修畢」了史密斯學院學分,也做出了貢獻,是該踏上繼續深造的路了。

【名家推薦】

吉兒•康威博士堅守著史密斯女子學院優良傳統以抵擋男女合校流行的風氣,終而開創出新格局,這是一項艱鉅的任務與挑戰。同樣身為高等教育行政女性工作者必有同感,因為,我也曾經承擔這份任務與面臨挑戰。

                      ──張家宜(淡江大學行政副校長)

男女分校好,還是合校好?這個問題可能沒有標準答案。但是吉兒•康威的《女人治校先鋒》細膩述說她十年的史密斯學院歲月,生動清晰地展現出「以女學生需求為中心」的教育實踐是如此之獨特、深刻與豐富,為女子學院的存在價值與時代意義,提出了最堅實的見證。

                  ──謝小芩(國立清華大學通識教育中心教授)

 

作者簡介
吉兒.凱爾.康威( Jill Ker Conway)出生於澳洲新南威爾斯的希爾西頓,一九五八年畢業於雪梨大學,一九六九年拿到美國哈佛大學博士學位。一九六二年,她嫁給約翰.康威,一起遷居約翰的祖國加拿大。一九六四到一九七五年間,吉兒.康威在多倫多大學任教,並擔任副校長,之後任美國史密斯學院校長十年。現在她是麻省理工學院「科學、科技與社會」學程的訪問教授,擔任「澳商聯德利」(Lend Lease)公司董事長,並擔任「耐吉」公司、「美林證券」與「高露潔棕櫚(Colgate-Palmolive)公司的董事。目前定居於波士頓。

譯者簡介
何穎怡,政治大學新聞研究所畢,美國威斯康辛大學比較婦女學研究,現專職寫作與翻譯。著有《風中的蘆葦》、《女人在唱歌》,譯有《不與男孩同一國》、《安妮•強的烈焰青春》、《西蒙波娃的美國紀行》、《乳房的歷史》、《第四級病毒》、《天真的人類學家》與《嘻哈美國》等書。