One more excerpt from the same book by Margaret Rossiter.
I'm putting this here because it so eerily reflects things I have blogged about (30+ years since the 1970s when supposedly much progress was made- at least briefly).
My impression from reading this book is that there was a mini-revolution from 1968-1972, but then the momentum was lost: we're essentially moving forward now at a lazy snail's pace, with no major changes from what it was then.
I say this because I found myself writing still true now! still true now! still true now! over and over in the margins of this book, but especially this page. It touches on three major points I've raised on this blog, all of which were really contentious, namely
(a) Deniers, both male and female, who don't believe there is a problem or that anything needs to be actively done about it
(b) SuperWomen who are not actually useful as role models, and who pull up the ladder behind them as they go
(c) That foreign-born women scientists are treated differently from American women scientists, and have had more success not just abroad but also in the US
from page 381 (essentially the last page of the book):
"But if consciousness was running high and the outpouring of outrage was epidemic in some circles, such feelings were far from universal. Many eminent scientists, women as well as men, did not necessarily agree that there was a problem and wondered what all the fuss was about.
Having adjusted to it all years before and believing staunchly in individual virtues such as hard work, they were either oblivious to the problem or, when it was brought to their attention, adamant that it did not exist.
They were so much a part of the "system" that had treated them comparatively well that it was difficult for them, as it had been earlier for Jessie Bernard, to see a pattern and think of employers and colleagues, even sexist ones, as villains.
Often foreign-born, these faculty women clung to an individualistic view that all that mattered was doing very good work and lots of it; one's sex and marital status were irrelevant. By dint of a lifetime of hard work, considerable self-sacrifice, and perhaps a move to the United States, they had "made it", and they did not wish to criticize American institutions that had made their success possible. Their successful work and high rank on the faculty had blinded them to other views; instead they seemed proof that if, just if, a woman was good enough, she too would be promoted to the highest levels.
Their small numbers could be seen as indicators that a few women offered this successful combination rather than evidence that stronger credentials might be required for women than for men.
For example, German immigrant and Nobel laureate Maria Goeppart Mayer of the University of California at San Diego could not understand why the American Physical Society had created a committee on women in April 1971 or why it had put her on it: she had no interest or expertise in the area.
Similarly, Birgit Vennesland, Norwegian-born and long a full professor of physiology and biochemistry at the University of Chicago, ended her autobiographical statement for her fellow physiologists in the early 1970s with some angry remarks about the younger women who now expected to be put on university faculties just because they felt as qualified as men; for women to press to0 hard in this direction would, she felt sure, lower the quality of the faculty and thus in time endanger the strength of the nation. Academia should hold onto its proven ways and not give in to the merely political pressure of diversifying the faculty. "