Quote from an email this morning:
Do you have more specific requirement in race or sex? I've heard many professor don't like female students in laboratory.
I almost choked on my tea when I read this. Seriously? Seriously? Is this still a prevalent attitude anywhere? And why oh why would you ask an obviously female professor this question? It made me very sad.
The person in question is female, is applying for grad school at midwestern R1U, and is from an Asian country. We get a number of students female and otherwise from this country so I can't imaging that this is a prevalent view there, yet she still felt compelled to ask. Urgh!
I replied that I valued intellectual contributions and commitment to research more than any other attributes and that my lab is already diverse with a number of male and female students from foreign countries and the US and from a number of different ethnicities. I hope that this response puts her more at ease, but I still can't imagine feeling that my contributions might not be valued because I am a woman.