Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Message from Postdoc Kate Sleeth

Hi friends of reading and writing,

My memoir was written to fill a vacuum of information about the lives of women who have successfully balanced family life and careers in science, and I've been gratified that quite a few schools and other organizations where young women congregate have invited me to speak about it, making that message more accessible.  So I was very pleased when recently a young postdoctoral fellow, Kate Sleeth, blogged about a talk I had given and about my book on the Stanford Medical School blog site, here:


When I wrote the memoir, I knew I couldn't keep harping on the same message or it would become boring immediately.  I was very pleased that Kate saw in the book and my talk those things I hoped women would get, even though I had backed off from hammering people over the head with them.  I feel that my life has been an interesting balancing act between being a serious scientist and professor on one hand and being a wife and mother on the other hand, so simply trying to recreate what it has been like for me is sure to bring the balance issue to the forefront.

I don't mean to address only young women in science; I hope that trying out the life of a female scientist is different enough from most people's experience that the memoir is worth reading for that alone, in the same way people read about a woman fishing boat captain or a woman secretary of state to find out how it is to live that life.  But my special "now hear this" audience has always been young women who might reject a career in science because so many people now say it cannot be combined with family life.  Yes, it can.  I know quite a few women who have put that combination together, and my memoir is a kind of existence theorem (yes, it's possible, see, I exist!) for one's ability to do it and be glad of the effort it requires. 
cheers,
Laura