Staying mum

June 18, 1999

I am getting tired of the women academics as victims reports ("9.2 per cent of professors are women", THES, May 28, Letters, THES, June 11).

University-trained, financially independent women who cannot negotiate equal terms of domestic labour with their partners should stop complaining or replace them with a housekeeper/nanny.

In our department I have seen colleagues nursing their babies, and children's illness has been considered a reasonable excuse for absence from staff meetings. A woman appointed when pregnant was allowed to continue her fellowship for another year.

Certain research bodies favour women by allowing them to apply for research grants if they are over 30 and have raised a child, but refuse applications from men and women who had to interrupt their careers for other reasons.

Why does one never hear of those young fathers who devote themselves to full-time childcare at sensitive times in their careers to let their wives finish a degree or a book?

Gabriele vom Bruck Department of anthropology London School of Economics

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