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Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory: Women Scientists Speak Out Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0801476693 ISBN-10: 0801476690 Edition: 1st

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Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory: Women Scientists Speak Out + Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life + Professor Mommy: Finding Work-Family Balance in Academia
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: ILR Press; 1 edition (July 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801476690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801476693
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Women trying to squeeze a career and family duties into one 24-hour day will gain much affirmation from this collection of essays. The writers, who all balance science careers and motherhood, provide a fascinating insight into a world too often kept hidden. For those without children it should come with a health warning: the juggling and compromises these women have learned to live with may add up to a sobering reality check for those who still think they can have it all. For some it may prove a powerful contraceptive."—New Scientist, June 2008



"In these heartrending essays, women who are well-trained and well-situated in science detail the compromises they have made in order to raise children and be scientists. . . . The women who succeed—and there are many in this volume—are those whose partners take an equal share of the responsibility for raising a family and making the household function."—American Scientist



"Emily Monosson has edited a very interesting book. She has collected essays written by 34 female scientists on how they managed to combine being a scientist with being a mother. It is regrettable that the subject of this book has continued to be relevant despite many decades of struggle by scientists to find a balance between work and family. The problem remains unsolved."—Alice L. Givan, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, April 2009



"At last—a book to convince women scientists that there is life beyond the professoriate. These brief life stories demonstrate that women professionals do not have to play by men's rules to have a career. They also show the world that women scientists are not only literate but also witty."—Phoebe Leboy, University of Pennsylvania, President, Association for Women in Science

"Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory is an engaging, moving, and informative book. It depicts the challenge of combining a career in science with motherhood, using the voices of real women to portray the diversity of possible experiences."—Jo Handelsman, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and Chair, Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin–Madison



"The stories in Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory are captivating and the picture of science as a field was truly sobering. I found myself thinking about the authors' fascinating stories long after I finished reading this book."—Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law

Review

"Women trying to squeeze a career and family duties into one 24-hour day will gain much affirmation from this collection of essays. The writers, who all balance science careers and motherhood, provide a fascinating insight into a world too often kept hidden. For those without children it should come with a health warning: the juggling and compromises these women have learned to live with may add up to a sobering reality check for those who still think they can have it all. For some it may prove a powerful contraceptive." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mother Scientist on November 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm sorry, but this book was so disappointing. Not what I was hoping for at all. I feel very bad giving this book a negative review, because the intention behind it is SO good. And I do not mean to criticize the editor or the women's stories. Some stories were engaging, but not all. I think perhaps these mother scientists weren't given enough direction for their essays.

I am a mother scientist. I graduated with a PhD from MIT Biology (and a 1 and a half year old), and I am now doing post-doctoral research at Harvard. I am well-familiar with the struggles of being a mother in the laboratory. And I was looking for shared understanding and some stories of women who have done it as I am doing so. I recently read the book, Mama PhD, and THAT book was WONDERFUL!! I would highly recommend it to all looking at this book. That book had meaning and inspiration. This book was just discouraging and disappointing. It needed more "traditionally" successful mother scientists sharing their stories to help even it out. Almost none of the stories were women who maintained full-time academic work after maternity leave (which is what I intend to do, and which will help bring more policy changes from inside the system). While non-traditional paths are great and important to discuss, there should at least have been inclusion of some other more traditional stories. This book leaves the reader with the impression that it is impossible to be a successful full-time academic with children, or, if there is career success, the woman is tired and stressed and unhealthy much of the time. Too many of these stories were of incredibly disgruntled women with negative experiences. Those stories SHOULD be shared, but in combination with POSITIVE stories as well, which I know exist out there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Bowler on February 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In contrast to the comments of `Mother Scientist', I certainly recommend this book to women intending to stay in academia, as well as other scientific professions. Here we have a book containing a summary of the experiences of 34 females as they attempt to be both good mothers and good scientists. As in any group of people, some of these women's stories will resonate more strongly with one reader (for me those of the physicists) than with another. Taken as a whole, this book provides many nuggets of advice that are available for the reader to mull over, digest, and accept or reject.

As a female-tenure-track-engineering-professor-mother-of-three (girls), I value the insights provided by these writers in the way that I value conversations with others whose lives and challenges somewhat resemble mine. For me, this collection of essays fills a gap that exists due to the fact that women scientists form a dilute system in which we don't often have chance to interact.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on December 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
We often praise mothers, but what's behind the words? Sometimes little in the way of support, financial assistance, day care, or flextime. Yet mothers prove that not only can they manage all their responsibilities, they can learn more, produce more, participate more, volunteer more, and give more.

That's the thesis of Emily Monosson's superbly edited book written by thirty-four scientists who also chose to be mothers in the midst of their quest for a Ph.D. These women tell what it's like to spend their child-bearing years studying, doing research, defending their research, writing grant proposals, publishing their research, teaching, working all hours in a lab, doing a post-doc, and deciding to have or not to have children.

All the women in this collection had children at some time in the process. They related how others either supported or did not support their decision. Most of the husbands, family and friends supported them. Many of the advisors, institutions, employers, and supervisors did not.

Already experienced writers, these women wrote short, beautifully expressed personal essays that make up this enlightening book. As in the title of Theresa M. Wizemann's essay, "The Eternal Quest for Balance--A Career in Five Acts, No Intermission," these women spent or are spending their lives contributing to improving society while balancing a career, family, and even hobbies. With few concessions, they are doing it all in spite of poor working situations, low pay, and often inadequate child-care facilities. But these women see their lives as enriched through making the choice to have children.

As women, each of us has chosen different career paths, but these essays remind us that we're not alone.
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By Joan S. Baizer on January 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
well, actually I am one of the authors buying an additional copy for a friend...hardly disinterested reviewer...would recommend to women in science/medicine/law issues still pertinent
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brings to light the challenges of combining an academic research career with motherhood. Also gives several possible suggestions for balancing.
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