Today I’m feeling grateful to TechCrunch for reminding that my job does matter. In my first year seminar this semester we have been talking a lot about critical thinking and how anecdotes do not equal evidence. This is a lesson that Penelope Trunk evidently was never taught based on the reasoning (or lack thereof really) displayed in her post “Women Don’t Run to Startups Because They’d Rather Have Children” (and yes, you read that correctly — a major technology blog actually did publish a post with that headline in 2010. Sigh.) According to Trunk:
“Startups move at break-neck pace, under a lot of pressure to succeed bigger and faster than any normal company. And women don’t want to give up their personal life in exchange for the chance to be the next Google. Or even the next Feedburner.”
From where does Trunk derive the evidence for this assertion? From the women she knows — well, there you have it, then — Penelope Trunk does not know women who would rather run a startup than have children or who are capable to combining both. Therefore, such women do not exist. I am glad to know that my students who are in their first year of college can already construct a better argument than Ms. Trunk.
Teaching is, of course, an addition to my day job, which is to the direct the UMKC Women’s Center. I’m going to keep this article handy to give to the next person who asks why we still need a Women’s Center when women have “achieved equality.”