I don't really have much to add, other than to say 1) I am really tired of women's career issues automatically defaulting to family issues and 2) it is really annoying when the NYT takes a story (in this case, progress in advancing female faculty at MIT) and doesn't point out that this is specific to MIT only. In fact, reading the article quickly, it is possible to come away with the idea that MIT's changes are far more universal than they really are. I am glad things are working out so well for women at MIT. Now that we have our example case, where is the discussion of what things are like everywhere (or even ANYWHERE) else?
I would LOVE to have institutional help for childcare during business-related travel (for a nice discussion of the importance of travel in academic, see GMP's post here). It would warm my heart to know that parents everywhere (outside academia too) had access to paid parental leave. It would be awesome if men were invited to speak about work-life balance.
One thing I did like about the article is the mention of this:
But the primary issue in the report is the perception that correcting bias means lowering standards for women. In fact, administrators say they have increased the number of women by broadening their searches.
This is something that I and others have been advocating to increase diversity of all kinds in science. I am happy to see acknowledgement that this strategy works without changing the yardstick. Amazing scientists who happen to be from underrepresented groups are out there--the trick is in getting them to apply.