Hard not to notice several of my male peers getting away with, or even kudos for, stuff that is considered immature or unprofessional if I do it.
Example: a friend who is working on a manuscript and about to submit to a C/N/S journal.
Got the green light to submit, but hasn't yet even formatted the figures and has been working from a draft with everything as Powerpoint slides.
My advisor won't even discuss figures with me, much less a draft of a paper, until it looks like a paper.
I've tried before to get feedback on Powerpoint slides, so as to avoid re-making figures over and over and over, but it's always treated like I'm showing preliminary data instead of something I've actually reproduced several times.
If I reformat and label everything, I might be lucky enough to schedule a meeting.
This has been true for the last several types of things like this I've done, including grant applications, etc. with different advisors.
Interesting to me that appearance seems to matter maybe even more than substance sometimes, but it depends on whose substance we're talking about.
Meanwhile I am trying to forget that I know about two other male postdocs who are getting or about to get their papers published in C/N/S journals.
In one case, the postdoc was born in another country and has been in the US about 10 years. His English skills are weak, so the PI wrote all the text and had a huge influence on how the paper came together (what went in the figures, designing the model to interpret the data, etc.).
In the other case, the postdoc did everything himself. The PI is making phone calls on his behalf to make sure that when they address the reviews on the paper, the editor will accept it.
I've never had anyone do either of those things for me. I'm pretty sure I won't ever.
It's also hard not to notice that one of my other female postdoc friends has had a draft of a manuscript ready for a year, and her advisor keeps changing the plans.
I can't help thinking this is all the damned-if-you-do-or-don't scenario as usual.
I've noticed that many PIs seem to exploit their female postdocs more, want to get as much out of us as possible, but always with their own gain in mind and not our career success.
If we try to tell them what we think we need in order to succeed, we're being bitchy, confrontational, disagreeable, or 'hard to work with.'
And if we don't, we're screwed. Our papers get delayed, sometimes by years, and when they're finally published it's in 2nd-tier (or lower) journals.
Meanwhile the male postdocs get patted on the head, promoted, and encouraged when they're not performing to the same level. They aren't asked to perform at a higher level, and they aren't even sure they want careers in academia.
I have another friend who is reluctantly trying to get a paper accepted at a C/N/S journal because the PI wants him to.
This same PI is constantly complaining that her female postdocs aren't motivated enough, or are lazy, or aren't sure what they want to do with their careers.
But she has willfully and continually ignored my friend telling her he's not sure he wants to stay in academic science. When he says this, she says "Oh you don't mean that."
She did the same thing to a previous male postdoc who ended up going to industry.
Despite all the warning signs, she was shocked when she found out, and still hasn't bothered to process what it meant.
Hypothesis 1: If you're a male postdoc and you aren't sure you want a career in academia, or the PI thinks you're somehow deficient, you get more help and promotion.
Hypothesis 2: If you're a female postdoc, chances are good that your PI will delay submitting your papers longer, and when they're published they'll be in a slightly lower tier journal.
And all the studies on pipelines are asking why women don't seem to publish as much or as high impact as men do?
Anybody notice that at the postdoc level, this is determined more by the PI than by the postdoc?