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In yoga class a few days ago, the teacher, a woman, began the class by saying that originally, yoga was a practice that only men were allowed to participate in. The young women in the class seemed baffled, especially a teenager whose father, the only man in the class, went on to ask if anyone in the group knew where the word "hysteria" came from. The teacher did, I did, but no one else seemed to and the young women in the class seemed a bit shocked when he explained. Their knowledge of how women were historically oppressed is extremely limited and we can argue whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. But the fact remains, those young women in the yoga class couldn't have been there less than a century ago. Nor could they have gone to college, played sports or been liberated from societal constraints in a number of ways.

Read the rest, including some sadly predicatable comments, at Huffington Post Culture.

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Women in Science

Right on Lisa Solod: I agree with your message. My colleague at the University of Vermont, Madeleine Kunin, former Governor of Vermont and Ambssador to Switzerland, just published a book addressing ways in which women can be helped in the workplace:

The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family by Madeleine Kunin (Apr 23, 2012)

She speaks of longer parental leaves, more childcare opportunities, more flexibile work hours, all of which we should support. One problem, however, is that the workplace has become more and more competitive, especially in my field. I, like you, dreamed of suceeding in a male dominated profession when a mere child of eight, in 1933, only to be told girls should not go there. As chronicled in my memoir "Love, Sex and Mushrooms: Adventures of a Woman in Science", I did go there but by a hard and convoluted path that simply would not work these days. It would not work because promotion and sucess in academic science depends not only upon teaching and administrative duties but number of grants and publications. If one takes time out to bear children and be a parent, one can really never catch up with the competiters who stay in there. Is there any solution?