Perhaps unsurprisingly, pretty much every woman who contributed an essay to this collection is white, had a “great” upbringing, and met their spouse in school. Only one was a single mother (divorced then the guy died soon after). Most said that their husbands took over a lot of the responsibilities at home and/or her academic career came before whatever his job was in terms of location and time and stuff.
Sometimes it felt like I was reading the same life story over and over and over, but maybe that’s helpful to know–this is who makes it in academia. A lot of these women say they were either the only woman in a chemistry class or the only woman in their department (or the only woman with a kid), so I guess it’s hard to insist on more diverse accounts.
What the book does best is openly discuss what an academic career is actually like–the different ways people land in PhD programs (and that they’re almost always fully funded with a stipend), the fact that you can bring your kid around as needed, and explaining what a professor’s responsibilities really are.