Wouldn’t you know it, today’s NYT addresses the questions raised by Louise Story’s piece (the madness had to stop somewhere). If this doesn’t sound familiar, see this for background.
The author herself gives a rundown of her methodologies, background reading, and sample group surveyed. However it still doesn’t explain the lack of representation by women who planned on pursuing careers, doesn’t address the charge that the questionnaire was loaded with leading questions (Story just says that they were open-ended and not “yes” or no”), and doesn’t account for the utter lack of passion and/or drive for a specific career goal evinced by respondents (surely young women at Yale are brimming with fire and ambition to excel). In fact, Story’s piece only describes the process of data collection, not data selection. That doesn’t change no matter how many girls she interviewed.
I don’t know; maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m grumpy. Or dopey (I’m definitely sleepy). Read it yourself and, like the Geraldo nudge/not-a-nudge, decide for yourself. Then tell me. Use the anonymous tip box; I love that.
Update: I’ve done a little surfing, and while I am definitely dopey, I stand by the comments above. One disturbing element of Story’s original piece that I let slide was the implicit criticism of working mothers; this astute blogger reminds me of this paragraph:
The bias that the want-to-be stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) express toward children of working mothers is palpable. “I’ve seen the difference between kids who did have their mother stay at home and kids who didn’t, and it’s kind of like an obvious difference when you look at it,” said Ms. Abugo, whose mother, a nurse, stayed home until Ms. Abugo was in first grade.” Statements like that devalue everyone who grew up with a working mother by implying there’s something wrong with us.
I repeat, no amount of methodological self back-patting can explain away that kind of bias. Not on the front page of the NYT. Read more of her comments here; they’re wise. Ditto these (including the comments).
Background: Reporting on the Aspirations of Young Women [NYT]
Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood [NYT]
Jack Shafer: I and II [Slate]
A note on sources; or, the story behind the Story [FishbowlNY]
The NYT: Opting Back in to the Opt-Out Revolution [FishbowlNY]