Recently I attended a seminar given by a female professor. When the hosting faculty member introduced the speaker, it was noted that the professor was both "productive and reproductive" (ha ha), having had three kids before she was tenured.
Introductions for speakers normally include a description of where they did their graduate and post-doctoral work and who with, what honors and awards they've received, and perhaps their connection to the department (if any). Maybe a note about the publication of their most recent work. I don't think I've ever heard an introduction for a male speaker in which it was noted how many children he has. But it certainly isn't the first time I've heard a female speaker be introduced that way.
I find it kind of troubling that a woman's status as a parent (or not) is considered relevant to her level of scientific achievement, but a man's parental status is not. Is it because we take for granted that child rearing is the woman's responsibility?
Husband and I share virtually equal responsibility for raising the Bean (with the exception of breastfeeding duty... but that's because I've got a monopoly on the equipment). Yet no one is going to introduce Husband for a seminar by noting his accomplishments and the number of children he is raising.
I don't know if I'm angry on behalf of the dedicated dads for getting short shrift in terms of recognizing their role as parents or if I'm pissed that women are getting the same old patronizing crap they've always gotten ("She's developed a test to detect the signature of positive selection in recent evolutionary history and she keeps a clean house!"). Either way, it just doesn't sit well with me.
In Which I Am Called Mrs. Scientist Again...
2 days ago