Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ladies' Night Out

Recently, three women joined my lab, more than doubling the female population. (Just in time for me to leave.) There was instant bonding, which I had only seen before among married postdocs or among single grad students. But it is lovely to have other women about. We go to lunch together; every couple weeks we all go out together for drinks or dinner. (Which I love, by the way.) Every so often one of the men comes along- we are outnumbered about 3:1- but mostly, not.

Dr. S argues that this is discriminatory of me. What if the poor dears fell left out? I felt left out for years, I said. That doesn't make it right, or nice, he said.

Well, no. But for one, It's so much easier to spend time with the women in lab. Social taboos? Herd pressures? Who knows. We certainly have faced many of the same challenges as women, and it's nice to not be judged for talking about pretty skirts or gossip. And for another, the men have made minimal efforts to include me. Do I care if they feel excluded? I do not. In an ideal world, everyone would get along and be socially fair and equitable. In the real world, I like some people better than others.

So, are we mean? Or are we apathetic? Or both.