In the news: Women in STEM

From The Guardian, “Bridging the gender gap: why do so few girls study Stem subjects“, March 8, 2018.  To attract more girls to study Stem subjects at university, we need to tackle the stereotypes they are exposed to early on.

From Science, “Celebrating Women in Science“, February 9, 2018 Sunday, 11 February, is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To mark the day, we asked female scientists from around the world to reflect on their experiences and offer their advice. The responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

From NPR, “‘Leaky pipelines’: Plug the holes or change the system?“, February 2, 2018. According to statistical interpreters, I leaked out of the pipeline and joined the throngs of unsuccessful women who failed to leap over an early hurdle in their careers, let alone make it right to the upper echelons of science. But is that a helpful way of thinking about equal opportunities?

From The New York Times, “Careers for women in technology companies are a global challenge“, October 10, 2017Boys and men assume that if they are 30 to 40 percent qualified, they’ll go for it. Girls and women feel they need to be 80 percent qualified to attempt it. We have to get past the idea that you need to be exceptional, not just good. Believe me, the men aren’t all exceptional.

From Scientific American, “Once Again, No Female Nobel Winners in Science“, October 4, 2017 Including the zero honored this year, there have been just 17 in the history of the prizes. Why so terribly few?

From Harvard Political Review, “Reflecting on STEM culture: the Gender Gap“, September 21, 2017.  There has been as much written about the gender gap in STEM as there has been effort  to counteract it. But the often-desired goal of “equality”—an approximately equal ratio of males to females in STEM fields—can backfire if we become too solely focused on test results, statistics, and data.

From BloombergQuickTake, “Women and Tech“, July 25, 2017.  Silicon Valley takes pride in its progressive views on climate change, same-sex marriage, transgender rights and other cultural issues. So why does it have such trouble with gender equality?

From Psychology Today, “Why Brilliant Girls Tend to Favor Non-Stem Careers“, July 20, 2017.  Do girls avoid STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields because of ongoing, widespread discrimination? Or do girls with the skill sets that would give them entrance to STEM fields prefer fields that involve working with people over fields that involve working with things?

From Science Magazine, “Salk Institute hit with discrimination lawsuit by third female scientist“, July 20, 2017 Following two gender discrimination lawsuits filed last week, a third senior female professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has similarly sued the storied independent institute in San Diego, California.

From Forbes, “What Is It Like To Be A Woman In The STEM Field?“, July 7, 2017.  I find myself in circles with different demographics, depending on the topic at hand. When I am working on aquatic ecology or biological oceanography, I find a pretty equal mix of men and women, though the upper ranks are usually dominated by men. When I am discussing modelling, especially physical modelling such as hydrodynamics, it is normal to find myself in a room with eight or nine men for every woman.

From The Guardian, “The Hidden Figures effect: inspiring a new generation of women“, June 30, 2017.  Since its release, the film Hidden Figures has inspired female engineers and students alike – and made a valuable impact in the campaign to get women into science and technology.

From TechNewsWorld, “Metis CDS Debbie Berebichez to Women in STEM: Chase Your Dreams“, June 7, 2017.  If women are part of the conversation, we can help shape the world. The more women we have in STEM fields, the more we’re going to live in a world that’s fair and just.

From Bloomberg,Why So Few Women Break Through Tech’s Bro Culture“, June 2, 2017.  Silicon Valley prides itself on its progressive views on climate change, same-sex marriage, transgender rights and other cultural issues. Why does it have such trouble with gender equality?

From Crosscut, “For women in science, the challenges are personal“, May 31, 2017 Considerable attention has been devoted to the difficulties and occasional blatant discrimination facing women in studying or working in computer sciences. But the problems and the search for solutions extend across the range of STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. And, for women at the state’s largest university, the experiences, good or bad, can be very personal.

From The Atlantic, “How Women Mentors Make a Difference in Engineering“, May 22, 2017 They act as a “social vaccine” that protects female students against negative stereotypes and gives them a sense of belonging.

From HuffPost, “Eva Longoria On Why We Need More Latinas In STEM“, May 11, 2017.  Eva Longoria has one solution to help the world move towards gender equality: get more Latinas into STEM.

From HuffPost, “If STEM Subjects Were Seen As More Caring, Would More Women Join In?“, May 10, 2017 Current research suggests that women don’t choose to study or work in STEM because it’s ‘incompatible’ with the values they see as most important to their daily lives. If psychologist Amanda Dickman from Miami University in Oxford is correct, women are seeking careers that help, serve humanity or connect with other people.

From HuffPost, “It’s Time For STEM Women To Step Forward“, May 9, 2017 We’re taught from a young age, especially if we’re female, that modesty is a virtue. If someone compliments us, we should look embarrassed and deny all responsibility for it. If someone calls for volunteers we should look to the person next to us, even if we have the skills to do the task. Boasting is bad, talking about our achievements is attention-seeking. Putting ourselves in the spotlight is unladylike.

From CNBC, “Girl Scouts CEO urges young girls to be fearless in science“, May 8, 2017 For Sylvia Acevedo, interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, a degree in engineering wasn’t an obvious path. Today she encourages other young girls to consider STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and advises them not to be daunted by the fact that you could be the only girl in the classroom.

From Forbes, “Closing The Gender Gap In Computer Science Begins In Kindergarten“, May 5, 2017 But if those gendered social norms are squashed, if interest can be piqued early on, and if that interest is nurtured through the teenage years, we can bend the curve on the tech talent pipeline to increase the number of girls who become women in tech. Here’s how.

From Vox, “As a woman in science, I need to conceal my femininity to be taken seriously“, May 4, 2017 It’s a thesis I tested myself. It proved true.

From The Conversation, “The hunt for the Superstars of STEM to engage more women in science“, May 1, 2017 Superstars of STEM is a new program by Science and Technology Australia that aims to smash the stereotypical portrait of people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The plan is to identify 30 superstar women currently in STEM, and work with them to create role models for young women and girls, and thus move towards equal representation in the media of men and women in STEM.

From Motto, “We Need More Role Models for Women in STEM Now“, April 27, 2017.  I never could have envisioned at the age of 15 what an exciting and wild journey choosing to pursue a STEM career would be. It’s been fun, challenging, and yes, lucrative (STEM professionals earn, on average, higher salaries). For more girls to be competitive in the technology-laden workforce of the future, they need role models and encouragement now.

From HuffPost, “Spectacular Female Scientists Bloggers Who Can Inspire Our Daughters in STEM“, April 24, 2017 In the interest of showing our girls just what educated and empowered women are capable of, here is a list of ordinary women doing extraordinary things.  These blogs area great place to start in illustrating to our daughters just how thrilling and satisfying a career in STEM can be.

From The Washington Post, “Here’s one way to help women in science: Support International Collaborations“, April 22, 2017 Today, during the March for Science, it’s useful to note that women in academia don’t have as many chances to collaborate across national borders as men do. And that hurts both individual women and academic knowledge. Let me explain.

From BBC News, “Why is Russia so good at encouraging women into tech?“, April 21, 2017 “My lecturer instilled in me the power of numbers and calculation, how it gives you the ability to predict things; in that sense the subject always felt magical,” she says.

From The Atlantic, “Can Grade-Skipping Close the STEM Gender Gap?“, April 18, 2017.  If girls were allowed to accelerate through school, then perhaps their peak career- and family-building years would not overlap.

From Forbes, “How One STEM Education Startup Is Changing Career Paths For Millennial Women“, April 17, 2017Dr. Anna Powers is redefining the image of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, building the next generation of innovators, closing the gender pay-gap and cultivating a community of young women who are change-makers.

From Harvard Political Review, “Women in Tech: The Missing Demographic“, April 17, 2017 In 2013, women earned only 17.9 percent of all US bachelor’s degrees awarded in computer science, and 19.3 percent of those awarded in engineering, despite the fact that over half of all bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women.

From The Atlantic, “Is the Push for Women in STEM Hurting Female Artists?“, April 14, 2017  Convincing women of the value of careers in the arts is an issue of corporate advertising as much as it is of government funding.

From Los Angeles Times, “California’s future depends on women thriving in STEM careers“, April 13, 2017 California has been the center of technological innovation for decades, and we will all lose out if half of our population is not able to advance in STEM fields, which are the core of our innovation culture. Quite simply, California risks its place as the global center for innovation if we cannot support our girls and women in the education and careers that fuel our economy.

From The Huffington Post, “Meet the Woman who is Changing the Face of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math“, April 11, 2017 Sometimes, the most challenging situations can yield the most empowering success stories. For Dr. Anna Powers, founder of the organization Powers Education, creating a sense of community, reframing the image of STEM, and building the next generation of female leaders is a challenge worth taking.

From Teen Vogue, “3 Muslim Women in STEM You Should Know About“, March 27, 2017 It’s Muslim Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the accomplishments of Muslim women around the country and around the world. Muslim women are bountiful in the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and are making important discoveries that are making our world a better place, every day.

From Nature, “The quest to reveal science’s hidden female faces“, March 8, 2017Campaign on Wikipedia seeks to track down photos of female scientists and those from minority ethnic groups.

From CrossTalk, “Meet the women impacting science from their local communities“, March 8, 2017 When I talk to scientists, I often ask them to tell me more about how they decided to tackle the specific scientific problem that they work on. Their responses are fascinating, and I find their motivations often inspiring.

From Fortune, “International Women’s Day: How to Find and Retain Women in STEM Fields“, March 6, 2017.  In a 2016 study, we looked at the LinkedIn profiles of millions of women skilled in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math to get a better understanding of their career paths and movement in the field. The results highlighted a challenge that many companies face: women in STEM roles are particularly hard to find and even tougher to keep.

From Science Magazine, “Q&A: Female paleontologists protest gender stereotypes—with beards“, March 3, 2017The documentary “The Bearded Lady Project: Challenging the Face of Science” shows how leading women paleontologists, including collaborator and the film’s main subject, Ellen Currano, dealt with gender bias—intentional and unintentional—to achieve professional success.

From The Atlantic, “Will Elon Musk Send the First Woman to the Moon?”, February 28, 2017.  In the last decade or so, the number of aerospace engineers inside NASA rose by 76 percent. And yet, many women in these male-dominated fields continue to be overlooked and underpaid. But times have changed in one respect. The idea of a female astronaut, considered by many to be ridiculous during the Apollo era, is now anything but.

From The New York Times, “Her Scientific Discovery: Support“, February 25, 2017.  You see, I am an African-American and Mexican-American woman who works as a scientist and a professor. The combination of these factors is a rarity that isn’t lost on the students I teach in the classroom or in my laboratory.

From The New York Times, “Mildred Dresselhaus, the Queen of Carbon, Dies at 86“, February 23, 2017.  Nicknamed the Queen of Carbon in scientific circles, Dr. Dresselhaus was renowned for her efforts to promote the cause of women in science. She was the first woman to secure a full professorship at M.I.T., in 1968, and she worked vigorously to ensure that she would not be the last.

From Slate, “The Sexism Described in Uber Employee’s Report Is Why Women Leave Tech—Or Don’t Enter At All“, February 21, 2017.  Uber is staging a major PR defense for the second time in recent weeks after a former employee published a detailed account of persistent sexual harassment and discrimination she allegedly faced while working as an engineer at the company.

From CrossTalk, “How can scientific publishers combat implicit gender bias?“, February 17, 2017.  What can we do about implicit bias? While there have been many discussions about what the scientific community as a whole can do, today I want to make this discussion personal: what can I, as the editor of a prominent reviews journal, Trends in Biochemical Sciences (TiBS), do to combat my own implicit biases so I can promote gender equity in the scientific community?

From Science Magazine, “Action and data for women in science: A French example“, February 13, 2017 Now, following new national laws, all universities and public research institutions in France must follow in CNRS’s footsteps to establish gender equality plans and publish progress reports. Elizabeth Pollitzer, the managing director of Portia, a U.K.-based nonprofit that promotes gender equality in science, hopes more institutions will join the effort as well.

From the UN News Centre, “The world needs science and science needs women, UN says on International Day“, February 11, 2017.  “For too long, discriminatory stereotypes have prevented women and girls from having equal access to education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” said Mr. Guterres in his message for International Day of Women and Girls in Science, marked annually on 11 February. “As a trained engineer and former teacher, I know that these stereotypes are flat wrong,” he said, explaining that they deny women and girls the chance to realize their potential – and deprive the world of the ingenuity and innovation of half the population.

From Slate, “GE Publicly Commits to Hiring More Women With a Gorgeous Ad Directed by Nicole Holofcener“, February 9, 2017.  One reason for the dearth of female leadership in science, technology engineering, and math fields is that there aren’t enough women in the lower-level jobs that feed into those leadership roles…..GE announced an ambitious plan on Wednesday to hire 5,000 women in STEM positions within the next few years.

From The Conversation, “To get more women in STEM, little girls need better role models“, February 3, 2017.  I recently went to my great-niece Sophie’s fourth birthday party, where her friends – both boys and girls –- ran around without a hint of prejudice or discrimination. They were equals.  It occurred to me how this idyll of equality disappears as boys and girls grow into adulthood. If things stay as they are, they will be hugely divided in terms of careers. This is still a world that conditions girls to think they are not as able as boys when it comes to certain things – particularly science, technology, engineering and maths.

From Slate, “Between Astronaut Jeanette Epps and Hidden Figures, Black Women in STEM Are in the Spotlight“, January 9, 2017.  In 2018, astronaut Jeanette Epps will become the first black American astronaut to join the crew of the International Space Station. NASA announced the upcoming months-long mission last week; it will also be Epps’ first trip to space. In a NASA video, Epps said she was inspired to become an aerospace engineer as an elementary schooler by Sally Ride and other early female astronauts, as well as some words of encouragement from her brother. Ladies and gentlemen, female role models in action.

From The Washington Post, “How Vera Rubin changed science“, December 27, 2016.  Vera Rubin didn’t plan to be a pioneering female astronomer. When she was 10, lying awake at her home in Washington, memorizing the paths of the stars outside her window, “I didn’t know a single astronomer, male or female,” she once said in an interview. “I didn’t think that all astronomers were male, because I didn’t know.” But pioneer she did. Rubin’s work fundamentally changed astronomy by confirming the existence of dark matter, the invisible stuff that makes up 27 percent of the universe.

From Scientific American, “How to Fix the Many Hurdles that Stand in Female Scientists’ Way“, December 1, 2016Are women scientists getting an even shake as they try to advance their careers? Research on the subject suggests maybe not.

From The Atlantic, “Why Are There So Few Women Mathematician?“, November 4, 2016.  How a corrosive culture keeps women out of leadership positions on math journals.

From The New Yorker, “The Dark Energy of a Theoretical Physicist“, October 29, 2016.  Over the course of the summer, I read all of Randall’s books. I thought of Randall as I drove my children down the sun-dappled roads of eastern Long Island. The first woman tenured in physics at Princeton and the first in theoretical physics at Harvard, Randall has—in her spare time—written three New York Times best-selling books about physics and the libretto for an opera based on one of her own mathematical models.

From The Washington Post, “Talent Matters: In the push for STEM, women don’t have to get left behind“, August 18, 2016.  Careers in science, technology, engineering and math are often lauded as the way of the future, but in one way they feel stuck in the past: gender diversity.

From The Atlantic, “How Women Are Harassed Out of Science“, July 25, 2016.  The discrimination young researchers endure makes America’s need for STEM workers even greater.

From The Guardian, “Why aren’t there more women in science? The industry structure is sexist“, May 31, 2016.  Women outnumber men in a raft of science courses – but when they start their careers, they find many insurmountable barriers.

From the Smithsonian Magazine, “These Little-Known Nuns Helped Map the Stars“, May 6, 2016 The history of astronomy is riddled with underappreciated women who looked to the stars long before their scientific contributions were recognized. But the constellation of early women astronomers is glowing brighter, writes Carol Glatz for Catholic News Service, with the recognition of four once nameless nuns who helped map and catalog half a million stars in the early 20th century.

From Entrepreneur, “I Belong Here: 3 Ways to Attract More Women to STEM“, May 6, 2016.  “It’s a girl, it’s a girl,” the audience murmured. As my daughter took the stage to receive an award at coding camp last summer, the other parents looked at each other in surprise, every other child in the camp was a boy. My daughter was the first girl to walk on stage that morning. Where was everyone else’s daughter? Why did this elementary-age tech camp already mimic the vast gender disparity of the Silicon Valley tech world?

From the Smithsonian Magazine, “NASA’s Rocket Girls Are No Longer Forgotten History“, April 15, 2016 When biologist and science writer Nathalia Holt stumbled, serendipitously, upon the story of one of NASA’s first female employees, she was stunned to realize that there was a trove of women’s stories from the early days of NASA that had been lost to history. Not even the agency itself was able to identify female staffers in their own archival photographs.