Women of Academe
Outsiders in the Sacred Grove
Drawing on more than sixty interviews, this book examines women's struggle to gain authority in the academic profession and to use that authority to change conventional practices. The authors argue that as women rise in academe, they are stymied at a certain level by the remaining force of the old norms which in the past barred women from professional life altogether. These norms decreed a sharp division between public and private realms, assigning men to public duties, women to private, men to intellectual pursuits, women to emotional and relational ones.
Although the strict division of roles is eroding, prejudices about women's "lesser" intellectual power still operate, subtly but effectively, through a two-tiered system of responsibility. The top tier exercises the real authority and consists almost exclusively of men. The bottom tier carries out supportive functions and consists of some men and nearly all the profession's women, who also carry the major burden of private and familial responsibilities.
Making excellent use of interviews, the authors explore in vivid detail how this two-tiered system works and the variety of ways in which academic women have responded to "the rules of the game."
"This book has far-reaching implications for women professionals in all fields."—New York Times Book Review
"A definitive, thought-provoking study."—Library Journal
"If you have only one book to give to someone who needs to be informed about the condition of women academics, let it be this one. . . . This is the most accurate and perceptive book I know of on the problem that all women scientists face at some time or other. . . . a marvel of elegant clarity, quiet strength, and graceful prose."—American Women of Science Newsletter
"A provocative and insightful book. . . . reading [this] richly textured work is apt to be an uncanny experience for women in almost any profession."—Boston Globe