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Can a woman be an academic?

 
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amother




OP


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 6:35 pm
Hi all. I hope to be a University professor one day. In the secular world, I am received strangely—they find it abnormal that I would be the academic and not my husband if I am religious (I think their perspective is ignorant and I’m not too confused by it). I am more concerned with what other Orthodox people may think. When I finish my degree, I will only be looking for jobs near large Orthodox communities. Obviously I wouldn’t do this job if I thought it would impede my ability to be a mother in a large family (G’d willing) but...I don’t know how others will think.
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Ravenclaw




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 6:47 pm
Why not?
If someone thinks it is weird, then they too are ignorant.
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sequoia




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 6:49 pm
Yes
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amother




Forestgreen


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 6:49 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Hi all. I hope to be a University professor one day. In the secular world, I am received strangely—they find it abnormal that I would be the academic and not my husband if I am religious (I think their perspective is ignorant and I’m not too confused by it). I am more concerned with what other Orthodox people may think. When I finish my degree, I will only be looking for jobs near large Orthodox communities. Obviously I wouldn’t do this job if I thought it would impede my ability to be a mother in a large family (G’d willing) but...I don’t know how others will think.


I’m an academic. If you are talking about tenure track - you should know the hours are long and the job market is extremely limited - you will need to be flexible with location.
On the upside, your hours can be flexible. But that may depend on your department. And your level of efficiency.
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amother




Mauve


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 6:58 pm
I know more than one frum female college professor, teaching in “regular” universities, not necessarily just frum colleges and certainly not those diploma mills for post-seminary girls. Some are married to rabbanim who are “just” rabbanim, some to rabbanim who are also college professors, some to men in other fields. And all the ones I know are close to 70 if not older and had to fight to get where they are. You sound young and I’m shocked that in this day and age you should even have this question.
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zaq




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 7:01 pm
Who cares what “others” will think? It’s your life and your dream and you get only one. Don’t ditch it because of what you think others will think. You can be sure they’re not hamstringing themselves because of what YOU will think.
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Sandrine




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 7:11 pm
Short answer- yes absolutely a frum woman can be an academic! I am MO and a tenured professor at a regular (secular) university and although as another ima said, the hours are long and demanding, the dedication and love and discipline that one brings to Torah study is the same that will benefit one’s job.
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amother




Chartreuse


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 7:31 pm
As others have said, the tough part is getting a tenured position. This may depend on your field, and you often have to be flexible about where you live. Talk to your husband about this possibility--are you prepared to move for job opportunities? Does his career offer that flexibility?
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Laiya




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 7:32 pm
I think it is likely there will be people who raise eyebrows and try to discourage you when they hear your plans, or think it's strange.

*BUT*, after you've I"H achieved your goals, you will have those same peoples' respect and admiration.
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lavenderchimes




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 9:03 pm
Go for it! Blow people's minds!
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 9:08 pm
zaq wrote:
Who cares what “others” will think? It’s your life and your dream and you get only one.


THIS!
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amother




Ivory


Post  Mon, Oct 07 2019, 9:39 pm
Forget what other people think. Doesn't matter.

However, be forewarned: the flexibility that comes with tenure takes a loooooong time to achieve (if ever) and if you're going to restrict yourself to only well-established Orthodox communities, it's going to be even more difficult than it is to begin with.

Personally, I abandoned academia for this reason. I wasn't interested in chasing down jobs in yehuppitzville and also felt it wouldn't be fair to make my family move to who knows where every few years. Also, the hours you have to put in during the early years are really difficult if you have little kids (people do it, but not many. There's a reason most academics start their families quite late). Then again, I personally believe this is more of a frum issue than a woman issue (a frum man would also have to consider the challenge of moving his family a lot, and possibly to a very remote location with no frum community).

I'm not saying don't do it. Just giving a realistic picture of the particular challenges involved. Go in with your eyes open. You husband has to really be on board and prepared for what this entails. And it's a good idea to have a backup plan for if it doesn't work out.
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amother




cornflower


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 12:32 am
One more voice in the chorus here.
Do what you want to do.
If you can find a full-time job, it's a wonderful life style.
Whether you get a job in academia depends on your field and your flexibility. Having a degree isn't enough - there's a glut of PhDs in most fields.
Getting a tenure track position can be very tough, especially if you are geographically limited. I dropped out of academia because my husband's job was in a city with few options, and adjunct work just covered the cost of babysitting.
Go in with your eyes open, but don't be afraid to pursue the dream.
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amother




Seafoam


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 1:31 am
My mother was a psychology professor years ago in college.
Right now I have a very frum/yeshivish neighbor who is a college math professor.
To me it's normal.
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Ruchel




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 10:52 am
If anything by the charedi it' s more often the wife
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amother




Royalblue


Post  Tue, Oct 08 2019, 5:52 pm
My mother was a proffesor. I have a doctorate degree, but I am not in academia at the moment. But I have a full time job that requires my degree.
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amother




Oak


Post  Wed, Oct 09 2019, 6:26 pm
Both my parents are (semi retired) academics, but my father is only part time. My mother is a very frum, sheital wearing woman with many children. (she started having children at a fairly young age) I don't think her hours were so long, and she was able to work some days from home, but she did have a long commute which made her days longer.

Nowadays I understand from academic friends it is much harder to get a tenured position and the so called "part time" adjunct positions on offer pay very little. Many people I know have had to move to other cities or countries to get jobs in their field.

On the plus side, there is usually no teaching during the long summer vacation and perhaps during other school vacations as well. I don't think my mother ever had classes during pesach although she probably missed a lot of days in Tishrei. So in a way its a great job for a mother.
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penguin




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 09 2019, 9:19 pm
Try writing to the Bar Ilan professor of math who writes novels as Rachel Pomerantz. Her name escapes me at the moment. Ah, but of course I can google: She's now the dean!
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sequoia




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 09 2019, 9:21 pm
penguin wrote:
Try writing to the Bar Ilan professor of math who writes novels as Rachel Pomerantz. Her name escapes me at the moment. Ah, but of course I can google: She's now the dean!


Not to mention another Bar Ilan professor who is somewhat notorious on this website Wink
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urban gypsy




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 09 2019, 9:35 pm
amother [ Mauve ] wrote:
You sound young and I’m shocked that in this day and age you should even have this question.


Same. The tone of OP is a bit odd. It’s sort of weird to say “I want to be a professor when I grow up.” Usually people get interested in an area of study, publish and/or do research and professorship is a natural progression from there. It’s not like being a teacher.

OP, what are you thinking of studying?
What year of your degree are you in?
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