And the conference population is mostly male (90% +). So of course in service of my blog readers I've been thinking about gender issues when not totally preoccupied with ology.
- The institution where I am now is over-represented in the conference population because it is local. And the most striking effect of that over-representation is that the attendees from Utopia are ~50% women. Which makes me wonder whether women in -ology don't travel to conferences as much as their male counterparts (because of family obligations, etc.)? Or whether Utopia has really been quite exceptional in recruiting and retaining female faculty members and post-docs? Unfortunately, a quick survey of the literature will tell you that the explanation is the latter rather than the former. Another reason Utopia deserves its pseudonym but a bit disheartening as I contemplate moving on.
- The women at the conference seem to be paid equal respect and listened to as befits their expertise. However, the official after-conference social activity the first night was a pub crawl (along with complementary conference-emblem emblazened mugs) which is such an innately male thing to do that I wasn't the only woman attendee who commented on it.
- Of all of the women at the conference that I have talked to (and I've talked to most) only one woman has any children. The other female post-docs and jr. faculty attending are universally single (in a universe of 4). I'm finding that my thinking about time frames for research and collaboration and travel are biased and filtered in a way that is not common even among my female colleagues.
- The best thing about being at a predominantly male conference. No line for the bathroom. ever.