The rarity of spouses like Vladimir Nabokov’s, who dedicated her life to supporting his career, may be hindering gender parity in literature.
Women writers can’t get ahead, because they don’t have a wife to help them out, says a story in the Atlantic. Vera Nabokov is the example the story uses of a woman who dedicated her life to her partner’s art. She edited Nabokov’s work – including the famous Lolita, sorted the bills, and ran the household.
There’s an element of truth to this argument: Writers are more productive if all they have to do is write. Certainly, I saw plenty of partnerships like this in academics. The men steadily ascended the academic ladder, publishing and doing research, while their wives kept the house and raised the family.
In a few rare cases, I met women whose male partners provided similar support. These women wrote and researched and went to conferences, and generally did all the things required for academic success, while their men stayed home, did the laundry, and got the kids to school on time.
Some great stuff in this article from The Atlantic about the differing career paths of men and women in the academic professions. In particular, married men progress significantly faster than married women. This matches my experience. As the article rightly concludes, the academic professions are still very much structured on the assumption that there is a stay-at-home wife in the background playing a supporting role. For women who are married to men with professional aspirations of their own, the career path is much less clear, frequently interrupted, and often ends altogether.
The Atlantic on Gender in Academics
What she said. Equal prize money for men and women is important and awesome. The trend in cyclocross is running in this direction, at least at the top level races. Mountain bike racing has also traditionally supported women athletes well. Road racing, with its chronically underfunded teams and minimal prize money for women, could learn a thing or two from the dirt disciplines when it comes to gender equity. There is just so much to love about beer, barricades, and equal prize money. Keep it up, cyclocross!