Monday, May 7, 2007

Mother's day is approaching

I am laughing alone in front of my computer. I just found The Onion's Mother's Day edition. After careful perusal, I think my favorite is the women's history timeline, especially the last point. It reminds me that I need to schedule a Pap test soon.

WS sent back the final version of the paper with a few changes. It still needs some very minor fixing, but it's really, really done. Wow.

I spent most of the day working on the project with UnCo, partially with him but mostly on my own. We did make some progress, not unrelated to my valiant effort to keep everything I know in a nicely readable file. UnCo is really smart, but occasionally the combination of "Don't bother to check that, I did that already" and "No, it appears I can't find the correct sheet of paper" can go on my nerves.

I also did non-research work, discussing whether a certain paper should at all be considered for a prestigious journal, and wrote a recommendation letter for a brilliant woman who's trying to get her first tenure position (with the almost usual two-body problem).

Before lunch I had the occasion to talk with the director of the research institute where I am visiting. I politely inquired why there was no information on their website about schools/Kindergartens/daycare centers in the area, to help parents planning a trip (this place usually ships the first invitation to a program three years ahead - I got mine with more than a year to spare). He answered courteously that they had considered it, but it was all so complicated that they decided to forget about it.

I asked whether he was aware that in this way the institute de facto discriminates against women scientists, since they are much more likely then men not to have a stay-at-home spouse who could invest a lot of time in searching stuff on the internet. I pointed out that adding a few links to the website of schools in the area and/or schools that offer bilingual programs didn't seem to require much effort. He said that he was sorry but after serious consideration they had decided that it was so much of a hassle to deal with kids that it really wasn't worth the secretary's time.

I am just wondering whether I should send a letter about this to him, and cc all the private organization which fund this place. With a link to Princeton, maybe. Where after all they do take women seriously.

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