Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman's Guide to Surviving in the Academic World / Edition 1

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Overview

Lifting a Ton of Feathers is not only a survival guide, it is also a destroyer of academic myths about women's career chances in the university, and a revelation of the catch-22 positions in which women find themselves. Caplan demonstrates that while many women believe that when they fail it is their fault, their fate is more likely to be sealed by their encounter with the male environment, and by the manner in which they are tossed about by it. She aims to help women avoid self-blame and understand the real sources of their problems. Readers will find the information about the mine-field of academia for women infuriating, but the means of telling it highly entertaining.

Women account for more than half of all undergraduate students in the US and Canada, yet they make up only 10 per cent of faculty members at the level of full professor. What happens to women between freshman level, the tenure track, and the ensuing following professional years that keeps them out of the highest levels of academia? Paula Caplan is herself a veteran of the academic career struggle, and she sets out to explore this question with not only her own observations but also those of many women whom she has interviewed, and with a strong backing of established research. With these tools she provides a clear-eyed assessment of what women who have embarked on an academic career, and those who are considering it, may expect.

Forewarned is forearmed, and Caplan presents a list of the forms that the maleness of the environment take: two of these are the conflict between professional and family responsibilities, and sexual harassment. In addition, her book offers advice on practical techniques of how to prepare a curriculum vitae, how to handle job interviews, and how to apply for promotions and tenure. A final chapter is a unique checklist which serves two purposes: to provide guidance in a search for a woman-positive institution and to give suggestions for ways individual women, and women in groups, can work to improve the situation at their own institutions.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Provides strategic information and survival skills based on the experiences of the author and the wealth of existing literature on women in academia, and on hundreds of women interviewed. The focus is on graduate students and faculty, although much of the material is applicable elsewhere. The author discusses the unwritten rules, what is sexual discrimination, what can be done about it, and daily survival strategies. No index. Paper edition (unseen) $18.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802074119
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 4/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 271
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Paula Caplan is Professor of Applied Psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
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Table of Contents

Prologue
Preface
1 The Good, the Bad, and the Perplexing 3
2 Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?, or The Maleness of the Environment 26
3 Unwritten Rules and Impossible Proofs 34
4 The Myths 47
5 Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't 64
6 What You Can Do: Some General Principles 75
7 What You Can Do: Suggestions for Specific Situations 107
8 Check-list for Woman-positive Institutions 161
Appendix 1: The Data on Gender Bias in Academia 173
Appendix 2: The Maleness of the Environment 186
Appendix 3: Suggested Guidelines for Hiring, Promotion, and Tenure Committees 220
Notes 223
Bibliography 237
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