Read: What’s women really holding back?

This article reveals how strong narratives about gender roles when it comes to take care of kids in combination with a professional career are.

Eli and Padavic conducted research within a big global consultancy firm to help them figure out why women were progressing less than men career wise within their company. They conducted interviews and revealed a strong narrative:

High-level jobs require extremely long hours, women’s devotion to family makes it impossible for them to put in those hours, and their careers suffer as a result. We call this explanation the work/family narrative.

However, the men they interviewed talked about their struggle to balance their work with family life as well. They started investigating deeper why men progressed in their career despite feeling as much pressure finding a balance between work and family as women.

Their main conclusion:

Women were held back because, unlike men, they were encouraged to take accommodations, such as going part-time and shifting to internally facing roles, which derailed their careers. The real culprit was a general culture of overwork that hurt both men and women and locked gender inequality in place.

Using company data they revealed some disconnects between the company’s narrative and actual behaviour. There was no higher turnover rates for men and women, career progression of childless women was just as low as mothers’ progression, accommodation was almost only taken by women while two-third of male interviewees struggled as much as women in work-family balance and many of the interviews questioned the 24/7 work schedule mentality to overdeliver to clients who don’t really need that.

This is what they told the leaders of the company after their research:

For the firm to address its gender problem, it would have to address its long-hours problem. And the way to start would be to stop overselling and overdelivering.

And of course the leaders….dismissed this solid piece of advise and held on to the existing narrative that women were struggling to keep a balance between work and family and therefore solutions have to target women specifically.

The rest of the article, the researchers dive deep into why these leaders rather hang on to the existing narrative rather than to accept that long working hours are counter productive and holding women back. Read it. It’s an excellent piece of work.

Door |2020-04-20T18:00:12+02:0020 april 2020|flow, vrouw|1 Reactie

King of the Meadows (74)

This week I learned a bit about the black-tailed godwit (and through writing this the English term for what I call a ‘grutto’). Apparently there is a Dutch professor up north, Theunis Piersma, working on very cool research involving birds. He studies how the distribution and numbers of waders correlate to climate, food, predators, pathogens and their historical-genetic background. More recently he focuses on black-tailed godwits and their migration patterns. With tiny transmitters he and his research group are now capable of tracking these birds over time.

One thing they learned is that a lot of these birds reside in Portugal during the winter. These birds are very picky, because it’s an area they grow rice for baby food. That means no use of pesticides. Smart birds. The problem they are facing right now is that Portugal is contemplating relocating Lisbon’s airport. Guess what? The planes will fly right over this area. The researchers started a petition to make local authorities aware of this and reconsider the relocation of the airport.

The most exciting part of Piersma’s research is that you can follow the birds online. This is how I learned of Estevao, who was hanging out in my neighbourhood the past few days. Somehow I find it very comforting to know this bird is travelling through my country. It means spring is around the corner.

Door |2020-03-13T16:49:04+02:0014 maart 2020|366, flow|0 Reacties

Language matters more than you think

A study was done in the use of positive words in research papers.

Male scientists are more likely than female ones to publish work that describes itself as “excellent”, “unique” or “novel”, experts have found – a swagger that appears to reap dividends in respect of how often others reference the research.

The Guardian

This is yet another subtle way how a seemingly insignificant difference in the words men and women use could have a big impact in the long run.

“Here is another example when gender differences, probably imposed by unconscious cultural norms on both authors and editors, lead to divergent outcomes,” she said. “Because publishing itself has so much impact on career progression, this finding has significant implications. Academic processes and institutions need to pay much more attention to what gets published where, why and by whom.”

Prof Athene Donald, University of Cambridge in The Guardian
Door |2019-12-17T11:00:17+02:0017 december 2019|flow, vrouw|0 Reacties

Read: History as a giant data set

I really enjoyed reading this article. A completely new way of researching history.

In its first issue of 2010, the scientific journal Nature looked forward to a dazzling decade of progress. By 2020, experimental devices connected to the internet would deduce our search queries by directly monitoring our brain signals. Crops would exist that doubled their biomass in three hours. Humanity would be well on the way to ending its dependency on fossil fuels.

A few weeks later, a letter in the same journal cast a shadow over this bright future. It warned that all these advances could be derailed by mounting political instability, which was due to peak in the US and western Europe around 2020. Human societies go through predictable periods of growth, the letter explained, during which the population increases and prosperity rises. Then come equally predictable periods of decline. These “secular cycles” last two or three centuries and culminate in widespread unrest – from worker uprisings to revolution.


The author of this stark warning was not a historian, but a biologist. For the first few decades of his career, Peter Turchin had used sophisticated maths to show how the interactions of predators and prey produce oscillations in animal populations in the wild. He had published in the journals Nature and Science and become respected in his field, but by the late 1990s he had answered all the ecological questions that interested him. He found himself drawn to history instead: could the rise and fall of human societies also be captured by a handful of variables and some differential equations?

History as a giant data set: how analysing the past could help save the future, The Guardian.
Door |2019-11-13T13:56:08+02:0013 november 2019|deze dag, gelezen|0 Reacties

Gelezen: Invisible Women

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued.  If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman.

Aldus Caroline Criado Perez over haar boek Invisible Women (ook in Nederlandse vertaling beschikbaar als Onzichtbare Vrouwen).

Als een tenniskanon dat te snel staat afgesteld schiet Criado Perez feiten op je af over hoe vrouwen genaaid worden.

Medicijnen die op de markt komen, omdat ze werken….voor mannen. Of dat ook geldt voor vrouwen? Geen idee, niet getest. Oh, het medicijn heeft bij vrouwen een tegenovergesteld effect? Oeps, foutje. Ja, weet je, die vrouwen hebben ook zo’n ingewikkeld lichaam met al die hormonen en menstruatiecycli. Kunnen we niet aan beginnen.

De crashtest voor het nieuwste model auto. Vijf sterren veiligheid….voor mannen. Vrouwen? Sorry, hebben we niet getest. Oh ja, toch wel, met een vrouwelijke pop….op de bijrijdersstoel. Twee sterren.

Je huis verloren in de tsunami? Wij bouwen een nieuw huis. Zonder keuken.

Een toiletdeur met een slot erop? Wie heeft dat nou nodig? Wat? Vrouwen die worden verkracht als ze hun behoefte in de bosjes moeten doen? Dat is vast een broodje aap verhaal.

Wat? Je valt flauw tijdens je menstruatie? Ach, meid. Zit allemaal in je hoofd. Hoort er allemaal bij. O. Je had toch endometriose. Tja, lullig voor je, dat je daar pas na acht jaar achterkomt.

Zo kan ik nog wel even doorgaan. Je wordt er niet vrolijk van. Iedereen heeft een vooroordeel over de vrouw. Inclusief de vrouwen zelf. Door gebrekkige dataverzameling weten we eigenlijk niets over ‘protovrouw’ en is de hele wereld ingericht door en voor de helft van de bevolking. In de wetenschap is de vrouw nog steeds onzichtbaar. Criado Perez maakt dat in haar boek inzichtelijk.

Ze laat mij, de lezer, achter met het gevoel dat het een wonder is dat er überhaupt vrouwen genezen worden, dat vrouwen überhaupt wel eens een auto-ongeluk overleven, dat vrouwen überhaupt zich kunnen voortbewegen in een wereld die voor langere mensen met een andere spierkracht is gebouwd. Het zet meteen het lezen van Bregmans’ De meeste mensen deugen in perspectief. De meeste mensen deugen, maar vrouwen moeten zich wel in heel veel meer bochten wringen om mannen tevreden te houden (of ze van het lijf te houden). Het is in ieder geval duidelijk dat de vrouw ook in 2019 nog steeds van alle kanten genaaid wordt.

Lichtpuntjes zijn er zeker. Dankzij bijvoorbeeld de invloed van cardioloog Harriette Verwey, die de boodschap is blijven herhalen dat het vrouwenhart anders reageert dan het mannenhart, is de kans dat een vrouw een hartaanval overleeft wellicht wat vergroot (lees ook het interview van Els Quaegebeur met Verwey in haar boek De kok, de boerin, haar advocaat en dier verpleegster). Wat mist is wetgeving die het onmogelijk maakt voor onderzoekers in zowel de wetenschap als de industrie de vrouw te negeren.

Aangezien dat met vertraagde werking gaat gebeuren is de vraag, wat doen we in de tussentijd? Deze vraag spookt de hele week al door m’n hoofd. Een zijproject heb ik al in gang gezet (meer daarover later), maar het voelt als te weinig. Ik broed er nog even op.

Terwijl ik m’n ei uitbroed, kun jij het boek aanschaffen en lezen. (NL / ENG)

Door |2019-11-01T12:01:53+02:001 november 2019|flow, vrouw|2 Reacties
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