President Summer at Harvard made some remarks at the "NBER Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce" that some might term "unfortunate." As a female scientist and graduate of that fine institution, I have to point something out.
First, let me start off by recalling Summer's remarks that it is expected that individuals who lead organizations will be working far beyond a 40 hour week. As anyone who has attended Harvard will stipulate, just getting a degree from that institution takes the student well over 40 hours a week.
Hence, time spent working is not where females fail.
Yet, when Summers speaks of time beyond the 40 hours, as we all know, it is not just 40 hours at a desk or lab bench. It is time rubbing elbows. I especially recall a Harvard graduate student -- a former carrier pilot -- say without shame, something like: you women will never be equal because you don't play squash.
We retorted, are you saying we need to play squash to get ahead?
No, he answered. You need to be literally in the men's locker room.
In short, we had to be "men" to be in a man's world more than 40 hours and President Summers should have figured that out, by now.
Put it another way. For a time I worked in a family held firm. During office hours, I was a hot-shot executive. After hours the clan would get together. This was the "real" company meeting. What happened at the office was merely the memorializing what took place over hot dogs and beer the week-end before.
The "family" in the case of women scientists, is the family of men.
The reason Summers does not see it is that he is not a woman and therefore blind to this. He's in the locker room with the boys. "What in hell are those annoying women moaning about, anyway? Sigh."