Goeppert-Mayer and her husband Joseph Mayer, a physical chemist, emigrated to the US in the 1930s, where Mayer found a professorship at Johns Hopkins University. The university refused to hire a woman during the Depression—as family breadwinners, it was thought, men needed jobs more—and so Goeppert-Mayer worked unpaid from an unused office on campus, producing 10 papers and one textbook without collecting a paycheck. She did the same thing when Mayer moved to Columbia University.
Some might argue that the law schools’ guidelines simply codify what have been long unspoken rules about how both men and women should appear in a professional setting. However, the ways in which these standards are applied are problematic, particularly when considering the double standard the guidelines seem to reinforce. For example, men who wear the top buttons undone on their shirts lose two points, but women who arrive in a similar state lose up to three points “if bra shows.” And the oddly detailed prohibition on “kinky boots” for women—which the guide describes as those featuring “stiletto heels, buckles, straps etc.”—seems to say more about the preferences of the individual who wrote the guidelines than what’s professional.
In a recent paper in the journal PNAS written on behalf of a working group of mothers in science, Calisi outlined steps to make conferences more accessible to working moms. Contracting with one of the many companies that offer on-site childcare during such events, as many major academic and professional conferences already do, is an excellent start. Extending conference scholarships or subsidies to cover childcare costs as a travel expense is another. In an email to Quartz At Work, Calisi praised the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which offers childcare plus ample space at its annual meeting for nursing, pumping, and storing breastmilk.