What caused the decline in women's share of the faculty?
O'Neale was then hired in Household Art, and her appointment was followed by those of two other Anthropology PhDs, Anna Gayton and Ruth Boyer. Together they brought a new academic bona fides to the program. The students were held to a higher level of technical, ethnographic, and historical knowledge, and at the same time, they needed to keep aesthetic issues in mind. By 1939, the academic emphasis had changed so much that the department's names—"Home Economics, Household Art"—seemed outdated and misleading. O'Neale and her colleagues wanted to recruit students of both sexes with large ambitions and training in architecture, anthropology, art practice, and art history, so they asked that the name be changed. Unlike Household Science's request for a name change, though, theirs was successful: Household Art became Decorative Arts in 1939. The name change also helped recruit male faculty: Winfield Scott Wellington (1897–1979), the director of the University Art Museum, was the first man to join the department (Jacknis, 184-88).
The brilliant mathematician Julia Robinson (BA '40, MA '41, PhD '48) was ineligible for a professorial position in Mathematics at Berkeley in the postwar years because she was married to Professor Raphael Robinson. As we pointed out in an earlier essay, she did research in Berkeley's Statistical Laboratory under Jerzy Neyman during the war and for some years thereafter. In the postwar years, she was occasionally invited to teach in the Math department, holding the title of Lecturer, and she taught part-time in other programs as well. Despite the institutional neglect, she spent the postwar years seeking answers to some of the most difficult questions in mathematicsconcerning "algorithmic solvability and unsolvability of mathematical problems". In particular she was noted "for her part in the negative solution of Hilbert’s 'Tenth Problem'" (Feferman, 3, 20-22). Despite her important breakthroughs and the university's abandonment of the nepotism rule, the Math department showed no immediate sign of any interest in hiring her even after her husband retired in 1973. Indeed, they identified her simply as “Professor Robinson’s wife” in 1976 when the university press office called them for information after her election to the National Academy of Sciences (Reid, 1490). Once they realized that they had a famous person in their midst—the first female mathematician to be elected to the NAS—the department finally offered Julia Robinson a professorship. In 1982 she was elected the first female president of the American Mathematical Society.
The renowned immunologist Marian Koshland also experienced spousal exclusion during a crucial stage of her career prior to arriving at Berkeley, and yet (she later explained) she turned it into a research opportunity. Marian and her husband Daniel Koshland received their doctorates at the University of Chicago, did post-doctoral work at Harvard, and then went on to research positions at Brookhaven National Laboratory (Long Island). However, when they arrived at Brookhaven, the department head balked at employing Marian, stating flatly “We are not going to have the wife of anybody” (Guyer, 9). Since the couple had four young children at the time, Marian Koshland considered quitting science altogether. Her husband, though, convinced her that she could make a creative adaptation to her joblessness by "undertaking high-risk projects that a tenure-track scientist could less afford to do” (1996). She traded lab space and a technician for editing Brookhaven's biology symposia papers, and was able to do groundbreaking work in immunology as a part-time researcher. By the time the Koshlands came to Berkeley in 1965, Marian as researcher and Daniel as a professor, the importance of her work was widely acknowledged. In 1970, when her children were grown and the anti-nepotism rule was set aside, she accepted a professorial appointment and went on to serve as Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology from 1982 to 1989 ("Marian Elliott Koshland"). Koshland often said that even if she had not been excluded, she might have preferred a research position without professorial responsibilities while her children were young, and she used her experience to advocate for greater flexibility in academic work (Koshland, xiii).
These examples—and many more that could be adduced—suggest that the decline in the percentage of women on the faculty had many causes: male skepticism, a cultural atmosphere that weakened women's will to succeed, and the dismantling of separate women's programs were all to blame. There was as well, though, systematic discrimination that kept women in jobs for which they were clearly overqualified. The wonder is that so many women achieved so much for academic institutions that seem to have been intent on undervaluing them.
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