Monday, July 19, 2010
More Married Males than Females in [my] Graduate ProgramTake a look at the following table, it represents the PhD students in my department, broken down by gender, marital status, and whether they have children or not. Barring the fact that this is one tiny instance (and maybe some bizarre effects of this data being from a computer science program), this is sort of crazy. We have some phenomenon going on where the females are significantly less likely to be married than the males (or vice versa, I believe this data is correlational: not causal),
[Edit 7/20/10: It turns out that there is no significant difference in age, by gender: F(1, 36) = 1.6991, p = 0.2007. It also turns out that age and marriage are significantly correlated: (older people are more likely to be married, or vice versa): χ²(1, N = 38) = 4.24, p = 0.0395]
Why are so few females married, despite not being younger? Notice there's the same number of males as females, one would expect a similar number married as well.
I've had some discussions about this with some colleagues, and the general [intuitive] understanding is that women give up more when a child is born. That for some reason, men can sacrifice their paycheck to further their career in a PhD program, but that women just don't. Maybe this is particular to just this computer-science-related program, maybe not.
Success for Females: Appearance + RelationshipsCue Holland & Eisenhart (1992) "Educated in Romance", an ethnographic study spanning 10 years that examines how bright, motivated women often back off their career aspirations in order to obtain success through relationships.
book reviews floating about that will hint at how the book examines society's dual-measure of success; males are judged by career, sports, politics, and relationships (to a lesser extent), while women are judged with more emphasis on relationships and physical appearance.
So maybe another reason married women aren't well represented in this PhD program is because they have already achieved the greatest proportion of success that society will give them, and a PhD won't add noticeably to that? Or that furthering one's career just falls to the wayside when focusing on appearance, love life, and family?
Women's Relationship BlogsWhat would you think of a blog titled, "A Day in the Life of a Grad Student's Husband"?
I have been noticing a surprisingly large number of blogs where the female authors have defined it entirely around being "a Grad Student's Wife" or a "Grad-Student Girlfriend." Even the blogs dedicated to "being single" strike me as unusual- what if these blogs were written by males? Why is it acceptable (expected?) for a woman to have a relationship blog, but not males? Does a "relationship blog" entail a focus on relationships in one's life?
Those in glass houses...My blog is named after vegetarian BBQs I used to hold in my backyard as an undergraduate in Philadelphia; essentially, I define my blog around food + friends. "Friends" could be counted as a relationship focus, perhaps, but I think it would be better to criticize this blog's occasional focus on clothing (i.e., appearance). Am I just giving in to society's dual standards of success by having fashion posts? Now I begin thinking in circles. It's confusing.
ThoughtsWhy are there significantly fewer married women in my PhD program?
Does society really define male and female success differently?
How do you prioritize a desire to have a family and a career?
Is this topic even worth thinking about?