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00:00:12 - Marion Namenwirth was born in 1939 in New York City. Her parents had emigrated from Germany three years earlier. She attended the Bronx High School of Science, a school with a competitive entrance exam. 00:01:32 - She explains that as a child she loved animals. In junior high school, she enjoyed her science and math classes. 00:02:48 - Because of their experience fleeing from Hitler’s persecution of Jews, MN’s parents placed a high priority on education and wanted MN to be able to support herself. They encouraged her to study medicine. 00:04:18 - MN explains that she began her undergraduate career at Cornell University, and then transferred to City College in New York. A year later she married a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, and moved to Minnesota to finish her undergraduate career. 00:06:21 - Despite MN’s interest in the humanities and social sciences, she never wavered in her intent to study biology. In the late 1950s, academe was expanding, and it appeared there would be many academic positions available. 00:09:19 - MN talks about attitudes toward women in science when she was growing up. Her mother was a role model as a dynamic and strong woman. Although there were instances when people discouraged her from studying science because of her gender, MN never doubted her decision to become a biologist. 00:14:05 - MN talks about her experiences at Cornell, City College and the University of Minnesota. During her senior year at the University of Minnesota, she took graduate courses in genetics and embryology that emphasized research. MN found research extremely appealing. 00:16:42 - When MN graduated, she and her husband spent two years in Europe. An important consideration when choosing a graduate school was that it have a good music school so that her husband could find a job there. She therefore chose Indiana University because it had excellent programs in both biology and music. 00:18:06 - MN’s original intention was to study with H.J. Muller, a Nobel laureate in genetics. He retired before she arrived, and she instead studied with geneticist Tracy Sonnenborn and experimental embryologist Robert Briggs. She explains aspects of their work that interested her. 00:20:19 - Approximately half the graduate students in genetics and embryonic development were women. There were few female faculty members in the sciences. 00:21:36 - MN recalls that professors in her department were willing to accept women as graduate students, but that subtle biases against women existed. She was asked whether she wanted to have children, and at the time she felt that seemed a perfectly reasonable question, although the men were having children and were not asked the same. 00:23:46 - For example, MN notes that faculty were more concerned about the viability of men’s academic careers than women’s, and therefore tended to assign women less promising research topics. In contrast to other faculty members, Briggs encouraged his students to choose their own topics, and therefore MN did not experience this problem herself. 00:25:55 - MN discusses the research she did for her dissertation on limb regeneration in salamanders. She researched the question of whether the cells engaged in regeneration could undergo change in cell type. There were several prominent women doing research in genetics and embryonic development, including Elizabeth Hay, Barbara McClintock, and Beatrice Mintz. Although these women were distinguished researchers, it was difficult for them to gain tenure-track positions at major universities. 00:31:04 - At the end of her graduate career, MN became interested in the molecular architecture of frog eggs. From 1969 to 1971 she held a postdoctoral position in biochemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle. She talks about what she learned in this position. 00:33:47 - When MN appeared on the job market in 1971, Congress was beginning to encourage universities to hire more women onto their faculties, and MN was inundated with job offers. Because of the women’s movement, a lot of attention had been focused on the lack of women faculty. 00:36:44 - Up until this time, MN had no involvement or interest in the women’s movement. She remembers first hearing of the National Organization of Women in about 1970. 00:37:24 - MN accepted an offer from UW because of the strength of its biological departments and its generous start-up research funds. 00:39:57 - MN talks about the situation of women in the sciences in 1971. There were very few women in tenure-track positions at the time. The zoology department had previously had a woman faculty member, Nellie Bilstad, who taught but did no research. There were a number of women in non tenure-track positions, such as instructors and senior scientists. Some of these women were later promoted to tenure-track positions. 00:43:38 - MN realized that she was coming into the faculty system when it was first opening to women, and expected many women to follow her. She notes that women did begin to enter the faculty system in larger numbers, although progress was not always smooth. 00:44:50 - MN discusses the university’s response to the federal legislation passed in 1972. Schools came under pressure to ensure that a certain proportion of newly hired assistant professors were women. In the late 1970s, the university began publishing statistics demonstrating what proportion of faculty at each rank were women. 00:48:04 - The rate of promotion of women into higher faculty ranks was extremely slow, and women remained concentrated in assistant professorships and non-tenure-track positions. MN attributes this slow rate of progress to subtle, often unconscious discrimination. Over time, people became aware that biased decisions might be unintentional. For example, the zoology department’s prior experience with a female faculty member was with Bilstad, who taught but did no research. 00:52:17 - MN gives other examples of how discrimination could be expressed in subtle ways. At tenure review hearings, candidates generally had a faculty member champion their case. But later during MN’s tenure review hearing, no one stepped forward to argue on her behalf. She suggests that it would have been embarrassing for a male faculty member to defend a woman’s case, and notes that because this practice was informal and not required by the departmental rules, no one was conscious that they had treate 00:54:40 - By the end of the 1970s, universities were beginning to realize they had to codify regulations to prevent these biases from affecting women’s chances at promotion. Departments had often assigned heavy teaching loads to women and then asked why they had not done enough research. 00:56:24 - MN talks about the women’s movement on campus. She attended a meeting of the Association of Faculty Women (AFW) and was impressed by the women she met from other departments. Members of the AFW agitated for the university to hire more women and talked about problems they faced. Although the university had set up an affirmative action office, MN argues that the officials in these offices owed their primary allegiance to the university, and tried to prevent scandals rather than to help women with 01:00:52 - Until she was denied tenure in the last 1970s, MN believed she was treated fairly in the zoology department. For example, she realized that her teaching load was heavier than that of her male colleagues, but expected this to be taken into consideration during her tenure review. Furthermore, as one of the few women in tenure-track positions, MN was asked to sit on an extremely large number of committees. She agreed to do a lot of administrative work, assuming that this work would be taken into ac 01:04:01 - MN remembers that members of the AFW analyzed reports and tables produced by the university about its efforts to recruit and promote women. In contrast to the university, which presented these statistics as evidence of progress, the AFW argued that progress was too slow. The AFW also tried to find mentors for female faculty. 01:07:44 - MN notes that the relationship between the administration and the AFW was antagonistic. Some women on campus disassociated themselves from the AFW because they considered its leaders too radical. 01:10:39 - MN discusses a few other ways in which women got together, such as Sigma Delta Epsilon, an organization for women in science. Some graduate students met for consciousness-raising sessions. When MN attended her first consciousness-raising session, she was surprised to learn that graduate students in the zoology department found the atmosphere uncongenial to women. For example, they complained that male students were aggressive and competitive during seminars. 01:13:46 - MN explains the term “consciousness-raising” and talks about how this activity allowed people to share their experiences and to become aware that they were not alone. She says her ideas about feminism changed as she listened to other women, attended lectures, and read books throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. 01:16:37 - In the early 1980s, MN became involved with a group of women who read and discussed articles on gender and science. These sessions were sparked by a talk given by Ruth Bleier. However, during her first years on campus, MN spent most of her time on science and was not involved with the women’s movement. 01:19:22 - MN says that the department’s expectation of how assistant professors should act was based on an assumption of how men act. She notes that girls are socialized to be helpful without emphasizing their own achievements. But when MN agreed to serve on many committees and to undertake a heavy service load, she was surprised to find that the department did not take her additional teaching and service into account. During her fourth year, MN was supposed to have a semester off from teaching. At the la 01:25:55 - She found her laboratory facilities to be excellent and considers this a strong reason for her coming to Wisconsin. 01:27:17 - She says that finding time for research continued to be her most formidable challenge. 01:28:47 - MN describes her research on the spatial arrangements of proteins and RNA in frog eggs. She also studied limb regeneration in salamanders with some of her graduate students. 01:32:18 - She describes her teaching load, which included an introductory course for non-biology majors and a graduate seminar in addition to a developmental biology undergraduate course. She goes on to compare this teaching load to that of other faculty members. She names Dr. James Crow as an excellent researcher as well as an excellent teacher. While many faculty valued their teaching responsibilities, the department’s tenure evaluation valued teaching less. 01:39:44 - MN discusses the tenure process and thinks that she was lucky because non-tenured faculty in the zoology department could sit in on tenure proceedings–thus she could see how the process worked. She thought that the department was very generous in their tenure evaluations. She received no feedback on her progress toward tenure and had no mentor within the department. 01:46:02 - MN came up for tenure in her sixth year. 01:48:08 - The department split its vote on her tenure, upon which the decision was sent to the biological sciences divisional committee and rejected. She recalls being very surprised at this decision and felt that it was out of line with previous tenure decisions. She put together a document of the achievements of the persons considered for tenure before and after her and sent it to the divisional committee; the committee refused to reverse its original decision, though she was given a further year to sta 01:51:53 - She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Labor Department investigated her case and found in her favor, after which she filed a discrimination suit. She describes the trial, the loss of the suit, and the rejection of her appeal. The courts considered that tenure decisions could not be second-guessed by judges. 02:01:46 - The Association of Faculty Women had backed her and raised funds to cover her court expenses. She mentions that Ruth Bleier was especially active in supporting her. She goes on to talk about those persons who testified in the trial. 02:04:36 - By the time of the appeals court decision in 1984, she was doing research in the genetics department at the University of Minnesota. Marion Namenwirth talks about her professional career at the University of Minnesota and later at Macalester College. She specifically mentions some feminist courses in science that she taught at Macalester. She currently works in the Medical School at the University of Minnesota. 02:08:00 - MN describes the formation of a Women in Science study group (the “October 29th Group”) at the University of Wisconsin in response to a lecture by Ruth Bleier. She talks about the membership and activities of the group. 02:12:40 - She characterizes Ruth Bleier and her impact on some of the “downtrodden” women faculty members. 02:15:17 - She discusses her 1985 article, “Science Through a Feminist Prism.” She argued that the basic values of science had been subordinated to self-promotion (e.g., in the case of publications). The article also criticized trendy research methods. She goes on to explain the bias involved in evaluations of her research. 02:21:46 - MN discusses the involvement of women in science and thinks that changes in women’s social position has enabled them to participate more in science. She also thinks that faculty and administration are more aware of overt as well as subtle forms of discrimination. 02:26:02 - She says that the prejudice working in her tenure evaluation was unconscious; men in the zoology department had different expectations for women, partly because they had women work for them primarily as support staff. 02:27:37 - MN evaluates the future of women in science and thinks that there will be psychological struggles between authoritarian ways of organizing science (and society) and alternative views. 02:30:05 - MN offers some closing comments on her career at the University of Wisconsin.