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Showing posts from July, 2018

Saying Yes and No

Gender gaps in representation at senior levels in the workforce are widespread, especially in academia.One possible explanation is that women just find it harder to say “no” when asked to do extra ‘stuff’ that detracts from research and is undervalued at the time of promotion.Indeed, women tend to perform more service than male faculty. Studies show that women also on average spend more time on teaching-related activities and advising students, while men spend more time on research.A clever experiment reveals that women are twice as likely as men to volunteer for tasks that are deemed by all as undesirable yet benefit of the group as a whole (service and advising are commonly thought of in academia as examples of these so-called ‘non-promotable’ tasks).

It is true that a typical academic derives little to no pleasure from administrative work or from interacting with students. In fact, at many research-oriented institutions putting effort into teaching is discouraged.Once, when I was a …