From Anonymous:

I have four children. My department chair regularly makes jokes that he hopes I’m not pregnant again. I wonder if working women will ever be allowed to make their family planning decisions as private as their male colleagues’ decisions.

4 comments

  1. I have to disagree. As a male father of six kids, I’m the recipient of “family planning jokes” all the time; so I don’t think I’m afforded more privacy on this than a female.

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  2. What exactly are you disagreeing with? If you really think this anecdote is about privacy, I suspect you’ve missed the point, badly. Do you think your colleagues seriously question whether another child will negatively impact your work performance or productivity? Because that’s what it means to most women, who carry a disproportionate amount of the child-rearing and other “domestic” duties. Working mothers consistently pay a higher *professional* price than working fathers (hence remarks from superiors about more children carry much more weight for moms). Hell, when I remember to feed my kids, society heaps on the praise….

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    1. I was disagreeing with the privacy statement, which is what was stated in the post. Regarding the “point”, this woman’s family planning decisions DO affect her department chair, so I don’t see how she expects them to be private. I see my own department chair swamped every semester trying to cover for sabbaticals and leaves, so I can easily see how a family planning decision by a faculty member would affect him. And that has nothing to do with gender: I do remember the problems a previous head had with a paternity leave a few years ago. I don’t think that the chair’s jokes are granted, though.

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  3. This affects women far more than men. 95% of female faculty have a professional spouse vs 45% of men (the remainder have stay at homes). Professional women are more burdened by domestic responsibilities because we don’t have stay at home wives cleaning our underwear, taking care of the kids, and making a nice dinner every night. WE do that. AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT. So when we have a lot of kids, the privacy violation comes with more negative consequences at work which affects our ability to climb the ladder.

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