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Essay on Discrimination Against Women as Addressed in Cantor's Dilemma

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Discrimination Against Women as Addressed in Cantor's Dilemma

In his novel, Cantor's Dilemma, Dr. Djerassi uses female characters to address sexist issues arising from women integrating into the predominantly male science world. The characters, Celestine Price and Professor Arderly, are used to show examples of how women have little voice in the field of science. The female characters suggest how women are often looked upon as sex objects rather than co-workers and they are given little opportunity to balance a scientific career with raising a family. By weaving these issues into his novel, Dr. Djerassi illustrates the following theme: Discrimination against women in the field of science is harmful to the progression of scientific
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Djerassi sympathizes with women who want to pursue scientific careers. He recognizes that virtually millions of brilliant female minds have been excluded from science. By incorporating ambitious female characters into his novel, Dr. Djerassi points out that the trend is changing and someday, women will be fully integrated into the world of science.

In addition, Dr. Djerassi addresses the possible reasons for women to deny themselves a career in science. One of the reasons is biological. Women can have children and men can not. Dr. Djerassi points out that it is extremely difficult to raise a family and balance a scientific career at the same time. For example, Professor Arderly is in the prime of her life and has a fairly secure relationship with her husband. However, she decides to get her tubes tied because she thinks that she would never have enough time to be a good mother. She explains her situation to Celestine Price by saying, "You just can't be a mother and get tenure during the six years you've got as an assistant professor...Nowadays, the promotion committees are supposed to take pregnancy into consideration, but most of the people running them are still men, and older men at that."3 The choice between motherhood and a career in science is difficult. If this is the choice that many women face, it is easy to
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