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Swoboda, Marian J.; Roberts, Audrey J. / Wisconsin women, graduate school, and the professions
(1980)

Droste, Jean
Chapter 1: Vocational aspirations and job realities: a look at some women receiving Ph. D.'s prior to 1926,   pp. 1-10


Page 5


cal accident to influence unduly the matter of professional advancement."34
Many of these women who received their doctorates from Wisconsin also
reported instances of job discrimination. Mrs. Sara Hawk felt that a woman
could not earn as much as a man.35 Mrs. Victor Albjerg reported that women
were paid less than men. She also said that many men teachers in the twen-
ties and thirties did not have their doctorates and sometimes resented a
woman colleague who did. Albjerg's major professor, Carl Russell Fish, had
shown her a letter from a professor at a western state university to whom
he
had written recommending Albjerg for a position. The professor replied that
he would rather have a second-rate man than a first-rate woman.36 Dr.
Charlotte Elliott reported that Dr. E. F. Smith had asked her to join his
laboratory at the United States Department of Agriculture, but the bureau
was
not in favor of high salaries for women. Once Elliott accepted the position
at
the United States Department of Agriculture she believed that she was at
a
promotional disadvantage solely because she was a woman.37 If she had been
a man, Dr. Eloise Gerry believed she would have received promotions that
were denied to her because she was a woman.38 Mrs. Glenn Turner said that
everywhere she worked she received less pay than men in similar jobs.39 Dr.
Ella May Martin also reported salary differences and promotional disadvan-
tages between men and women teachers.40
Although the great majority of the Wisconsin women Ph.D.'s secured
positions in the academic profession, even those who remained unmarried and
had lifelong careers failed to advance up the rungs of the university promo-
tional ladder. Those who did achieve the rank of full professor did so in
small
coeducational colleges, women's colleges, or at small state-supported uni-
versities. Women scholars were often cut off from association with men schol-
ars because they were clustered in these smaller, less prestigious schools.
In
1919 Martha Edwards, who was then teaching at Lake Erie College for Wom-
en, expressed her frustrations to Carl Fish. "At least you must find
some oc-
casion to talk with either sex which is more than I can boast. Three years
of
concentrated feminine companionship is like to be the ruin of my disposition.
That is one of the reasons I am looking forward to six months in Madison
with genuine anticipation. It will give me an opportunity to hear once more
what intelligent and thinking men have been doing while I have been paddling
my boat in this quiet backwater.''41
The problems that women faced in hiring and promotion were clearly sex
related. At the beginning of the century college presidents were wary of
re-
ceiving complaints that colleges, like the public schools, were becoming
feminized. To avoid such criticism many believed that women should not be
hired on university or college staffs.42 In addition, many universities,
including
the University of Wisconsin, did not wish to employ married women.43 A
common assumption was that a woman must sacrifice a family life in order
to
achieve individual creativity. The prejudice against married women did not
affect too many of the women Ph.D.'s however, because a majority of them
were single.
Perhaps the greatest single reason given for women's lack of promotion,
at least on the university level, was that women did not publish as much
as
men. The Hutchinson study and a study done of Radcliffe Ph.D.'s showed that
women's publication rate was lower than men's.44 It is important to note
that
the statistics regarding the publication records of women Ph.D.'s are mislead-
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