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Study Finds Women in Academia Do More Unpaid "Service" Work

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In today’s unsurprising news, a new study has found that women in academia perform more unpaid labor than men. Researchers writing in the journal Research in Higher Education say female professors are more likely—and more expected—to give their time to students, while their better-compensated male colleagues use those same hours to publish, conduct research, and advance their careers.

Education experts culled data from the 2014 Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), which asked nearly 19,000 faculty members at 143 colleges about their interactions with their students. They also dug into detailed faculty activity reports at two institutions.

The results showed a significant difference in the way academic men and women spent their time. Female respondents to the FSSE spent an average of 30 minutes more per week on service tasks like advising students, serving on committees, and leading extracurricular activities. Even among full professors, women devoted significantly more time to service activities than their male counterparts. This was true even after the researchers controlled for variables like race, academic department, and university.

The paper’s authors couldn’t pinpoint the root cause (or causes) of this disparity, but there are plenty of theories. Journalism professor Amy Quinn of Rowan University says gender stereotypes may have something to do with it. “[Women are] the ones students usually talk to about their personal crises,” she told Newsweek. “They tend to come to the women for the ‘mom things.’”

The gender breakdown is likely not the result of any conscious decisions, but rather of differing cultural expectations and career opportunities. “Women are less conditioned to saying no to things,” Sara Thompson of the University of Maryland said in Newsweek, “and having to work harder than men for the same opportunities since they’re sometimes seen as starting at a lower point.”

The unfortunate reality is that saying “yes” to mentoring students means saying “no” to something else that may be more likely to lead to tenure or a higher salary. This phenomenon is, of course, not unique to academia, but can be seen across many major career fields, from finance to medicine.

On average, women are paid less than men for the same work. They’re also less likely to get high-paying jobs or work in more financially lucrative fields.

But the operative word there is “average.” When the numbers are broken out to focus on women of color, overweight women, and LGBT people, the inequalities are even greater.

Paper author Cassandra M. Guarino of UC-Riverside said recognizing the issue is a good first step.

“There’s no woman who loves [unpaid labor] more than men,” she told Inside Higher Ed. “But until we see evidence and we can really help women say no, it’s just going to keep happening.”

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holidays
Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists
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We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

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Pop Culture
The Princess Ride: Here's What a Princess Bride Theme Park Attraction Might Look Like
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Do you fight the urge to say “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya” when introducing yourself? Have you spent the past 30 years mispronouncing the word “marriage”? If so, you may be a diehard fan of The Princess Bride. The cult film (and the book on which it’s based) has inspired board games, merchandise, and countless pop culture references. Now, two theme park designers from Universal have conceived the inconceivable. As Nerdist reports, Jon Plsek and Olivia West have designed the plans for a hypothetical attraction called “The Princess Ride.

Their idea follows the classic river boat ride structure and adds highlights from the movie around each corner. After watching Buttercup and Wesley’s love story unfold, riders are taken past the Cliffs of Insanity, through the Fire Swamp, and into the Pit of Despair. The climax unfolds at Prince Humperdinck’s castle and leads up to the two protagonists riding off into the sunset. The last thing the passengers see is Miracle Max and Valerie waving goodbye saying, “Hope ya had fun stormin’ the castle!”

The ride’s designers make a living turning stories into thrilling attractions. Plsek works as a concept artist for Universal Creative, the group behind Universal’s theme parks, and West works there as a concept writer. While The Princess Ride was just a fun side project for the pair, it isn’t hard to imagine their ride bringing Princess Bride fans to the parks in real life.

For more of Jon Plesk’s concept rides inspired by classics like Dr. Strangelove (1964) and National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), check out his website.

[h/t Nerdist]

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