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Right so as I said yesterday, I want to talk about the AAUP article on why graduate students reject the fast track. And perhaps this shall be a short post, but given that a number of friends and I grouped and complained on Facebook I thought it was an appropriate topic.

I specifically have an issue with the inherent assumption in the analysis that family friendly means being friendly to ankle biters. Admittedly graduate students are at that age where they decide to have ankle biters, but there also a number of family issues including marriage and the 2 body problem and taking care of extended family (delays in going to grad school just make us grad students older and some of our folks weren’t 20 when they had us either), or people like me who got married and are now wondering if that was the right choice and might be contemplating divorce as a grad student. Choosing adoption or birth as the sign post for family building may be traditional, but it still seems to reinforce the mentality that women can only progress in life if they have kids. Oddly enough, I don’t feel that way being part of the population which has willing chosen to be childfree.

This same issue came up with a white paper for the astro decadal survey on the state of the profession, there was an implicit assumption that family = ankle biters. When I pointed this out I was brushed off completely. So I’ll say it now: I’m a female scientist and I’ve had a tubal and I don’t want any goddamn children. I have no clue how to approach this as it comes to postdocs: “oh and by the way you don’t need to worry about me having kids during this postdoc, I took care of that plumbing issue for good”?

And as a scientist I also feel a bit concerned that so many of these studies aren’t run by social scientists. This one at least has one whose training I can find make me comfortable, but the women in astronomy studies really chap my ass as they’re run by astronomers and the questions are generally loaded due by the survey writers.

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