In this week’s Science, a study and a commentary on that study on yet another potential reason why the proportion of women is lower in some fields of academia (not just the sciences) – this time, hypothesizing that fields that place greater emphasis on hard work rather than raw talent are perceived as more welcoming by women. The effect also held for African American academics. Read the article: link. Read the commentary: “link.
It’s been a busy few weeks on this side of my keyboard, and also for women in science in the news:
A Barbie book supposedly encouraging girls to try computer science is called out for being horrifically sexist. After the internet found it (2 years post publication) it was subjected to makeovers transforming it into an actually good book, and realistically foulmouthed satires. You can make your own version here.
From Sharona: an engaging, fantastic TEDx talk about women in academia (17 minutes and worth every second). Youtube link
This NYT op-ed claims that academic science is no longer sexist. Then why are more new hires men, men still have higher retention throughout the pipeline, and maternity leave can still be as little as nine weeks (the worst of any developed country)? Yes, we’ve made progress, but I don’t think most people would agree we’re done.
From Sharona: how to make successful career connections as an introvert. I for one appreciate that the author doesn’t just give platitudes about finding your inner extrovert, but actually provides some concrete advice. Read at the paper of record here.
The author of this article surveyed about 700 women who had left positions in the tech sector (health, biotech, and other science fields were not counted – this was technology only), examining the reasons why they left in the first place, and why only 2% said they’d definitely like to return to the industry. Read at fortune magazine.
A new study out in PNAS indicates that labs headed by men who have won highly competitive grants or awards are less likely to take on women as graduate students or postdocs than other labs headed by men or any labs headed by women. Read the study at PNAS here.
Carol Mason, President of the Society for Neuroscience, issued a message this week addressing the underrepresentation of women in upper levels of academia. While there are grounds for optimism, Dr Mason gave an excellent list of some straightforward and concrete steps that we all can take to help shift the balance. Worth a read!
Nature reports on a new study illustrating the effects of gender and race on informal advising and networking opportunities for undergraduates. The effects of unconscious bias on graduate students and faculty have been previously investigated, but this study specifically focused on undergraduates and a range of institution types.
Related to ongoing discussions of impostor syndrome, check out this feature in The Atlantic on women’s confidence and projecting that confidence in the workplace. There’s some questionable science briefly discussed, but it doesn’t take away from the overall message of the article. Link
Also, it’s National Public Health Week. Stay healthy!