Priority for Mothers in Selection.

Below I have copied an article my father wrote in “De Psycholoog” 21 years ago. The article is in Dutch, but has an English summary at the end. Unfortunately, not much seems to have changed in the intervening 21 years, making this still a good suggestion.

Summary: On the basis of plausible assumptions fed into the general formula for multiple regression, motherhood receives a positive weight in predicting future productivity. Psychometrically, this result constitutes a ‘reverse suppressor effect’ as opposed to the regular suppressor effect in which a background variable receives a negative weight. Furthermore, priority for mothers (and others who have been subject to a temporary natural handicap, for example, refugees) is not objectionable, as the handicap is a consequence of a human right documented in the Universal Declaration. It follows that priority for mothers (and refugees) is both rational and legitimate.

A recent article in the UK describes the situation at the RUG faculty of science and engineering. While issues probably exist in other faculties as well, the situation in the sciences seems most severe. As a scientist and mom myself, I can only hope that someday websites such as this one seem terribly archaic, but for now, I fear obsolesense is far in the future. Let’s hope my daughters will not refer to this post 20 years from now, showing how not much has changed.