Science writer Margaret Wertheim writes about sexism in science. One of the many lines that lines struck me:
I think about all the young women now being forced out of science by harassment and ongoing inequities, and part of me begins to explode. Jahren ends her New York Times piece by telling us that ‘adorably dorky’ – the best student she’s ever had – is considering leaving the field. Two of the complainants against Marcy have left astronomy. What priceless treasures of human potential are being lost to science because men in positions of power are unzippering their libidinal urges?
It hadn’t occurred to me before, but one of the reasons this kind of bad behavior can continue is that that we live in an era when lots of “priceless treasures of human potential are being lost to science”– and scholarship of all kinds– for all kinds of reasons. For at least the last generation, thanks to the expansion of undergraduate education and overproduction of Ph.D.s, universities have turned themselves into places where brilliant humans are an infinite, disposable resource, not something to be nurtured and sustained.