Why Women-in-Science Panels Aren’t Very Useful

Based on my experiences with women-in-science panels, as a member of the audience as well as a panelist, these events tend to be a nearly complete waste of time. I don’t think these panels achieve very much and have left me wanting every single time, regardless of the role I played. Recently, I have been thinking about why that is so. (If you think these panels are awesome, I would definitely love to hear about what you found useful.)

Maybe these panels are like intro-level textbooks, useful for a novice, but once you’ve struggled with certain issues for a while and are ready for an advanced course, they no longer suffice. These panels are also a cheap way for organizations to pretend they are doing something for young women, without actually having to do much of substance.

The women in the audience come with two sets of questions: 1) succeeding professionally (perhaps as woman in a male-dominated field) and 2) work-life balance (which in practice translates to “how to have kids and still succeed”). Panels tend to spend most of their time on the second type of question, which I think it at the core of the low utility of these panels.

The young women who have been very successful thus far and have great pedigrees come in ready to kill it in the professional arena. Often, they don’t believe that the issues of bias will apply to them and are largely convinced we live in a post-sexist society. In contrast, no midcareer or senior woman in STEM thinks this. So there is a disconnect between what the older women say will be an issue and how to overcome it, and the fact that younger women don’t think this will apply to them because they themselves are excellent and academia is a meritocracy (Honorary Dudeness etc.), or they really believe sexism is a thing of the past (so everyone but the dinosaurs is enlightened). In reality, they simply haven’t had enough experiences yet to convince them that sexism is alive and well, thriving in many young guns, and more insidious than ever.

Then there is the issue of work–life balance (again, this is usually a euphemism for kids–work balance). Whether you are the primary caregiver (which most women are, whether they work or not), whether you breastfeed, whether you have multiples, how flexible the spouse’s job is, whether you have a nanny or use daycare, how long your commute is, not to mention whether your baby is healthy, are all issues that can cause considerable disparities in the stress levels of new moms in academia. There are young women who are approaching motherhood with trepidation and come to these workshops to brainstorm logistics, but there are women who may or may not have kids on the tenure track, or ever, but are definitely not interested in talking diapers or breast pumps right now.

There are young women who want to discuss the details of childrearing and associated challenges, but these are really better addressed in a peer forum rather than a panel. For the most part, panelists do not give these women the details they crave; mostly, panelists come off as women who have it together, much more together than what you want to see if you have just become a new mom and your world has been shaken to the core. I am not sure panelists mean to seem cold and calculated, but in my experience they almost always appear that way, often because these topics are something they dealt with in the past (we always seem much more together in hindsight than we really were in the moment  of crisis), but also because a woman’s work persona in STEM is one that always keeps it together.

As a panelist, I always feel that there are things I wish I could share, but they don’t seem to fit with where the moderators are going  or they seem inappropriate because the rest of panel has already driven the discussion in a different direction, and I never want to take up too much panel time (in contrast to some other panelists; there’s always someone who drones on). I always  feel that these panels are way too short and that we barely scratch the surface of what awaits people on the tenure track, let alone beyond. Many senior women seem eager to be done with the obligation and on to the next meeting of the day. The dynamics of wise and worldly and busy panelists talking at (as opposed to with) young and uninformed audience is not really conducive to establishing rapport, especially since the young women are not incompetent. The little time we do have is spent on things we all know already, and we never get to the things that are really at the core of the issues. And there are never many questions, which means the panel didn’t resonate with the audience and that there wasn’t enough time to do it right.

The oldies (I guess I am among them now) and the young women both know how to be tough in their professional arena, and that’s how they interact among themselves, yet these panels are supposed to address issues that are generally quite personal, and that’s the source of a serious disconnect — everyone is posturing, everyone is talking to strangers, and nobody really wants to (nor should be expected to) share really personal anecdotes; when they are shared, they are either trivial, featuring some minor drama that of course ended well, or, on a rare occasion when someone touches upon something really personal, everyone is embarrassed.

I am not sure how to best support young women on the tenure track, especially in the physical-science STEM fields, where the percentages of women are ridiculously low. You cannot force people to genuinely share their struggles and fears with virtual strangers; you definitely cannot force guarded overachievers, whose work persona has been toughened up specifically to not show weakness, to all of a sudden act all vulnerable and nurturing in front of a roomful of women who are also smart and competitive, and who are perhaps showing signs of doubt, weakness, or indecisiveness, but only because their protective armor hasn’t had the time to fully harden just yet.

You cannot expect women to relate as nurtures to other women in a professional context. This type of support has to come from a place of personal connection, and cannot be forced by the institution. Putting a whole bunch of women of different ages together, pretending they would make fast friends, is bullshit and a waste of everyone’s time.

What can institutions do? They can make sure to bring in women as technical speakers, have clear guidelines regarding maternity leave and tenure-clock stoppage, improve access to affordable childcare for students and faculty and staff. They can be unapologetic about affirmative action and relentless about educating the people already there about the massive body of research on implicit bias.

The institutions could also not hire a$$holes, but rather both men and women who will seek work-life balance (with or without kids) and will be interested in helping younger colleagues. This will never happen, of course, because research institutions in physical and biomedical fields want to hire first and foremost the people who can raise lots of grant money; hotshot prodigious fund raisers tend to prioritize work over all else.

Departments could create mentoring committees that include colleagues whom the young faculty member actually will not be afraid to ask questions. For example, of my two assigned mentors, one was never around and I never asked him a single thing; I was also afraid of him, as he struck me as someone who’d weed me out if he perceived I were a weak link. The other mentor was nominally friendly, but in practice so elusive and impossible to meet up with, that I gave up. I got most mentoring from two male collaborators, one midcareer and one very senior. We obviously never discussed breastfeeding and the like, but they were very helpful regarding strategies for grant submissions, interactions with program managers, department politics, etc.

As for women-in-science issues, among my female colleagues across the college, I found that there were very few who organized their lives similar to how I did. First, my female colleagues on average seem to pay for much more outside help than DH and I do (e.g., multiple nannies, often in addition to part-time daycare, appears to be a typical arrangement) or have spouses with very flexible occupations (some had stay-at-home spouses for a while). It’s hard to discuss these choices without judging or being judged, even with one’s close personal friends, let alone with peers who sit with you on committees and who are your competitors for internal awards.

So what do we all do in terms of support for junior faculty, especially women? I think panels, and generally any advice-giving interaction with colleagues, should be focused on troubleshooting for professional success, without connecting it with childcare. Professional success and the challenges on the way to achieving it are (largely) common to women and men, people with kids, people with elder care, people with disabilities. For instance, it is okay to talk about how much travel is necessary, how to best accommodate periods in which you cannot travel, the strategies to maximize publication output and your record in general when you are temporarily grounded — this can be because of kids, because you have a disorder that periodically flares up, or because you have elder care. I think we underestimate how many people have challenges other than childcare and who would benefit from brainstorming how to navigate their career just as much as a temporarily zombified breastfeeding mom would, yet they self-select out of these work-life panels. (One perk of being senior and partaking on university-level committees is that you meet many people across campus, see many CVs, and realize that almost everyone has had some personal stumble at one point or another.) Everyone would be better served if we refocused these panels on success in the face of professional challenges: dwindling grant support, amplified need for travel and exposure, increased pressure to publish, all with raised tenure bars and diminishing safety nets in terms of intramural funds. There’s plenty to discuss, without ever mentioning diapers.

And for emotional support? Friends and family, in meatspace and on the Internet.


  1. I mostly agree with you about the lack of utility of these panels. As a pre-TT, pre-kid academic, I enjoyed listening to these panels because after going to a number of them, I’d heard a lot of stories and a lot of issues raised that I simply hadn’t thought of before. I think they at least alerted me to some of the challenges I’d face, so that I went in with my eyes open.

    These days, I’m much more likely roll my eyes at these panels. Older woman who says she was able to work effectively from home when her kids were little… yeah, I bet she had a nanny (the number of senior women who respond to follow up questions with, “Oh, just get a nanny, ours was fabulous” is disturbing). Token guy on the panel… yeah, his experience is probably entirely irrelevant to mine. Just the other day my department chair asked how things were going with my 6-month-old baby and then launched into a long reminiscence about how when one of his two kids was this age he felt so terrible going off to visit a national facility for two weeks without them, because of how much they changed in the meantime. I just stood there thinking “It would be physically impossible for me to leave my baby for two weeks right now, because he has never taken a bottle and I would worry that he would starve, or perhaps more realistically need to go to the hospital for tube feeding.”

    The tricky thing is… if not these panels, and if not my male colleagues, who do I go to for support? I’m the only woman in my physical science department, and there are no tenured women in the physics department either. There’s one superstar-fabulous woman in another physical science department who is 10 years older than me and has elementary-age kids, and she’s awesome, but she’s so awesome that she is ridiculously busy and I only get to have lunch with her once a semester (which is always fantastically wonderful, but not enough). Also, she had her kids post-tenure. There are of course senior women in the “soft” science departments, but the culture of those fields is so different from mine… for one thing, there *are* lots of women in their fields, so the infrastructure to support moms is just more common and better.

    So, I read blogs (like yours), and network like crazy with other early/mid-career women at conferences, and muddle through. Wish it didn’t feel like I was muddling my way through a quicksand-laden swamp most of the time…

  2. Yeah, as someone who’s never had a nanny, I also notice that the number of women who say to just get a nanny is really high. That information has always been completely useless to me (never trusted myself to not hire an ax murderer; seriously, with the cultural difference, I don’t think I am capable of hiring a nanny). And I agree, getting info from super-busy superstars is impossible. I hear you on the complete absence of other women with similar challenges — I remain the only woman who’s ever had a kid on the TT in my department (others either had kids post tenure or elected not to have kids), and physical sciences do have it much worse than biomedical, and much MUCH worse than social sciences or the humanities in terms of the low numbers of women.

    I know what you mean with a fantastic female mentor whom you get to see once a semester. It’s not enough. I have a male mentee who’s across the hallway from me. Due to proximity I interact with him a lot, if not daily than several times a week, and I have been able to assist him with lots of issues that arise in all spheres of work because, I think, a) we are in close proximity, b) he’s not afraid to ask, and c) I make sure to show that I am happy to help whenever he needs me to. I never had anything like that with any of my mentors, usually because they all signaled loudly and clearly that they were first and foremost very busy and I was just another service task, so I didn’t bother them.

    Maybe that’s the key problem. If we want young women to be supported, we should be willing to be inconvenienced and to devote some time to these women, more than once a semester.

    What you write brings back memories. Mostly, I have muddled through as well. Perhaps that’s how it must be. If you are lucky, you find someone who is willing to spend nontrivial time on forming a true mentoring relationship with you, but it’s sad that it doesn’t happen very often.

  3. I remember loving these kinds of panels when I was just starting off — as an undergrad and maybe my first year of grad school. But then I think it was mostly just inspiring to see successful women in science. We should be able to accomplish that with more female faculty, seminar speakers, etc. Now as tenured faculty, I loooaaaathe these events. We rehash the same stuff over and over, and it’s boring. Plus, the huge generational disconnect makes my head hurt. Two things you didn’t mention: Young women who announce they like science but won’t go into it, because they want to have a family, and you can’t be a female scientist and have kids. Has anyone else heard this? I guess we’ve been complaining too much? Also: women (and men) who claim that their lack of success getting a job is because faculty are not retiring early enough. I don’t know why this keeps coming up in the panels I’ve been involved in, but it sets up a generational antagonism that isn’t helping anyone (and I’m in my 40s, so it shouldn’t bother me).

    lyra211, I really recommend interacting with female faculty in other departments. They might not have the same challenges as you, but they will be great for navigating college/university resources and policies. Plus, nothing beats talking to a real person with a friendly face. An example: I found out about my university’s new parental leave policy from an English prof; my chair knew nothing about it.

  4. The ones in my grad school department were useful. How to respond to criticism during talks as a woman (write things down to let them to let their point go), how to become an NBER affiliate (persistence and networking on top of a great cv), etc.

  5. “These panels are also a cheap way for organizations to pretend they are doing something for young women, without actually having to do much of substance.”

    I think you are absolutely spot-on here! The engineering school I am in has recently gotten a bad rep for not hiring enough women. To improve their image, they have started holding these panels for the past couple of years. The result is that the few women faculty that are there — and there are very very few in our school, let me assure you — are now burdened with an extra service obligation of showing up once a semenster at a Women-in-Engineering Panel. Needless to say, the panel is always held either on a weekend or a weekday evening. On the other hand, the number of women faculty in the school has declined as some senior women have retired, and no new women have been hired.

    Personally I too have not found these panels to be very useful. Perhaps I am being a bit cynical here, but I find that folks on the panel often use it as a platform for aggressive self-promotion — “look how great I am! look how easily I handled all these challenges!”. Folks in the audience are confused and rarely get what they want. Overall it is a waste of everyone’s time, except the good old boys. They don’t even have to spend any time coming to the event, but they now have their excuse for maintaining the status-quo.

  6. You make a whole bunch of great points. Women in science panels are 101, and probably only useful to folks just starting out. Their primary use seems to be making it look like an organization is being supportive, and they get dominated by the babies. No one ever even talks much about when the kids are older, let alone elder care, illness, mental health issues, or other sorts of life issues that come along. People also say ridiculous things on these panels like “make sure you have a spouse who will be an equal partner”. And how exactly can one guarantee that? Those panels are the Facebook of science where everyone talks about all the good things–the problems they solved with their great solutions, and no one talks about the grants not sent, or the research delays, or the last minute emergency shopping for something your kid needs tomorrow while attempting to “balance” work and life. The stuff that would be really helpful to hear, but that might ruin the speaker’s projected image as put together and successful.

    I agree 100% that all junior faculty (women included) would benefit from sticking to discussions about general professional challenges. The whole women in science thing can be isolating and self-reinforcing too. I am not a fan of most mentoring programs that are more individual. There isn’t really a formal mentoring program at ProdigalU, but either way, I would never really relax enough to trust someone assigned to me to really be open with them about my problems. I am paranoid that way. I found my own mentors (as almost everyone successful ends up doing), and none of them were women. I did have a commiseration buddy who was a woman at about the same level as me, which was great for my stress management.

    FWIW, I never had a nanny and never thought about hiring one. I do have a flexible spouse, though, which you can never plan for (even if you marry one, since many things can happen between marrying someone and having kids). In addition to questions about tenure with kids (I had mine on the TT), I now also get questions about sabbatical with kids. I would like to be asked about non-kid related things too.

  7. I initially used to like these, but at some point I came to the realization that panels were a way to foisting women’s issues off on women. The institution looks supportive by hosting a panel but that doesn’t really do anything to stop the problem because the problem is usually at the institutional level (or at least some aspects are). Basically, the panels tell women how they need to deal with problems without ever getting to the point that women can’t solve the problem without some fundamental changes.

  8. I’m a dude, so obviously no input on the female panel.

    But I went to the minorities version of this several times as a student and there was likewise a lot of condescending, stern advice given out by the panel, lots of boring generic advice, and few tender hearted moments.

    I agree that good advice is best had in 1:1 meetings after rapport has been built. I’m not ready to say those panels were worthless, but they need heavy reformatting.

  9. The fact that you make assumptions about what the crowd is thinking (personal stories “embarrass” the audience and panelists) reminds me of a pervasive female behavior. Caring too much about what others think. Being too self-conscious to express yourself. So what if you share a personal anecdote that makes some people’s hair stand on end? I can think of some stories from your blog that have entertained and enlightened me. So what if everyone is embarrassed? Maybe you think that, but every time I have heard an overshare at a conference, one side of me feels a little icked out, but another side of me is a judgment free zone, and I would guess that if I feel that way, others do too. Really, these panels could benefit from direct, personal stories. So long as it does not devolve into a self-indulgent airing of complaints, which I have seen and is decidedly unpleasant.

  10. Agreed – I found them useful as a senior undergrad and 1st year grad student, and now they’re 90% useless (as a senior postdoc). I still go, since there are those nuggets of usefulness, but mostly just to meet other young female scientists so I can build a network of peers. Besides the complaints above, which definitely ring true, the other thing I find frustrating is how dated the senior panelists’ advice can be. I’ve found sexism to be a lot more subtle these days (lucky me I guess, since that’s certainly not true for everyone) so a lot of the time when you ask about particular scenarios, you get brushed off because it’s not as bad as they had it… which obviously not helpful at all.

  11. I’ve found exactly 2 of these things useful. Both were small group mentor-mentee lunch things at conferences, both featured women 10-15 years older than me who spoke with incredible candor about their experiences and gave very specific examples and advice. While these events are useless 90% of the time, these two lunches were so helpful that I continue to attend despite the low overall usefulness rate.

    And I agree, many of these panels seem to exist to blame women for issues related to women in science. I’ve largely stopped going to large panels because of this issue, and the focus on homemaking (hire a nanny! order takeout! get a housekeeper! how dare you point out that this is financially impossible on your salary. you should have negotiated better. come to our next panel on this topic)

  12. I did not find these panels useful when I was a youngster, for the exact reasons that you state – I did not feel that any of it applied to me. Sexism? Please. It is the 21st century, is it not? Babies? Surely I’ll figure it out – if I weren’t a hard core multitasker that I am, I would not have gotten this far, right?

    A decade and a half later, I regret to report that I was wrong. Sexism is alive and well, and more insidious than ever. Having babies and getting work done was difficult, and I did hire a nanny. Having gone through the system, I have no useful advice to give. The problems are deep-rooted and no panel can help navigate through them. You just have to be better, or luckier, or have a powerful champion, and preferably all of the above. I do not consider that to be a useful advice, because you have very little control over those things.

    Sexism is no longer explicit. People usually do not dare suggest that men are better in general. But somehow, women never make it to the top of the hiring short lists, unless they are undeniably much better than all the men (or have a powerful champion, and preferably both). Tenure decisions are supposed to be objective evaluations of the work, but once again the bar constantly seems to be higher for women. Senior faculty consistently write more enthusiastic tenure letters for men. Xykademiqz wrote about it before, and my experience has been the same. This is true regardless of whether you have kids or not.

    If you can wait to have babies until after tenure, that would be helpful, but it is not always practical. Your tenure decision will still only evaluate your work, not taking into account the fact that you did the work despite the hormonal rollercoaster and time constraints of new motherhood. So you just have to be better (smarter, more savvy, better organized, better informed), or luckier (have an awesome grad student) than those that did not have such constraints, since you will be compared to the best (constraints or not). And it will again help to have a powerful champion who knows and respects your work.

    On the bright side, I do think that things are improving. Once there are enough women in the field and enough women on admissions/hiring/tenure committees, things will be better. Until then, we all just have to do what we can in our own little worlds: if you are a youngster, do not give up on a STEM career just because it’s more difficult for women or you want to have kids. If you are an oldie, do what you can to correct the bias and champion women. If you are on tenure track, you might want to skip the panel and finish that research paper instead.

  13. The most useful Women in Science panel I remember attending had a narrow focus: it was specifically about balancing family and work. It included couples and got into the details of how they handled specific situations, such as having both parents have jobs that involved significant travel. It was not academic-focused, though. It included a mix of industry and academic scientists. I was in the audience, listening. It was before I had kids. Some of the things they mentioned stuck with me and came back to me as I was navigating the early years of motherhood. (E.g., building a local support network even if you don’t have family nearby: the couple speaking to that were two Brits living in San Diego, and they had some good tips about how to set up mutual support with other parents from your day care.) I think part of the reason that panel succeeded was that the moderator steered the discussion well.

    I think you could do a useful discussion on other targeted topics: e.g., how to walk the tightrope. But I think I’d want a moderator well-versed in the research and panelists willing to talk about specific strategies that had and had not worked well for them. Creating that sort of panel is a lot more work than just inviting three or four mid-level women scientists that happen to be on hand and having a random grad student moderate. The latter type *might* turn out useful, but it would be down to luck.

    I sometimes wonder if one of the reason we make such so progress on gender equality is that each new generation has to be convinced that there is still a problem. I saw it a bit as a student, particularly since I came from a part of the country where people still said outright sexist things to your face if you were an ambitious young woman. I didn’t really grasp what my elders were telling me until I hit the wall myself, though. It really does get harder as you get more senior and are seen as more of a threat/competition.

  14. In terms of my own career, I used an abudance of babysitters in addition to regular daycare to raise my 2 children–which became even more important after my husband left when they were young. It was insanely expensive of course but in terms of tradeoffs the economics were simple and very easy to justify–I had no other means of support. Fortunately now in my mid-fifties I’m blessed to have a tenured faculty position, and I can easily pay for my childrens’ college and support myself, and even retirement is feasible.

    I feel very lucky. I have friends my age who worked just as hard throughout their lives but at positions where they chose to give up career advancement, pay, and stability for a hoped-for tradeoff of more time to focus on their families (ie they chose permanent postdoc type positions, part-time labwork positions, or technician positions despite having a PhD). Unfortunately, if you do this there is no guarantee that you will actually get the desired tradeoff in the end. Current funding problems mean that most labs can’t afford to hire them anymore so they are being forced to retire, but they don’t have pensions. Some also have husbands who have left them or died, which puts them in a really bad position.

    I think overall it’s a myth that women have lots of choices open to them- most of us are not independently wealthy. We can expect to work hard for a living most of our lives, and to have to support our families no matter what we do. Making a choice that will limit your future career options, pay, retirement, etc should not be based on a temporary time or spending crunch such as the intense few years before your kids start kindergarden. Daycare is indeed expensive but it only lasts a few years, whereas your career will last 30 + years.

  15. I mostly agree with everything you’ve written. As a computer scientist turned ecologist, I really feel for my sister-colleagues in very male-dominated fields. It sucks. Things are *way* better in fields like ecology, where there are enough other women that you can easily find role models and informal advisors among women a career step above you. I had baby #1 in grad school and baby #2 as a postdoc, and while it certainly wasn’t easy, there is no way I’d still be in academia if I had still been a computer scientist and not had the support of so many of my colleagues and advisors — both men and women.

    My one quibble is with “Often, they don’t believe that the issues of bias will apply to them and are largely convinced we live in a post-sexist society. In contrast, no midcareer or senior woman in STEM thinks this.” I have come across a number of midcareer and senior women in STEM (across different fields) who believe that they have never experienced any sort of bias and are puzzled by why there are even discussions about women in science. I think the academic culture selects for people who are a bit blind to what’s going on around them. And that applies to both younger and older scientists.

  16. I’ve enjoyed listening to some “This is how it worked for us” discussions, especially ones from science couples. It at least provides reassurance that other people didn’t have it all figured out, and at some of the possible accommodations that can be made. On the other hand, I’ve also heard some truly scary advice, like “Don’t trust your partner – you’re going to get loaded down with all the work anyway.”

  17. I also found these panels quite useful when I was first approaching independence. They were a huge eye opener for me in terms of the issues that I might face and they did strip me of the naive assumption that it didn’t matter at all whether I was a woman or not (as had been my impression while I was a PhD student and young postdoc in a mostly all male environment – I always felt like one of the guys). As I was heading towards becoming a PI (including 1-2 stressful years on the job market before securing a TT position) women-in-science panels helped increase my awareness (leading me to then look for blogs etc.).
    Now, it feels like they only touch upon some obvious issues, highlight how oblivious some of the men still are and they also make me want to get up and scream: but there is so much more! It is not just about having/raising kids! It’s like they are Women In Science 101, whereas at this point in my career/life I am ready to take the more advanced class.

    Perhaps that is the way to look at them (and the same holds for panels on many other subjects – there is never time to really go in-depth into specific aspects or experiences): they open your eyes and unfold the landscape (useful for when you are a newcomer and orienting yourself at the next steps in your journey), but if you want to go in-depth you need focused discussions and specific case studies (long reads and blogposts and coaches to instruct you on how to navigate the local murky waters).

  18. We recently held at Women in Science panel at my university. It was organized by students and it was mostly the women within our faculty speaking (a mix of older women, and younger). As a first effort here it was very useful for the following reasons:

    1. one part of my university is almost excursively male (it’s a former engineering school)
    2. the women had different backgrounds, goals and life experiences and these came across, including issues such as fieldwork in regions dangerous for women, work-life balance as a single mother, work-life balance when you’re responsible for caring for parents.)
    3. There are many men within our program who weren’t aware of this as an issue. One PI walked out, surprised and reflective, wondering if he had done right by the women he advised.
    4. having the mix of women from retired, to senior, to new faculty helped us to piece together how the struggles for equality are changing over time. It was important to see that progress has been made, but there is still work to be done.

    Because this was new for us, it was helpful. To put the experience on repeat, would not be. We’ve not followed up, in part, I suspect because there isn’t a clear next step.

  19. Thank you for writing this!

    As a woman with no children, and no plans to have children, the work-life balance discussions leave me feeling like I don’t have a right to strive for any work-life balance if I don’t have kids. But for the women who have or want to have children, those conversations are absolutely necessary and they need a home. But when the women-in-science panels focus on this they lose their relevance to me and I’m reluctant to attend them for that reason.

    I find blog posts, particularly the honest, anonymous ones at Tenure, She Wrote, are more helpful to me than panels, because I can seek out the ones that are most relevant to me.

  20. I agree with Tannis. What’s more, every time the discussion is mainly focussed on kids/families I feel like a complete and utter failure because all by myself I also find this whole TT business hard to tackle. And that’s just me I have to take care of.

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