To the surprise of no one, it turns out that men who have “traditional” marriages, in which their wives take on all the domestic duties, have more time to devote to their jobs and thus rise higher up the ladder than men who share the domestic duties. Is this true also in STEM fields? Why yes, yes it is. The Washington Post explained last September.
For years, people have been puzzling over why there are so few women in science, technology, engineering and math, and why the university professors who teach the subjects are predominantly men. Is it genetics? Preference? Caregiving responsibilities? An unwelcoming environment?
Turns out, according to a new study released Thursday on men in academic science, it may have a lot to do with the boss. The majority of tenured full professors at some of the most prestigious universities in the country, who have the most power to hire and fire and set the workplace expectation of long hours, are men who have either a full-time spouse at home who handles all caregiving and home duties, or a spouse with a part-time or secondary career who takes primary responsibility for the home.
It’s a loop. They had the extra time so they got to the top so they expect their hires to be like them. Repeat.
And it’s not just women who are being squeezed out of academic science, the study concludes. It’s also men who want to be more active at home.
Naturally, because the men at the top have wives who free them up to spend all their time on the job, so they think that pattern is the best pattern.
The field remains dominated by men – more than 80 percent of the full professors in life sciences, more than 90 percent of the full professors in mathematics, statistics and physical sciences and more than 95 percent of full professors in engineering.
The study, Damaske said, showed there was potential for change, in the majority of men who wanted to take on a more active role at home as fathers. But there was also resistance to change from those in power at the institutions.
“We came to realize that it really benefits your career to have someone at home, making sacrifices for your career,” Damaske said. “The majority of men we spoke to see that. But they’re not happy about it.”
Hey I have an idea – all those men in engineering – can’t they just engineer a robot to do all the domestic duties? A childcare Roomba type deal? Paste a playpen on top of the Roombau, add a Siri to read nursery rhymes aloud, and you’re good to go?
“I never in my life made a tax return. I never in my life washed a pair of socks or cleaned a pair of shoes,” said one 67-year-old physics professor in a traditional marriage. When asked if having children is difficult to manage with being a scientist, he responded: “No, absolutely not. That’s why you have a wife.”
Unless, of course, “you” are a straight woman…but that’s just silly, because “you” never are a woman, straight or otherwise. “You” are always a man.
Men in traditional marriages rising to power faster, becoming boss and setting the tone for workplace expectations is a phenomenon seen in other fields. In a series of studies of more than 700 married men, researchers at Harvard, New York University and the University of Utah found that men in traditional marriages tended to hold positions of power in business and other organizations.
As I said: to the surprise of no one. This is well known. It’s also reinforced by the culture at every turn, even now.
That study found these bosses tended to think that workplaces with more women didn’t operate well, and more frequently denied female employees opportunities for promotion, considering them less qualified than men even when their resumes were identical. The researchers dubbed these men “resistors” to change.
Well you see it’s the design. Men need wives so that they can be more productive, and by a miraculous gift of nature, the very half of humanity that is adapted to be those wives is also maladapted to be anything else. Is that convenient or what? The very thing that makes women so well suited to doing all the childcare and floor-washing is also the thing that makes them so bad at everything else. Frabjous, isn’t it.