Re: Fwd. A variation on the glass ceiling

Linda Purrington (
Sat, 14 Mar 1998 08:33:12 -0800

re the inability of men to manage status threats: I'm writing 25 years
of experience as a copyeditor of college and graduate-level textbooks. I
edit many leading texts around the country in social sciences and soft
sciences; I have a wide, not deep knowledge of many areas, and a fairly
deep knowledge of a few social issues. I have learned the hard way that
if I challenge authors (who are very heavily mal) on any issue, it is my
demeanor, not accuracy on an issue, that will determine whether or not
the change is made. In asking an author to change the term female
circumcision to female genital mutilation (as in U.N. documents), he
ostentatiously added a note to the effect that women in Africa question
what right Western women have to object to their traditional practices.
This will now be one of the leading 101 texts in its field. LP
Linda Purrington <>

AnneM wrote:
> Dear Edequity Colleagues,
> Forwarded from WISENET. I'm sure some of you can help here. Where there is
> e-mail address for the autbor of this posting, you can either respond to
> Edequity and I'll forward to WISENET or you can respond directly to the
> address shown at the beginning of the posting. WISENET is an unmoderated
> so you should be able to post direct.
> Regards,
> Anne
> <>
> ______________________________________________________________________________
> Subject: A variation on the glass ceiling
> From: Women In Science and Engineering NETwork <>
> at Internet
> Date: 3/13/98 8:45
> Dear Wisenetters:
> I am one of those kinds of women who tend to not notice irrational
> attitudes that people have towards women, and just sail on with what I
> want to do oblivious of the fact that some people are sending me signals
> that nice girls don't do that sort of thing. But recently, a cluster of
> events has caused me to sit up and take notice.
> I came to my first permanent appointment at a time when women were still
> rare in science, although no longer unprecedented (early '80s). Some of
> the older men in the department didn't seem to know how to respond to me,
> but many were supportive and helpful. However, as I progressed through
> the ranks and became more powerful, one who had been especially helpful
> and friendly when I was an assistant professor became more withdrawn and
> even hostile. Finally, things exploded when my name was put up for chair
> of the department, and I actually withdrew my name in part to avoid nasty
> confrontations with him and his attempts to polarize the department over
> my candidacy. (Although, I promise you, I will not let that happen
> again.)
> Then I learned that two other women I know who had entered academia at
> about the same time, and who were now advancing to positions of power,
> experienced exactly the same thing, that men who had been very supportive
> of them when they first entered became hostile and irrational as the women
> advanced to positions of power within the department. In one case, the
> woman already had an associate chair position and retained it despite the
> antagonism. In the other, the woman also withdrew her name from chair
> candidacy. So I wonder if other people have noticed this, that some men
> are happy to support a woman when she is in a junior position (and they
> can be a mentor to her), but become hostile as the woman gains power,
> perhaps because they feel threatened by powerful women. I've never read
> about this in any of the literature about women's issues. This could be
> one contributor to the glass ceiling, that women avoid the overt hostility
> that arises when they begin to rise to powerful positions. I'd appreciate
> any other personal stories, or pointers to discussions in the literature.
> ...Mary (a different Mary, who has not participated in but enjoyed the
> asteroid discussions)

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