A reoccurring theme in many women’s lives is being excluded from the Good Ol’ Boys’ club. Many, many women have felt resistance in a varying atmospheres including skepticism, technology, science, athletics, etc. The consistent dismissal from these groups inhibits women from flourishing in arenas that have predominantly been a single gender affair.

Last week, I attended a leadership workshop for women in the sciences. The attendees were at various points in their career ranging from undergraduates to department heads. A resounding theme was women often feel excluded from groups of their male peers. The same discussion has been prolific in skeptical circles for years. I have experienced these challenges in my personal and professional lives. It is unfortunate that women have to deal with these problems, but there are certain strategies I have employed to overcome gender obstacles. So here is my simple guide to ‘Infiltrating the Good Ol’ Boys’ Club’.

1. Consistently work hard. To become a card carrying member of the good ol’ boys’ club takes a lot of hard work. This should be obvious, but sometimes I have seen women give up too easily. It takes a consistent, diligent performance. More often than not, it takes working harder and longer than your male counterparts to gain the same level of praise or accomplishment. In many environments, it took me six months to gain the same amount of credibility that a man walked in with. These are unfortunate circumstances, but real ones. Over the years, I have done my best not to be deterred from these situations, but instead used them as motivation to propel me forward.

2. Use your voice. Speaking up in new environments allows people to develop an opinion about you. It is inevitable that you are going to be pitted against a misogynist at some point, but many men aren’t that way. You can gain acceptance by interacting with them. Chances are if you are trying to gain admission by a particular group of men, then you already have something in common. It means you will agree on some things, but not all things. Let your voice be heard, but do it in a way that commands their respect. The more logical of voice you place forward, the better chance it will be accepted amongst the group.

3. Get out there. Some times you just have to walk into a situation you are not explicitly invited to. If you never take the initiative, then the boys club may never realize that you are interested in being included. Once you are there, don’t forget to speak up. Sometimes you might even have to pry to gain an invitation. One of my favorite strategies is to invite one or two of the group to do something, even if it is as simple as having a cup of coffee or a beer. This can allow you to get to know a smaller portion of the group, without having the pressure of interacting with the entire group at a particular function. Once you are out plant the idea of being included in a desired function where you wouldn’t necessarily be on the list. Infiltrating must be done step by step, it won’t happen overnight.

4. Earn your respect. All of the previous points culminate into this point. Respect must be earned. I think this applies to life in general. However, particularly in these environments, men don’t just offer it up unless it is deeply deserved. Many times you have to offer respect to them, before receiving it in return. No, it isn’t fair, but it is a harsh reality. Finally,  you should not have a sexual relationship with any of these men. Hopefully, this is an obvious point. Men talk (no matter what secrecy they might guarantee you) and your credibility will immediately be diminished. Once you feel included in the club, then wait another six months. Then maybe this rule can bend. However, you should exercise with extreme caution. It could blow the whole thing.

These are things that have been successful for me in the past. This is all much easier for me to write down than they are for you to do. Don’t allow yourself to get intimidated. Time to infiltrate, ladies!

Jacqueline

Jacqueline

Jacqueline, a true Floridian, wandered up to the tundra of Athens, Georgia to receive her PhD in computational quantum chemistry. Returning to her roots, she is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in Tampa in the field of computational biochemistry investigating the wonders of penicillin-like drugs. When she is not slaving over the computer, her varied interests include international travel, Brazilian jiu jitsu, kickboxing, fancy food, (American) football, and Belgian quadrupels. She is also the founder of EligibleReceiver.com, a football blog with an exclusive female writing staff. Check out her sports ramblings there or follow her on Twitter @jhargis9.

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50 Comments

  1. Profile photo of davew
    February 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm —

    I liked this piece because it contained positive, fairly specific suggestions for how to deal with real world situations. Interestingly being male, but not a typical member of male groups I have faced similar challenges. If you don’t like sports, guns, action movies, and cars it doesn’t make for many opportunities for bonding with other guys. (When I do run into a fellow D&D enthusiast it’s heaven.) Also interestedly I have dealt with it in similar ways. I work very hard and try to get noticed for it so the ways in which I don’t conform are less important. Also I never have sex with any of the guys at work.

    One thing I’d like clarification on is what would it mean to be in the club? I see various cliques and it’s pretty obvious to me what I’d have to do to join them. If I wanted to be pals with my old director learning how to fish was a prerequisite. Pass. I thought the people who mountain biked were a fun group so I learned how to ride and was welcomed. I wound up working for one of them. If I wanted to move into management there were plenty of opportunities to volunteer for activities where I would get to organize the efforts of a few people. Pass. If I wanted to drift into sales and marketing… pass and pass!

    A couple of small nits: “It is inevitable that you are going to be pitted against a misogynist at some point, but many men aren’t that way.” Many?! Hopefully most?

    “Finally, you should not have a sexual relationship with any of these men. Men talk (no matter what secrecy they might guarantee you) and your credibility will immediately be diminished.”

    I agree with the advice, but not the reason. *Some* men talk which is a good thing to know early so you can look for a better one. For myself and all the guys I consider to be friends details about another person’s sex life are considered rude and not a fit topic for conversation and this is coming from a group who considers cannibalism to be a perfectly fine lunch topic.


    As a side note it occurs to me that about 1/3 of the people I have ever worked for have been women. As a matter of fact I’m having lunch with my VP next week and her boss is woman too. Hmm. Maybe I need to learn how to crack the Old Girls Club. :-)

    • Profile photo of marilove
      February 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm —

      ““Finally, you should not have a sexual relationship with any of these men. Men talk (no matter what secrecy they might guarantee you) and your credibility will immediately be diminished.””

      You know … I don’t know if this is necessarily true with all men. I’ve had plenty of sex with my male friends, some of whom know each other, and in general they don’t talk about it, or if they do it’s not negatively. Only one dude tried to pull that crap on me, and we’re no longer friends.

      Also, I don’t necessarily mind close friends discussing their relationships with one another, sexual or otherwise. I talk to my friends all the time about people I’ve boinked. There’s nothing inherently wrong about that. I think it’s healthy and normal to wan to talk to your close friends about your relationships. What matters is how it’s discussed, the context, and when (there is a time and place). Also, it matters how others will take that knowledge. A lot of assholes (men AND women) will devalue a woman if she sleeps with someone, and that’s never cool

      I don’t know. I’m trying to explain why, “Don’t have sex! You’ll be taken less seriously!” bothers me, but it does. It implies that when a woman is sexual or if she enjoys sex, devaluing her and making it seem like it’s something to devalue is okay. It shouldn’t be okay.

      I am going to have to think this over and see if I can’t explain it better later.

      • Profile photo of marilove
        February 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm —

        Also, it bothers me that it’s in the “Respect” category. It bothers me that a woman is somehow not as respected just because she likes to have sex.

        • Profile photo of Jacqueline
          February 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm —

          To be honest, the sexual relationship bit wasn’t in the initial draft of this piece. I added it later when I realized that it might need to be addressed. Perhaps, I should have been more specific. I particularly think engaging in sexual activity in a professional environment is a bad idea. In a personal extracurricular, it is wise to use your better judgement. I have found that in some of my personal activities that it would have been a very bad idea. Trust me, I am not one that thinks that someone loses respect if they have sex with someone. However, it would be unjust to say that this never happens. Again, this falls into the category of it shouldn’t happen, but does.

          And yes, not ALL men talk. I should have used a qualifier there.

          • Profile photo of marilove
            February 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm

            That makes sense!

            I think, also it might help to remember that not all of us view these things as “Professional” environments. I am not a scientist. That’s not my career. Going to Skeptical-related events has nothing to do with a career for me. I imagine, then, that it’s actually easier for me. My career isn’t at stake. So I have a little more freedom with how I respond to people, or how I act.

            So anyway, just something to think about. You made some good follow-up points to my questions, though, so thank you!

      • Profile photo of captaintripps
        February 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm —

        In the context of a professional environment, I believe the “don’t have sex; you won’t be taken seriously” line is the more extreme form of setting boundaries for friendliness with colleagues or subordinates. It’s not that there is anything inherently 100% wrong with a romantic relationship with a colleague, but, as you no doubt already know, it has the potential to add non-professional complexity to professional situations.

        Having broken that myself, I clearly view it as a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. Still, it’s not as if it’s uncommon for workplace relationships to result in unprofessional behaviour and decisions.

      • Profile photo of dr. dr. professor
        February 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm —

        Yeah, believe it or not, through reading your replies to things I’ve come to see that you’re a pretty good representative of feminism.

        Society expects women to act a certain way and keep certain boundaries that men aren’t and I think it perceives feminists as man-haters or prudes and even expects them to act in a certain way.

        I think you clearly break this illusion by being very vehemently for feminist causes and at the same time in your personal life, you do whatever you want without remorse of what society thinks. I think ultimately we should be working towards a society where women are free to do whatever they want (including whatever sexual escapades they wish) and not have a scarlet letter sewn to their backs for it. I mean, men have that privelege now right?

        A model for gender equality I like is that seen in the Starship Troopers movie. Men & women are on football teams together, in combat together (with women often in command of infantry units), and have sex without stigma against the female party.

        • Profile photo of marilove
          February 7, 2012 at 7:29 pm —

          I am a pain in the ass when I need to be, yes. :) And I learned a long time ago to just not give a fuck. I spent a very, very large majority of my younger years being afraid, anxious about social situations, and not knowing how to stand up for myself. I was bullied a lot growing up (a lot lot) and it had a very negative affect on me for a long time.

          After I moved away from my shitty home town, however, I began to change, and I haven’t looked back. I decided that I was tired of being so afraid of speaking my mind, and of just being ME. Fuck the haters, basically.

          It also helps that I’ve been online since the BBS days (I was 9!) so it’s just really, really hard to get under my skin in an online format. I’ve seen and heard it all. I’ve had all the arguments. I’ve had my very own stalker that resulted in my losing a job. It’s hard to get to me any more.

          I’m not perfect, but I don’t apologize for my choices, as long as they don’t harm anyone else.

          Also, I’m not quiiiite as agressive in real life. Not unless I need to be (and then you might want to back away slowly before I let loose). I can also be kind of shy in real life until we get to know each other. But once I know ya, I let my colors fly. :)

          And, yeah, I’m not a man-hater OR a prude. Quite the oposite, in fact. OH THE STORIES! I need to write a book…

          • Profile photo of greenstone123
            February 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm

            I am glad that you put yourself out there Marilove. You make it apparent that feminism isn’t about manifestos, but the chance to live your life the way you want too. :)

      • Profile photo of Anthony
        February 8, 2012 at 2:43 am —

        I have a very strict “Don’t shit where you eat” policy regarding sex with people I work with.

        • Profile photo of Bjornar
          February 8, 2012 at 4:33 am —

          I have a very strict “don’t shit”-policy in all my sexual activities.

  2. Profile photo of TerranRich
    February 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm —

    I sometimes wish I owned my own public conference or club or organizational gathering that just happened to draw in more men than women, just so I can hang a sign that says, “Women more than welcome here; you will be respected and treated as equals. We will ensure that one day this sign will no longer need to even exist.”

  3. Profile photo of dr. dr. professor
    February 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm —

    I find good ol’ boys club fucking stupid from a business perspective. You edge out the talent and potential of your female workers when you have these clubs – and your talent is responsible for making you money. So when exclude females from their maximum potential, you lose money. Sexism gets to be expensive in business.

    However, I do notice that in existing organizations, boys clubs kind of naturally exist and it takes some concerted effort to break them up. And we should all be doing that where we can. If we all do that at once, we work towards fundamentally changing society.

  4. Profile photo of israelkwalker
    February 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm —

    @ Richard Brum…since I will be owning a club(ish environment) in the future that is fantastic advice, thought I think I will add several other oppressed groups.

  5. Profile photo of greenstone123
    February 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm —

    There is only one more thing I would like to add to this list. I hate even talking about it! But on two occasions in my life, I have faced sexual harassment that led to another person being fired. Recently I had read about how at the local university a male professor, who was using his position, subjected female students to sexual harassment, a situation that had gone on for years. Turn it in! You don’t want to complicate/end your career path. I personally have found with overt sexual harassment, no one wants to back up, or put their career on the line for someone breaking the law! There are some remnants of poor behavior that are left to be sorted out. Hopefully this behavior (of an extreme few) will go away with the boys club.

  6. Profile photo of shan
    February 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm —

    As a non-white non-american who had to through 5 years of university in america, my personal,anecdotal, experience tells me that a lot of the problems are with how we perceive these groups. Approaching them maybe intimidating, but once you talk to them they tend to be like every other group of people & don’t give a flying fuck about what you look like.

    • Profile photo of greenstone123
      February 7, 2012 at 11:25 pm —

      I will respectfully disagree with you Shan. I have not found the same to be true. Since we are talking about antidotal evidence ? , I had difficulties when I first arrived at the university we are at. While I had a meeting set up to visit the physics department, I was directed, by the advisor in physics, to consider a career in biology. He clearly made this determination based on the fact that I am female then showed me a picture of another female from the physics department that had made the cross over when getting her Masters. Well good for her, but WTF does that have to do with me? After turning this piss poor meeting around with my passion for PHYSICS the professor/advisor point blank said that he did not actually allow for enough time for the meeting (although I had come from out of state to make this visit) and would be happy to work with me. If I didn’t know all my shit going in, I would have been shown the door. It is a good program, but it isn’t MIT.

      The twist on all this was that my husband came in at the end of the ‘meeting’ and the adviser was more excited about my husband’s career in engineering, shook his hand and welcomed him to the university. It is demoralizing to spend all my time and passion and I have to convince someone to be given the ‘chance’ to finish up my degree here, meanwhile my husband who isn’t even in the department is welcomed right in.

      I would agree with you that this may not be the situation for every female everywhere and not predominate in all fields of work, but certainly there are barriers that many women face that can be contributed to the old boys system.

  7. Profile photo of israelkwalker
    February 8, 2012 at 6:55 am —

    I regularly miss the obvious points in these, so forgive me if I did on this one too. This article is peripherally about the patriarchy right? I mean the good ol’ boys club is a manifestation of men actually running the show, despite legal equality right? How come the one article got 285 hits and this one got 15?

    • Profile photo of quietmarc
      February 8, 2012 at 8:19 am —

      My guess? This one doesn’t ask the guys to do anything or change anything. The onus is entirely on women to change or monitor their actions in order to play in the guys’ sandbox.

      While this article is no doubt helpful, and true (I mean, “working hard” is pretty much good advice no matter what your goal is), it only addresses, at best, half the problem. Real change likely won’t happen until guys change, and that’s probably where the hardest work will be for some time. People, especially people enjoying privilege, have a hard time accepting change that doesn’t reinforce their privilege.

      • Profile photo of israelkwalker
        February 8, 2012 at 10:17 am —

        Ahhhh, so if an article says “This is what women need to do to live a man’s world” it doesn’t really piss anyone off. But if you say “It shouldn’t be a man’s world in the first place, and men need to give up some of the privilege” that’s when people (largely male kind of people) get pissed. Got it.

        • Profile photo of quietmarc
          February 8, 2012 at 10:44 am —

          That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it until presented with sufficient contrary evidence. :)

          • Profile photo of theatrkd
            February 8, 2012 at 10:54 am

            Adding to that, it often takes women showing interest, being good at, and succeeding in certain fields in order to break up the “Men only” system. It’s basically the foot in the door for women to become equals in certain realms (like science!) and the above advice can lead to overall acceptance and encouragement if followed by enough.

            It’s really sad that this is a reality but life sucks.

          • Profile photo of BeardofPants
            February 9, 2012 at 11:29 am

            Yay! Skepticism at work! :D

    • Profile photo of marilove
      February 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm —

      This was actually a really good observation.

  8. Profile photo of
    February 8, 2012 at 8:04 am —

    Great article!

    Although, it does place a lot of the responsibility on the woman.

  9. Profile photo of thinkfree
    February 8, 2012 at 8:32 am —

    Some excellent advice given in the article. I’d also agree with shan that approaching any new group with an open mind can be useful. You never know where you might make allies, or even friends! Networking is key to career success. :)

    One thing I’d like to say is that in my experience using point 2 to ensure recognition of point 1 in order to achieve point 4 is vital in many a workplace. Anecdotally, I’d like to put forward the example of two of my female friends who work for investment banks, both from immigrant families. One works like a dog; always staying late at the office and accepting any curveball that’s thrown her way. The other also works hard, accepts that some special projects might require her to ‘go the extra mile’ but ensures her manager recognises her efforts. They both recently had their performance reviews and the former simply “met expectations”, whilst the latter “exceeded expectations”. My point being that there’s a fine line between being seen as a “hard worker” and a pushover. The second friend I mentioned takes her lunch breaks normally, doesn’t come across as stressed or rushed off her feet and ensures that her manager knows when she is going above and beyond her normal duties in order to deliver particular targets. She is well respected and is quickly becoming a ‘go to’ person within her team, presenting herself as efficient and capable. My other friend just looks tired all the time, overworked and unhappy. I don’t think she gets the recognition she deserves because she hasn’t yet mastered how to be assertive in dealing with demands from others or conveying the excellence she consistently delivers.

  10. Profile photo of skepticcanary
    February 8, 2012 at 9:02 am —

    This is a really good article, but the advice contained within would be applicable to *anyone* looking to break into any group! I’m from an academic background myself, and people do often seem to go off into their little groups. Whenever I tried to get in with a new crowd, people responded positively. I think they were happy to see a fresh face!

  11. Profile photo of
    February 8, 2012 at 11:04 am —

    The bottom line at work:

    Arrive at work 15 minutes early. During the time you are at work, do your job and don’t lollygag around or use it as a social club. Leave 15 minutes late.

    Participate in work culture professionally. Don’t get drunk at work parties. Be very careful with interpersonal relationships at work. I would never say never, but romantic relationships with coworkers can result in bad blood if there is a breakup or dispute. Romantic relationships with superiors or subordinates are even more problematic, as there are issues of sexual harassment that can easily arise when those relationships go south.

    Plus, when a person has a romantic relationship with a superior, the other coworkers often react negatively to that, thinking that favoritism will be applied. It can also open one to the allegation of fucking one’s way to the top, etc.

    Speak with confidence, and don’t take shit from anyone. If someone says something you don’t like, tell them – “Please don’t talk to me that way.” If someone interrupts or talks over you, state firmly “Please let me finish.” Don’t cave in to someone else blowing past you or ignoring you. Speak up.

    If you think you deserve more money, ask for it. If you think you deserve a raise or a promotion, ask for it. Nobody generally comes to you to rub your shoulders and pat you on the back.

    And, remember, life isn’t fair and jobs aren’t fair, and never will be. They’ve never been fair. Men have always been treated differently, better and worse than other men.

  12. Profile photo of Feats of Cats
    February 8, 2012 at 11:46 am —

    I think maybe when you are trying to get into a social group and you sleep with a member pretty early on, you risk others in the group thinking that you’re only there because you’re fucking that dude. Also it makes it harder to stay in the group if things go sour between you and him.

  13. Profile photo of GeekGirlsRule
    February 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm —

    Honestly, I find it more than a little condescending that you don’t think women are ALREADY doing these things, and being shot down regardless of hard work, putting themselves out there, etc… See the study cited in the comments thread on the last article about misogyny where women do ask for raises as often as men, and don’t get them as one datapoint.

    • Profile photo of
      February 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm —

      I am new here. I did not see that study. I was always under the impression that there was data that women are more reticent to be forward about asking for more money. I am very interested in seeing data otherwise.

      I wasn’t referring to women, specifically – that is if you were thinking that I was being condescending to women. I give the same advice I just typed in to men too. It’s unisex advice. I think a lot of people in general think they’re working hard, when they’re not, and sometimes they interpret not getting a raise or promotion or other accolade as an insult or an injustice when in fact they really just don’t deserve it. That’s men and women both, not singling women out.

    • Profile photo of punchdrunk
      February 9, 2012 at 12:20 am —

      I agree, and I thought about the same study. It seems like the same line women have been getting since the 80’s.

      http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133599768/ask-for-a-raise-most-women-hesitate

      From the article:
      In fact, this hesitation might be for good reason. It turns out that when women do negotiate, it can backfire.

  14. Profile photo of kea1
    February 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm —

    I’m with GeekGirlsRule. You don’t know shit. If you have not yet struck more serious obstacles, then you must be playing the game. And you’re younger than most of us. I was first a successful researcher when I was a teenager in the 1980s. None of my more recent work has ever been taken seriously, and I am not only excluded from the Old Boys Club but completely ostracised. There are no women in my subfield (of theoretical particle physics). Zero. In the whole world. And no one admits there is a problem. You are blind, as we once were.

    Keep trying, though.

    • Profile photo of BeardofPants
      February 9, 2012 at 11:33 am —

      That is not a fucking cool response. We spend all this time fighting to be treated like equals, and yet… I don’t know what gender you are, and it really doesn’t matter. You just insulted both her age and her gender. Critique the article, not the fucking author.

  15. Profile photo of BeardofPants
    February 9, 2012 at 11:35 am —

    For the record, I do find this article problematic. It goes nowhere towards addressing the symptoms of the problem. There are several studies out there that implicate that women are barriered from entry or progress regardless of “how hard they work”. :/

    • Profile photo of marilove
      February 9, 2012 at 11:44 am —

      Exactly. Women are expected to do even MORE work and work even harder than men, and even that doesn’t always work.

    • Profile photo of punchdrunk
      February 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm —

      Also, asking for recognition can actually harm women’s careers, but is great advice for men.

    • Profile photo of greenstone123
      February 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm —

      I think it is tricky to write this sort of article because what might work for one woman and/or situation may not work for another.

      Such as, how much of a ‘good old boys club’ is there? The degrees to which women participate already in the field and how progressive (for lack of a better word) the men are. The bigger or smaller the problem of ‘the good old boy system’ would reflect in how a person would react to be successful in the environment.

      Some problems I had with the advice, I wouldn’t even try to make friends with someone or a group that doesn’t respect me, especially based on my sex. I have been in this situation during my time in the military and at my last job, my old boss was such a bra-beater. I was openly dismissive of stupid comments and I was only receptive to them when we had work to do. This worked and we were able to build a mutual respect about our work completed together. Then again, if you are coming into a situation where the atmosphere is at all friendly then her advice is right on.

      I had a problem with the work harder thing, I already drive myself pretty hard. (Even now I am not working, but I nightly pick up material and review it.) That working late and meeting up for drinks is pretty much out of the question with a child (again a personal situation that comes into play for me). So I have to be creative in how I am going to form relationships and network. In networking, I make the best use of time at conferences and frequently attend them. This is one thing I did at my last job, that is before full time Momming it for a bit here. :) I also like to create my own special niche that makes people NEED to come to me. But these are things that work and fit for me. For others not in my situation, coming in and putting in more time to ‘prove’ (again for lack of a better term) themselves to the team may really work well.

      As for doing your best to help eliminate the ‘old boys club’ that could be one for another post.

      • Profile photo of GeekGirlsRule
        February 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm —

        Exactly, it’s long been a maxim of the women’s movement that women have to work twice as hard as a man to be thought half as good. Telling us to work harder, when we’ve been working harder for decades isn’t going to solve the problem. And it’s also assuming that the Good Ol’ Boys in question will even SEE your hard work.

        • Profile photo of BeardofPants
          February 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm —

          Yeah, working hard is counter-productive if you’re not actively raising how hard you’re working with the people who will be responsible for giving you promotions/raises. Probably one of the best things you can do as a woman is organize one-on-ones with your managers, and then making sure that at each of those weekly meetings, you’re advertising both how hard you’re working, and what value you’re bringing to your workplace. It’s seriously the only way to get noticed.

          • Profile photo of greenstone123
            February 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm

            @ GeekGirlsRule: I agree with what you are saying. When it comes to the career stuff, a lot of women can’t work any harder without just hitting a wall, throwing their family under the bus, or being the office slave. I think that making what a person does count is important.

            @BeardofPants: I agree that it is important to be able to personally present your work to your boss, hopefully their boss, and funders. I think it runs against the grain for women to claim, I did this. Another thing that I use to do was during meetings answer questions in a general way, but then with particulars, I would say, I will email it to you, then send the information in a creative way such as graphs showing trends and such. It would be so easy to burn your time going in over prepared for meetings and still not have what they want. Instead ‘have a talk’ one-on-one, then follow up with something impressive email wise. By the time that my boss or team’s email was jammed with USEFUL info, they knew who is doing what and/or was in the know. Also in the reports I created, in the footnote added ‘document prepared by greenstone’. After being burned over and over for work and information credited to someone else, I learned my lesson. (A good friend told me that one.)

            Personally, I had to take a year off, so I feel like I am a bit out of snuff. I worked in the field of business at a non-for-profit for individuals with disabilities. Right up until the very end, I was asked if I could put on a pot of coffee, but I felt my work was valued and I always got great reviews and maxed on my raises. (BTW: I never put on a single pot. ASSHOLES! I didn’t even drink coffee then.) Currently, I am making the switch over to science, with fingers crossed a degree in physics in two or so years. I understand that science in my field is a boys club. I see it in my classes. There are special assholes (they don’t even know they are assholes) that let me know that it is hard work, and that a lot of people wash out. I better run quick to a life science while there is still time. But unless in my physics classes or career they make me have a baby, fight in a war or take care of a mentally ill parent, I think I can hold my own.

            I also think a mentor can be invaluable too, but again that could be another article.

  16. Profile photo of Luarien
    February 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm —

    I agree whole-heartedly with this article but, as a representative of Fancy Men everywhere, I must take umbrage with the picture. I would not let this so-called Good Ol’ Boys Club even touch my cravat, let alone associate with me!

    Know that we, the Fancy Men of the world, stand strong with women everywhere. At least until our heels hurt then we must sit down, these shoes are just murder. Honestly, how we suffer for fashion.

    In all seriousness, I enjoyed how punchy this is and how well put together it is. It’d be a good pep-talk kind of article to post in places where infiltration is regular (like any kind of business hobnobbing).

  17. Profile photo of JeffGrigg
    February 14, 2012 at 3:48 am —

    I don’t like that things are this way, but from a few examples I’ve seen, I’d say that…

    If you want a club that’s open, inclusive and comfortable for women, then women need to run it.

    So there: You have my permission and encouragement to take over the club and run it.

  18. Profile photo of fahltdolafeinnicht
    February 23, 2012 at 4:11 am —

    I find your blog to be very interesting, especially since I am now about to do practical training in computational chemistry.

    At least in our department computational chemistry(and chemistry in general) seems to be quite female-dominated, with a clear shift from the older to the younger Professors generation. But since I myself am a man my perspective might be off…

    I would be interested to know if you had observed the same thing at your department and if this shift might even take care of the problem of breaking into the “Good Ol’ Boys’ club” all together?

    • Profile photo of Jacqueline
      February 23, 2012 at 9:17 am —

      I actually wrote about this for my guest blog piece. Take a look at it and let me know if you still have questions.

      http://skepchick.org/2011/08/women-in-computational-and-theoretical-chemistry-by-jacqueline-hargis/

      • Profile photo of fahltdolafeinnicht
        February 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm —

        This was helpful, thank you. It is an interesting perspective to hear, especially since I am only a
        Masters student and have not yet attended any conferences whatsoever so I would not know what live
        was like there at all.

        Also I have noticed, while turning my earlier post over in my head for the last day, that my first statement about
        our chemistry department being female dominated is not really accurate. While the students ratio is about 50:50
        with a slight female edge, I was astonished(and also embarrassed) that upon checking out my earlier remark,
        that the ratio among computational chemistry professors is 50:50(there being 2 professors), but that in total
        there is a large excess of male professors compared to female ones.

        Thinking about why did think otherwise before checking the actual numbers made me realize that there still is an unstated
        expectancy in my head while learnig about my professors, in that I unconsciously assumed, that they be male and so while
        male ones I just registered as “the norm”, female ones stood out and that led to my overestimating there numbers.

        Even though I am slightly embarrassed about what I wrote previously, it being so demonstrably wrong, I would be interested
        to know if this is an experience only I have made, or if anyone else has found him or herself making the same misjudgement
        based upon unconscious preconceptions. If that is the case, this might add another problem to the whole problem of “breaking in”
        that works on a different layer from the sexual inappropriateness you described in your previous post, in that a male applicant might
        be picked over a female one, just because the committee had already in their heads pictured the professor or other, that they where to choose as a man rather then a woman.

        Please let me know what you think about this and whether or not you think that I am completely off here or not.

        • Profile photo of Jacqueline
          February 24, 2012 at 8:26 am —

          I actually think it is the opposite at this point. I have never been on a search committee, but have had discussions with professors that have. It seems they are consciously choosing more female applicants to interview to have better balance in the chemistry departments. However, there still seems to be a larger number of male applicants and as a consequence of volume most of the time they still get the job. Also, if they do select a female that is less qualified than the male they may not receive tenure. I have seen this happen at a university before. This is more anecdotal evidence, but hopefully it is helpful.

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