Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coming Up for Air

Some notes on the new job. Basically, I really like it. Yet, I couldn't help but notice:

1. The expectations of dress are dramatically different for men and women. Male professors often teach their classes in jeans, female in full suits or skirts and heels. I haven't yet figured out how much of this is due to the personalities of the professors and staff, and how much is due to different expectations for men and women.

2. There is no way I could put in the hours expected of me if I had children. No way. There is no on-campus daycare to help working parents out either. Very few of the professors or staff in our department have children, and only one of the women.

While the dress code discrepancy is more of an annoyance than a real complaint, I can't help but think that many women might be kept out of jobs like mine because of the long and unpredictable hours and the lack of good child care options. Which leads me to the conclusion that we'll never really put those 10,000 cracks in the glass ceiling without guaranteeing more support for working parents.


frau sally benz said...


Without knowing the particulars, I'd venture to guess that the dress code is more self-imposed than anything else. The women at your job probably work hard to be taken seriously, and wardrobe plays a big role in reinforcing a sense of authority. The men probably don't have to work as hard and can therefore be much more comfortable with dressing normally.

petpluto said...

I'm glad you're enjoying your new job!

Sungold said...

I'm so glad it's going well.

I wonder how much the unofficial dress code is a regional thing? Here in Ohio, there's quite a lot of variety in what women wear to teach, but very few of us go in for heels. Maybe it's because our campus has some steep hills, and at the moment it's encased in ice anyway!

As for kids ... more daycare can't be the whole answer. I wouldn't be OK with putting my kids in daycare for all the hours I work. I don't have a tenure-track job, but how I swing it is I've got 6 1/2 hours a day while they're in school and a five-minute commute. That's when I teach. I have understanding supervisors.

After school I answer emails and other silly stuff once they're happily settled with snacks and play. We do a lot of after-school playdates, mostly at our house because we live right next to the school. I can usually get friends to take them at *their* houses if I end up with a late afternoon meeting. Fridays, my husband tries to keep his schedule open because I usually have a work commitment in the late afternoon. I usually work a couple of hours in the evenings, and more hours than I'd like to think on the weekends.

See? Easy as pie! :-)

Not-So-Normal-Mom said...

I'm at a community college. Many of the professors have kids. MANY!! ;-) There is also an on-campus childcare center for both parents and students, but you do have to pay for it; it isn't free. I know that my attire is entirely self-imposed; however, I never really gave it much thought. I;m thinking about it now...