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California Anthropologists Win Honors

January 12, 1986|JANICE MALL

Two California women anthropologists, both with the University of California, have won prestigious awards in their field.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, associate professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley, has received the 1985 Sterling Award, the highest award of the year in the profession, for a paper in the field of psychological anthropology. It is presented by the American Anthropological Assn. and the Society for Psychological Anthropology.

Scheper-Hughes' paper, titled "Culture, Scarcity and Maternal Thinking: Maternal Detachment and Infant Survival in a Brazilian Shantytown," explored the issue of neglecting sick infants until they die, a tragic survival strategy for Brazilian mothers under the pressures of inadequate medical care and desperate poverty. She has also done field work on malnutrition in Alabama and schizophrenia in Ireland.

In 1981, Scheper-Hughes also received the first Margaret Mead Award, co-sponsored by the the Society for Applied Anthropology and the American Anthropological Assn. in memory of the noted late anthropologist.

Susan Scrimshaw, associate professor at the UCLA School of Public Health, has received the 1985 Margaret Mead Award, presented each year to a young anthropologist for work in anthropology that "interprets anthropological data and principles in ways that make them meaningful to a broadly concerned public."

"Margaret Mead taught me the importance of being willing to speak out and to try to translate anthropological insights for the public. She had a wonderful ability to relate to people," Scrimshaw said.

Scrimshaw, who is also associate professor of anthropology at UCLA and associate director of the UCLA Latin America Center, focuses in her work on cultural factors in health care delivery in the belief that "people's acceptance of public health measures depends on what they believe about health and illness."

Not only do men earn more doing men's work, they earn more doing women's work, according to Working Woman magazine's seventh annual salary survey of American professional and managerial workers.

The survey found that men who are secretaries make 33% more than women--an average of $20,123 to a woman secretary's $13,158. Male teachers make 18% more than women ($23,732 to $19,349) and male nurses make 8% more than women ($23,155 to $21,194).

Perhaps there is an advantage in being the rare person of one's sex in a field of work or perhaps the better educated or more talented and dedicated workers are the ones who defy the stereotypes and cross sex lines in careers, and thus earn higher pay. The survey found, for example, that some women who enter fields where women are very rare earned more than men. Women law professors, agricultural scientists and petroleum engineers were found to earn, on the average, more than men in their professions.

The survey, compiled with salary figures provided by leading business organizations, is conducted to track the progress of women workers. Among its other findings was that the primary method women are using to beat the wage gap (women earn an average of 64% of what men earn) is to enter fields previously dominated by men or to get out of the wage system altogether. Fully two-thirds of U.S. women entering the labor force are going into male job categories, and women are becoming entrepreneurs at twice the rate of men, the survey found.

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