Mambypambyland: Hi, Hanna. A recent news story is that women will be allowed to serve on the front lines alongside men in wars for America. My question is:
Do you believe that women should serve on the front line beside men? And if so, should they be required to have the same physical standards to join as men?
Hanna Rosin: Yes and yes. The fact is, women have been fighting and dying alongside men, so this is merely an official acknowledgment of that. Fire departments went through this transition some years ago. They were reluctant to admit women but insisted they meet the same standards. Then they kept upping the standards for physical strength. Fire departments are still mostly male, you will notice. But why shouldn’t the women who do meet the standards be allowed in? Ideas about cohesion and bonding no longer seem all that relevant, because we live in a world where men and women work on teams together all the time.
Suzpalindromesuz: Hi, and thank you :) What's your take, in brief, on Anne-Marie Slaughter's “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” article?
Hanna Rosin: My personal mission after reading that story was to try and train the American workplace to understand that workers are full human beings with full lives and that robots don’t take kids to the doctor. So if I had a kid thing to do, I started being more honest about that and not saying I had to go to a "meeting." Slaughter says she makes sure when she speaks that they introduce her as someone with children, and I copied her on that one. I think the next step is to talk about how men can’t have it all either, and maybe that "having it all" is a stupid idea and we should aim for less and have what we have and feel grateful for it.
Nerdologist: Hi, Hanna! Woman in a STEM field here :)
I am a big listener of the DoubleX podcast; I've heard every episode. I am a woman in a STEM field that is very intense (working most of my waking hours) and where I have almost no female colleagues at or above my level. So, getting some gal talk in my ears is necessary for my mental survival. Thanks!
I would love it, though, if you guys could talk a little more to women like me who are still in these sort of refugia where feminism never really made it that far—we are still fighting for small things that others take for granted. One thing that comes to mind was your show about older mothers, how women put off motherhood too long. But many women in science don't feel like we have a choice. My male colleagues here, almost without exception, have wives but one-career households where their partners take care of most of the domestic stuff, and women rarely have partners like that. I felt you characterized older women who want to be mothers as sort of dimwits who don't understand how things really are, who think that because they look good and have "toned arms" they should be magically entitled to have babies any time they want and are shocked when they can't. You three seem to have been fortunate in your workplaces and partners—not everyone has those advantages. I guess my question is: Would you be willing to have discussion about something like this?
I just want to add that I am such a fan and have been burning to ask you guys about this for so long that I planned my whole work day around just being able to submit this question.
Hanna Rosin: Hi, and I' so glad you listen and keep listening even though we annoy you sometimes. We are so guilty of that. It's kind of like the Anne-Marie Slaughter article. As a professor at Princeton—and as a journalist—we have a certain amount of flexibility that someone who works at the White House or in a male-dominated field just doesn’t have. Not to mention a nurse or a teacher or someone who doesn't have control over her own time. This is a mistake writers make a lot (or maybe people make a lot)—assume that their lives are like other people's lives. But we will be aware of it and invite in more people whose realities are different from ours. Question is: Would someone in your situation have any time to come on our podcast?
Shifty_sam: What have you seen in marriages where partners try really hard to have everything "equal" (equal time with kids, housework, equal career opportunities, etc.), but the wife makes a lot more money? That's a variable that cannot be changed.
Hanna Rosin: I did a survey in Slate of couples where the woman earns more and reported some of my results here. When I interviewed couples I came across the whole range of reactions—resentful husbands, delighted husbands, and ditto for wives. One thing I found to be consistently true is that the wife almost never totally cedes the domestic sphere to the husband, even if she is making a lot more and the guy is a stay-at-home dad. What does that mean? Women are control freaks? Society judges women harshly if they're not domestic enough? Not sure.
LucasTrask: Do you defend the 77 cents to $1 "wage gap" numbers that are often cited? Or do you agree that when comparing equal work, equal hours, and equal risk, then the number is more nearly 95 cents to $1?
Hanna Rosin: The real number is somewhere in between those. The often cited 77 cents generally compares fewer work hours, and I’m not sure where you got 95 cents or what you mean by "equal risk." But I think the real interesting debate is WHY women work fewer hours or get funneled to lower-paying jobs. If it’s because they want to construct a life where they work less and live more, then fine. But if it’s because a disproportionate share of the child work falls on them or they are being made to think that they aren’t qualified to become a surgeon instead of a nurse, then that’s less fine.