I'm adding to the already well-developed discussion on women and the work-life balance. TPM is one of my favorite political methods blogs to follow, so I'm pleased to be making my grand internet debut with a splash.
The evolution of our academic and work institutions to reflect the changing role of women (and women as mothers) is fascinating. My thoughts are currently on the role of perception. One point I wish I could have elaborated on was the fact that the majority opinion, frankly, doesn't matter in these situations.
I think that's a hard pill for any of us to swallow. We like to think that (a) we are nice people who do not discriminate, and that (b) our opinions matter. To elaborate - when a minority (and I use minority because this applies to racial minorities as well) is "inadvertently" marginalized, for example, as the only person of that gender or color in a room, the sentiment is that unless someone is being overtly discriminatory, that it's the onus of the minority individual to "get over it." In more extreme cases, you can be accused of being hyper-sensitive - that's a favorite rebuttal for women.
Here's a thought, people in power (which, yes, can sometimes be me) - maybe what YOU think of the minority in the situation isn't what matters. Maybe it's what the minority feels that matters more. Maybe it's the role of institutions and individuals in power to recognize that and reform so that maybe next time, that email from Mei Chen or Deepak Patel actually is answered?