Flutterby™! : Growing up female

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Growing up female

2002-01-15 15:11:50+00 by Dan Lyke 8 comments

Diane talks about growing up female, and says:

He told us with his big cheesy greasy smile that he was dividing us into boy-girl lab teams, "... so the boys can do the science and the girls can clean the test tubes." ??!!! I was shocked. I was stunned.

... and later continues:

Nowadays, a teacher would never get away with saying something like that, even if he thought it inside.

[And it'd be just like me to pervert the spirit of her words as a segué to another attempt to stir up the comments board with controversy misguided rant. So:]

While I admire the optimism, I'm not so sure it's justified. Women are still being denied equal educations based on their gender, it's just disguised under the conflation of "female" with "mother". As we see the "women's rights movement" (a fractured stereotype for which I apologize) stray further and further from "equal protection" towards a system which hobbles those who choose not to have children, are we doing the cause of women's equality more harm than good?

[ related topics: Children and growing up Political Correctness Civil Liberties ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:29+00 by: Larry Burton

You are going to have to address tort laws if you want to change this type of descrimination. Women are also being denied equal employment opportunities on the same premise.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:29+00 by: Diane Reese

Precisely, Larry. There are signs all over my California-weird workplace telling everyone what levels of what carcinogens and chemicals occur where, and as I understand it, there are laws that leave employers (including universities that pay TAs who run laboratories) open for damages if they do not keep their employees/students free from injury. That's probably what motivated the TA to be over-zealous in shooing the women away: some of them probably are the litigious sort who might come after the TA or the university if an eventual offspring were born non-perfect. ("Hey, remember years ago in college when I used some chemicals in that lab? That must be why Junior/ette isn't perfect, let's sue!") (Harrumph, damned people who can't take responsibility for anything in their own lives, grumble, grumble...)

I think it's a fine idea to lay out the risks to health, for men and women, in the university or workplace lab, and ask them to sign something if they are willing to take the risks of being there without future legal recrimination. I don't know enough about law to know whether you're allowed to sign away your right to sue, though -- something sneaky is telling me that this isn't possible...?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:29+00 by: TC

Diane: What you say makes sense and your soloution passes Occam's test. For some reason this makes me feel it is doomed to never be. I am really getting tired of a small group of crappy litigious people fouling up the works of life. I agree with Larry about changing tort law but at the same time frustrated with it's abuse.

Example: Some people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 disaster are not signing away their rights to sue. Who are they going to sue and why? The building engineers for not making them plane crash proof? The airline for not making them suicide terrorist proof? These people have been offered over a 1.5 million dollars by the government to cover financial burden and asked to sign waivers not to sue but they are holding out for something?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:30+00 by: Larry Burton

Let me throw a little something else in here now. If a woman is exposed to mutagens that cause here to deliver a child with birth defects, who is the injured party? Is the mother damaged or is the child damaged? The woman may be able to sign away her right to sue for damages but can she sign away her child's right to sue for damages? Should she be able to?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:31+00 by: Dylan

I don't know if it's comparable but my mother signed away my right to sue my biological father or his estate and that has stood (in my younger years when I really hated him I thought about suing for 18 years of child support, so I checked on it). She signed when I was 13, I checked when I was 19.

I don't really think that's a right a parent should have, personally...I think that you should have the right to act as a trustee over your child's finances, and maybe to prevent them suing while they're minors...but once they're out of the nest, I don't think they should be bound by the choices their parents made for them anymore. Some folks have wonderful parents who make wonderful decisions. Other folks have parents who either don't know or don't care how to put their children's well-being first. My feeling is that when you turn 18 the slate should be wiped clean and you should be completely free to make your own decisions.

#Comment made: 2002-01-16 16:56:37+00 by: sethg [edit history]

My wife, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, switched jobs from chemistry to science writing about a year after we married, taking about a 30% pay cut. One of her reasons was that in order to work as a chemist (for the kind of chemistry she trained in), either we would have to move to some hamlet in the middle of nowhere (where, if the local chemical plant or oil refinery explodes and takes out the whole county, only a few hundred people would be killed), or she would have to work in some startup where Lab Safety Is Job Aleph-Null and her ovaries would be marinated in God-knows-what.

(The first and last full-time chemistry job she took out of college was such a place ... we joked that some day, the EPA, OSHA, and the fire marshal's office would race each other to see who could shut down the company first.)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:32+00 by: Pete

Larry - It goes further down the generational line than you've alluded to because a girl will develop all the eggs she will ever produce while she is in utero.

Exposing a pregnant women to some harmful agents can directly curse two generations of her progeny.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:33+00 by: Larry Burton

That muddies the water even more. I was really hoping this discussion would take off and consider that very real twist. If an employer fully discloses the risks to a female employee and that employee assumes those risks expecting never to bear children and then things happen resulting in a malformed baby is there negligence on the part of the employer? Of the mother?