unique challenges face women of color in STEM
The Harvard Educational Review presents an entire issue addressing the unique challenges faced by scientists at the intersection of race and gender inequality. The symposium issue, Unraveling the Double Bind: Women of Color in STEM, celebrates the 35th anniversary of a momentous meeting of 30 minority female scientists. The issue also reflects on the progress made since this original meeting and the problems still facing women of color in STEM. One of the major findings of the research contained in this issue is that while there is an enormous amount of research being conducted to study women of color in STEM, and many dissertations to show for it, there is a severe lack of publications on the topic. According to Maria Ong “It’s a serious gap in publishing…”.
The first article in the issue highlights the changing environment for women of color in STEM. Malcolm & Malcolm write “the next-generation women, the Double Bind Daughters, face different challenges from those faced by their mothers. Now it is less about rights versus wrongs and more about support versus neglect; less about the behavior of individuals and a culture that was accepting of bias as the ‘natural order of things’ and more about the responsibilities and action (or inaction) of institutions.” This is a message that should be taken to heart in academic departments like Genome Sciences, where institutional support and strong mentoring could make a huge difference for students and postdocs who might otherwise struggle in a harsh environment.
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