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Help women stay in science

Add your thoughts to the growing discussion on the role men should play in helping women stay in science

By | September 27, 2007

Editor's Note: In this piece, which will run in the January issue of The Scientist, Laura L. Mays Hoopes outlines suggestions for helping men help women scientists. Hoopes is a writer and the Halstead-Bent Professor of Biology and Molecular Biology at Pomona College. We're publishing the article early to spark discussion online of gender bias in science. Please suggest other things men can do to level the playing field by clicking here. We'll publish the best comments in print along with the article. 1. Call a woman scientist from time to time, to chat about science, a recent breakthrough, your puzzling results, their puzzling results. Even better, call one once a week. 2. Every time you have to recommend a scientist to speak at your seminar series, replace "young man" in your thoughts with "young woman" or even "old woman." 3. If you're on a hiring or tenure committee, don't start reading the files until after you review the primary literature on unconscious bias. You can access references from Jo Handelsman's site. 4. Support the development of a child care center at your university or college. Women produce babies and they need the day care. 5. When you are organizing a scientific meeting, invite some women scientists to be speakers. 6. When you walk through the posters, where women who were not invited present their work, stop and talk with them about what they've been doing. When you do, don't look over her shoulder, listen. If it helps, pretend she's a man. 7. When you chat with a woman scientist at a scientific meeting, invite her to join you and your friends for a lunch or dinner. She may eat in her room to avoid eating alone in a restaurant while watching you and your (male) friends laughing at the next table. 8. When you think about someone to appoint to an editorial board or to write a review article, be sure to consider women as well as your particular favorite young men and male cronies. 9. When you are looking for a nominee for an award (I'm not talking about the awards for the BEST WOMAN, I'm talking about research awards in general), replace that "young hotshot man" image with a "young hotshot woman" image. Or even an "old hotshot woman." If you don't know anyone to consider, email me at lhoopes@pomona.edu and I can suggest someone. 10. When you're spoiling for a fight, call the National Library of Medicine and complain that you can't properly track the publications women have produced for your award committee because they have no way to let PubMed know all of their different names so they can be connected in one list of publications. Links within this article: K. Grens, "NAS issues report on gender bias," The Scientist, September 18, 2006 http://www.the-scientist.com/news/daily/24803/ Jo Handelsman http://www.plantpath.wisc.edu/fac/joh/joh.htm
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Comments

Avatar of: Jenny Kay

Jenny Kay

Posts: 1

September 27, 2007

1. If you are a man-chairman, pay your women scientists at least the same or even higher salaries / start-up packages of the men scientists with the same academic/professional status.\n\n2. When it is time for salary increase/ promotion, give your women scientists the same pay-raise rate (or promotion) as you would give to your men scientists who would argue or fight with you for his pay raise/promotion. Women usually don't fight nor like to play politics, since we do have to save some energy to take care of our kids, while all the men scientists would have their wives to do the jobs for them.\n\n3. Recognize the contribution of your women scientists the same standard as you would see in your men scientists. Why should women be more productive to be noticed, while men only need "politics" to get recognization?
Avatar of: Rebekah Parsons

Rebekah Parsons

Posts: 1

September 27, 2007

In reference to point number 4, the last time I checked, men also produced babies. In fact, I believe for the most part it is a joint effort.

September 27, 2007

1) With reference to point no. 4-yes men play a role in producing babies as well, but the bulk of the work is done by women (don't discount 9 months of misery and discomfort!). Also, I do believe women play a greater role in a childs upbringing, so please do reconginze the women's effort in any scientific capacity. \n\n2) I was recently told by a manager, pertaining to a salary increase that men deserved more since they are the sole bread winners. Pooh! What garbage! Tell that to successful women both in science (Dr. Lois Gold) and industry (Indira Nooyi) who have excelled in their chosen fields. I bet no man ever said the words I was quoted above to their male counter parts! I work as hard, if not harder, then my male associates, but apparently I am not good enough to warrant a pay increase or increase in grade!\n\n
Avatar of: Rachael

Rachael

Posts: 2

September 27, 2007

that men participate in the creation of babies, not every woman who has a child has a husband/partner to provide a safety net should her career and child care come into conflict. Just because men participate in the creation, does not guarantee they will participate in the rearing. Single fathers would benefit from on-site care in the same manner, naturally.\n\nEven putting all discussion of professional inequality between the sexes aside (which is a huge concession), on-site child care would be beneficial for nearly all scientist parents, especially those who are single or those who are in a relationship with a partner that has an equally demanding career. \n\nI think it was just mentioned in a context that you may find offensive in this article because this article is specifically about *women* in science, and it is a harsh reality that true equality regarding domestic responsibility is not fully realized in many societies (including the US). It is more likely that a female scientist would have to scale back on her aspirations if there was a conflict involving child care than her equally ambitious male counterpart would.

September 27, 2007

Treat female grad students and post docs just as you would their male counterparts:\n\nPraise them when they do well, and when they work hard. Acknowledge their strong points. Make it clear what is expected, and correct mistakes and weak points diplomatically. \n\nAt meetings, go out of your way to introduce them to other scientists. This both makes them feel accepted, and signals to other scientists that you expect them to be accepted.\n\nAsk them for their opinions on scientific issues, and engage them in discussion. It's good for your shyer students to learn to speak up; it signals that you accept them; and - when you learn something from them be sure to acknowledge it.\n\nRefuse to participate in any discussion of the physical appearance of female students or colleagues. If the subject comes up change it, or better still, tell the others that you prefer to judge people on their character and their work.\n
Avatar of: Gary Levin MD

Gary Levin MD

Posts: 2

September 27, 2007

I suggest that instead of using "older woman" how about a "grown up woman"\n
Avatar of: Beth De Stasio

Beth De Stasio

Posts: 4

September 27, 2007

1. Work to provide reasonable family leave policies at your institution for all - employees, post-docs, graduate students. Family leave can be coupled with paid medical leave for women, family leave can be used by men and for adopting a child or caring for a seriously ill family member. \n\n2. Work to convince granting agencies such as the NIH and the NSF that grants can be extended when a female PI needs to spend time on family or medical leave - e.g. with a new infant or a terminally ill parent. \n
Avatar of: Jeanne Loring

Jeanne Loring

Posts: 1

September 27, 2007

1. At a meeting, look around. If there are no women in the room, there's something wrong. Check your invitation list and correct it.\n2. If there are no women speakers at a conference or a conference session, call the organizer and point it out.
Avatar of: Mona

Mona

Posts: 1

September 27, 2007

Here is one of my favorite tips for male colleagues:\n\nWhen having a conversation with a female colleague about her work, have a discussion with her rather than falling into a discussion among yourselves in front of her. \n\nThis has happened to me countless times, and I can't begin to explain how excluded and belittled it has made me feel.
Avatar of: Allison

Allison

Posts: 1

September 27, 2007

(1) Be aware of ways in which language or topics of conversations exclude women. Our department has a forum for very casual, sometimes off-topic interaction. \n\nThe main thread for a week or so was "Hey, who has ideas for meeting women since there are hardly any in our department?" \n\nThis was infuriating on many levels. First, the presupposition that everyone participating in this discussion is a heterosexual male. Second, after maybe a dozen suggestions had already been made, it still hadn't occurred to anybody that maybe instead of all these wacky out-of-the-way solutions to the problem, we should just get more women in our department!! \n\n(2) Look, I may do all the cooking at cleaning at my house, and sure, that may mean that I'm more skilled and efficient at it than most of the men in our department. But for heaven's sake, don't expect me to be the chair of all the food-related or decorations-related, etc, events in the department. (Especially when that then frees up the men for, e.g. "Charting the course for the next 20 years of our dept" committee.) I finally just said NO one year, deciding it was time to put my foot down and let the men started doing these things. Then I get an email from the new woman in our department saying, "Hi, I've been put in charge of X and they said you're the person to talk to about how to do it." (!!) Even if you're not in charge, be the one who shows up early to help set up and/or the one who stays late to help clean up. Women have been culturally conditioned to do these thankless and invisible tasks without being asked. Be a gender hero by actively preventing this from happening. Thanks!!\n\n3. [This is directed more towards the fields, e.g. Computer Science, with very few women] Just for fun, next time you are in a meeting of any kind, imagine what the room would look like if 50% of the people there were women. If this difference from reality is shockingly great, realize that this is a shocking level of injustice that we women face each day.
Avatar of: Jackie Street

Jackie Street

Posts: 1

September 27, 2007

As one who spent 20 years in science and has now moved to public health which is more woman friendly can I make some more nitty gritty suggestions:\n\n1. A place where a nursing woman can express milk when she goes back to work when her baby is six weeks old. Not every place can have on-site child care but they can all be supportive of women with very young children\n\n2. A bit of extra support for grant submission - submitting a major grant proposal when you have a baby under one is hell on earth. Not submitting it means you don't have a job next year.
Avatar of: Colette Bouchez

Colette Bouchez

Posts: 2

September 28, 2007

Do not reduce your regard for a woman in science because she is A) Pretty B)Has good figure\nc)Knows how to make lab coat look fashionable \nD)Wears high heels with said lab coat. We are capable of shopping and doing research in the same day.\n\nDo not believe that only ugly women can be serious scientists because the pretty ones are spending too much time at the hair salon to do any serious research. See shopping comment above.\n\nDo not preface your critique of a paper written by a woman scientist with the phrase "For a paper written by a woman scientist it is ...." \n\n
Avatar of: wang xiaofeng

wang xiaofeng

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

Around me,there are more and more female Dr. students who have done excellent work, but when they graduate with a Dr. degree and various prizes, they have to taken more efforts than their male counterparts to find a satisfying position in uniersities, institutes or companies. The reason is that the female Dr.s will unavoidably produce or take care babies. So, I think one premise of helping female scientists stay in science is to grive them more positions in science activities firstly.
Avatar of: Amanda McMurray

Amanda McMurray

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

Always helpful to consider "people" rather than "men" or "women". \nI couldn't help feeling that advice like "invite a women to dinner as she may well otherwise spend the evening sitting in her room" or "if it helps, pretend she is a man" to be equally as damaging (if not more so)as the behaviours that this article presumably sets out to overcome. \nSo, again for example - nurseries are helpful to parents (male half + female half), some people fight for their pay rises and some don't (these people can be of either gender) etc etc etc\nMy personal view? - we need to get over ourselves and stop playing to our stereotypes.

September 28, 2007

I liked the idea that someone takes care about women's position in science, but I was dissapointed to find out from the article that the solution stays in not being neglected by male scientists. \nI think that the "10 commendments" of how to make a woman be more "scientist" represent just examples of how to apply Dale Carnegie principles of being successful: pay attention to others, be interested in their own oppinions, learn to listen, find out what interests them most ..\nWe all live in more or less male societies, fully impregnated with male rules and male authority. All along history, terrible fights were fought to win and keep this situation.\nIn an ideal society, where reason has a word to say, the "10 commandaments" from the article may work.\nStill, as a woman myself, I really consider the article as a proof that we need better educated males, with better manners, and I agree with it.
Avatar of: mary c

mary c

Posts: 3

September 28, 2007

Don't feel offended if she knows more than you.\nDon't assume she is pregnant and about to leave.\nDon't start the conversation by asking whether she is a feminist or why most women are crap at maths.\nTalk to the face area, not the chest area.\nDon't assume it is a dating opportunity.\n
Avatar of: Miguel Vicente

Miguel Vicente

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

tell your male friends who are getting married to ask their future wives to retain their maiden names. Anglo-saxon stereotypes classifiy Spain as the land of the "macho", but Spanish women do not change their names when they marry. This does not guarantee gender equality, but at least avoids the problem that you raise in your last point.
Avatar of: Karen Bernd

Karen Bernd

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

Older is appropriate. Hopefully, we all get older but 'growing up' in not necessarily consistent with chronological age. For example, if we look at the literature on children, females mature and become 'grown up' more quickly than males. And, anecdotally, anyone that carries on a conversation while not looking at the person above the neck has never 'grown up'.\n\nAs two additional points, I am the sole breadwinner for my family of 4 and while I appreciate/expect inclusion, remember to spread the wealth. Just because I am female and a scientist does not mean that I, personally, should be the tolken XX scientist on every panel/committee/advisory group. It is faint praise to be included with 'tolken' status (and yes I can tell those cases) and all those special appointments take time. Something that no one, regardless of gender, has enough of. So perhaps we should all work to really think in terms of 'people' rather than male/female and consider the best person for the position?\n\nI am glad that Laura posted the list and started this discussion thread. But saddened that we haven't moved to a point where we are scientists without gender related adjectives.\n\n
Avatar of: Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

Some of this affirmative action stuff makes me a little nervous. I don't want to be called or invited to dinner or a meeting because of my sex, I want to be in the loop because of what I can contribute. I don't want to be paid more then men -- parity is fine.\n\nFrom my experience sexism seems to be an experience of the older women. Among people of my generation, it really does not exist anymore.

September 28, 2007

Perhaps because I work in a field (evolution and ecology) that has a nearly equal sex ratio I was a bit put off by this article. Some comments:\n\n(1) As a male single parent I appreciate the need for quality day care, however I need to point out that quality day care is not good for women its good for people!\n\n(2) Having been on search committees, and having been an associate editor for a major journal I cannot imagine having any criteria other than whether the candidate (or reviewer) is capable and willing to do the job. \n\n(3) If I failed to regularly communicate with women colleagues I would fail to communicate with half my field, and I certainly would have trouble working with several of my current (female) collaborators.\n\nIn general I found the article condescending, and of little or not use. On the other hand it did miss several very important points\n\n(A) The real leakage in the pipeline for women is that women scientists tend to marry scientists, and often men slightly older and more established than they are. This leads to the "two-body problem" That is, if the man is more established it makes sense to pursue his career at the expense of the womans career, and finding two science positions in the same location can be problematical. Solving this problem would go a long way towards ending gender bias.\n\n(B) An equally serious problem is the loss of young boys and men to science. If you don't believe me go to an honors assembly at a middle school or high school. You will find the top achievers are almost all girls. Similarly, our youth orchestra has a strong female bias. This goes on into college, where my advanced evolution and conservation courses tend to have a female bias, and the majority of our graduate students are female. The bottom line is that we need to find methods to keep young men engaged in science. This is frankly much less of a problem then keeping young women engaged. \n\nIt is clear to me that some fields have a strong male bias, even though mine is not one of them. I understand the need to fix this, however, the means to fix this is not by making condescending remarks to women presenting posters. The way to solve this is to find a way for women to advance their careers while maintaining a healthy personal life. This of course means improving access to child care, and recognizing that parents often will have to leave in the middle of the day, and may not be as productive as non-parents,but more importantly it means finding a solution to the two-body problem that plagues all married professionals.
Avatar of: Ellen Jorgensen

Ellen Jorgensen

Posts: 2

September 28, 2007

To respond to the comment that this may be an "older generation" problem... I sincerely hope that this is true and that people younger than I am will experience less and less gender bias simply because society is changing. But the "glass ceiling" phenomenon shows that bias gets worse as you get older and more advanced in your career. I am praying that your perceived lack of bias in younger scientists will continue as your generation matures and advances in their careers, and that all ceilings for all people will eventually be just a bad memory.
Avatar of: anonymous

anonymous

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

A more serious problem for me and many women my age (new PhDs) has not been discrimination by men, but discrimination by women! It's as if the "older women" had to go through a lot on their way up, so they're going to make damn sure we younger ones have to put up with it too. Several women my age have expressed a desire to never work for a woman again.
Avatar of: maryc

maryc

Posts: 3

September 28, 2007

i should add that my experience is of computer science, which is, i imagine, a bit behind the other sciences. There are quite a few boys not men and perhaps the problems will sort themselves out as they grow up? I didn't go in expecting some of the amazing comments i got. Even one understanding male just makes it so much easier.

September 28, 2007

Laura Hoopes raised ten points that could help for women to stay in science. They are ok but I do not see the difference with male scientists. \nThe points Laura raises are in my view something you do anyway, irrespective of the sex. At conferences in my field, industrial biotechnology, women as well as man give presentations. I just returned from a conference were there were as many women as man, both participating and giving presentations. As a (young male) member of the international programme committee I did not judge an abstract on the sex of the presenting author but on the content. So please let us stop with patronizing women to much. They should be stimulated but this should not be exagerrated.\nOne main reason at least in The Netherlands where I live and work as a research professor at a university and a senior scientist at a contract research organization, for women to quit working in science is the fact that they get children and feel a strong need to care. Our child care system is of high quality and even the employer and the government pay most of the day care costs. Man also have a feeling of caring but a different one. One that needs to grow and the best way to do so is to start taking care without the young mother being home. A main reason is that young scientists who are father lack proper role models. Most older male collegues did not stay at home when they had children so young fathers are not encouraged to take time of and be at home with their child. Women do because of the motherbond. But once a young father stays at home and combines care for a baby with research they learn to appreciate it. And start bonding. And after a few years they do not want to do it differently. I have experienced this personally. I am the proud father of two young daughters and have managed to combine taking care of them with a career in science. I have and still work partime and am proud that I can combine both worlds. My wife\ntoo works partime in a biotech company. And one more thing, the days that the young father is at home the mother should not interfer with the car. Fathers do things their way and this is often different from what mothers do. But once a mother interferes, she gives the father an excuse to go working fulltime again. So a male scientists who becomes a father should be proud about combing science and family care. And tell this out loudly tho their young male collegues and especially undergraduate students. They are the new role models that make that more women stay in science. \n\nMarc J.E.C. van der Maarel\nHaren, The Netherlands \n

September 28, 2007

I'll second #4 about day care--but extend the idea. As more women enter the professional world, that means more men also have additional repsonsibilities at home. Suporrt not just women, but FAMILIES!! This means one must understand that men and women with pre-school and school age children need to be with their kids-- after school , in the evenings, on weekends. Don't expect a parent (male of female)with younger children to be in the lab till 10 pm each night, and all weekend, every weekend. We have other, and frankly more important responsibilities-- our kids! Come up with some way to support parent involvement with their families while still being productive at work. Include community and family involvement, somehow, as a significant part of tenure decisions.
Avatar of: irv besen

irv besen

Posts: 4

September 28, 2007

"Success consists of going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm" W. Churchill (according to his wife)
Avatar of: Mia

Mia

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

When introducing visiting scientist to your lab group do not introduce all the male scientist as Dr. Smith, Dr. Jones etc. and then introduce the female scientist with a PhD as "Sally".
Avatar of: Carole Bassett

Carole Bassett

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

1) Be sure that you introduce your female colleagues to the appropriate managers in your organization and to the decision-making people in your clientele. Help them get to know these people and vice versa.\n\n2) Consider placing qualified female scientists in leadership positions within your organization and 'show them the ropes'\n\n3) Spend some time with new scientists (don't overlook female scientists) instructing them on how to succeed in your organization and provide appropriate assistance, particularly in the early stages of their careers.

September 28, 2007

This whole business about social expectations, family and career is very complicated. Here are a few more things that I've experienced directly. It may not apply to everyone, but probably more than just me. \n\n1. Even with an amazingly supportive husband who helps with child care, there are still some major physiological challenges when you're Mom. Between the discomforts of pregnancy, hormones, and accidentally having my child convert from a daytime to a nighttime feeding pattern, which then distrupted my child's (and my) sleeping patterns, I didn't have a complete nights' sleep for 4 years straight. Try reading the latest research article after chronic sleep depravation. There was a brief time when I couldn't actually DO science, which was incredibly frightening and depressing. I found support groups for new moms, but these only dealt with how to deal with the baby, not how to keep going in your high-powered career and still be a good mom. The other moms were great, but they were stay-at-home moms or had less demanding careers. If you are a man or woman academic with children, offer support and encouragement, and baby advice to those new moms among you. They are generally far away from their families, and may be the first in their cohort to have a child and really nervous about how this will all work out. (I should add at this point that my child and husband are the loves of my life and I wouldn't have it any other way).\n\n2. It's sad to say, but social expectations are still different for men and for women. I'm talking about the finer points of interpersonal interactions. I am a pretty outspoken person, and what I've learned over the years is that people sometimes get offended when you look like you should be a "nice girl" but instead speak out on issues and hang tough, refusing to conform to their expectations. As a grad student and postdoc it has been mostly OK because one can always escape the situation if it gets really bad and one is buffered by your supervisor (as long as they are supportive). As a faculty member, however, it's more challenging. And I'm really sad to say that I've had the most trouble from the occasional older female colleague who views me with a double standard, discounting my accomplishments (or attributing them to male collaborators) while insisting that my work is not good enough even though it is comparable to my young male colleagues. These particular older females genrally don't have children/families, and so don't understand the huge time demands that families take. They undoubtedly faced a much harder battle in their day, but don't understand that times have changed. And yet there is still that female culture thing -- they get offended when you don't take their advice or flat out disagree. Since they are senior to you, it can be quite oppressive. The funny thing is that I've been lucky with senior male colleagues -- they seem to be more laid back for one thing, and most of them have had children so they understand the demands of parenthood. I do have great senior female colleagues too -- but when it's bad it can be really bad. So if you see this going on with your female colleague -- please give support. Better yet, stick up for them! \n\n3. Finally, I think the toughest part of starting up a new lab is recruiting good students and postdocs. Because of the tough job market out there, having a position available can be akin to winning the lottery. Sometimes people come knocking at your door who are going to be trouble. We all lack training in this. I've made a bad choice or two in this area, because I wasn't critical enough. The good ones are no problem, of course. But somehow because I'm a woman it seems like those folks with "sob stories" feel more liberated to share. And I've gotten sucked in because I've experienced a few injustices myself (and am admittedly naive when it comes to judging people), making too many allowances for lack of sufficient performance on their CV's. I don't think I'll make those mistakes again, but it sure would have been nice if we gave all of our younger colleagues pointers on interviewing and selecting personnel. Especially when to say no. \n\nIt is a pretty complex world we live in, and making it in academics is hard, whether you are male or female. I've read with great interest some of the comments above. Many people are supportive, which I appreciate, but some seem to think that there is no difference between men and women. Maybe these differences are not huge, but sometimes they matter a great deal to someone experiencing distress. I think it is easier to make it in this world if we recognize these different tendencies so that we can better understand our behaviors, demands upon us, and interpretations. It is possible to have a great career and a great family life, but it sure would be nice if it were a little easier!
Avatar of: Cathy

Cathy

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

I guess I'm old fashioned, because there are lots of comments and opinions already voiced, but mine is quite different. I want to do research part-time. The reasons are these: I want to be at home when my kids get on and off the bus (7:30 am and 3:40 pm). There are just eight hours in-between and I must drive to work, leaving just 7 hours to work. I want to help them with their homework. I also want us to eat healthy food, so I cook dinner. This requires shopping for food. That can be done on the weekend or late at night, but with soccer games, laundry and other chores, I prefer grocery shopping in the middle of the week. I also want to sing in my church choir and teach Sunday School. In other words, I want a full, balanced, complete life. I also want very much to do research, but only 30-35 hours per week. It seems that this is a radical idea. Why? Must one abandon all else in order to do great research?
Avatar of: aliens

aliens

Posts: 2

September 28, 2007

i saw somebody mentioning that female scientists are less likely to be politically involved than male scientists in a department. " are u serious". i have seen women scientists who are older and established doing more politics in a day than dick cheney in his entire tenure. u have to understand that politics within academia and industry affect both men and women equally (if u consider the percentage. \n\nsecondly, as somebody pointed out here, there is a considerable cold war between women scientists in a department than with their hetero-dimers.\n\nin a nutshell, if every sceintist has a true passion towards science and compassion towards others, there would be no room for politics including the so called gender-bias. \n
Avatar of: Amy Tabb

Amy Tabb

Posts: 1

September 29, 2007

Comment for the article, "Help women stay in science"\n\n\nMy suggestion is this:\nWhen you chat with a woman scientist at a scientific meeting, do not try to engage in any kind of romantic or sexual activity. I have not been to a conference yet without having to ward off the advances of a fellow conference participant - and often he doesn't understand no! If you are really interested romantically in a female conference participant, wait until after the conference to say so, and respect the fact that you are both professionals and both working during the conference - and that women don't attend just to serve as wife-free entertainments.\n\n
Avatar of: Danielle N. Lee

Danielle N. Lee

Posts: 1

September 29, 2007

1. Share a profile with lecture!\nDuring your course lectures or journal club readings, associate a name, story, and picture of the scientists, when possible. Whether admitted or not, most people assume the average scientist is a white male. By profiling the scientists whose work you are sharing you are informing students that scientists are real people - men and women. And it makes us (scientists) seem more real. \n\n2. Celebrate Women's History Month!\nDuring the month of March, invite female speakers for your department's seminar series. If it's a weekly series - like many are - then that's 4 female scientists. (But don't put off inviting female colleagues only for Women's History Month. These speakers are in addition to the speakers your department would normally host.) If you're having a hard time finding enough female scientists in your area or field, then try searching for female professionals from industry, government or NGOs. Also consider inviting grad students, post-docs, lab managers or masters level scientists.\n\nWhy stop there - Celebrate Diversity. During Black History Month invite African-American scientists. During Hispanic Heritage Month invite Latino Scientists, and so on.\n
Avatar of: Jo Handelsman

Jo Handelsman

Posts: 1

September 30, 2007

http://wiseli.engr.wisc.edu/Products/top_10_tips.pdf\n\nhttp://wiseli.engr.wisc.edu/Products/Sex_and_Science.pdf
Avatar of: Dan Miller

Dan Miller

Posts: 40

October 1, 2007

1. This is known as harassment.\n\n2. Why not think of someone who knows the subject rather than their gender?\n\n3. No comment\n\n4. This should be aimed mainly for the students because it is the single mothers who need this service the most. To make a woman have to leave an afternoon lab early before finishing because her day care center closes at 5:00 is inhumane.\n\n5. Considering that the women do most of the organizing, wouldn?t it be nice to invite some male speakers as well?\n\n6. What are you talking about? This was a real stretch.\n\n7. Ditto\n\n8. Since most editors I know are women, this is hardly relevant.\n\n9. What field are you in? This doesn?t apply to any of the biological/medical areas that I?m familiar with.\n\n10. Why not do what most professional women do and keep their name for their whole life? Why change?\n
Avatar of: Kirsten Ludwig

Kirsten Ludwig

Posts: 1

October 1, 2007

The last time I checked science was about just that, science, and not what gender you are. If you do good science, can plan and execute the experiment well, draw the right conclusions and ask the right questions, no one cares what you look like. If you are not getting invited to speak at seminars, not getting grant funding, or not getting jobs, it might have more to do with your ability as a scientist than what your gender is. If you are left out of a conversation/discussion, join in. This is not middle school anymore, we can enter into a discussion with a man without an invitation. Sometimes men also feel left out of a conversation, and again, it is their personality and not their gender. Maybe if more time was spent working than complaining we would not have this "problem".
Avatar of: Wanda

Wanda

Posts: 1

October 2, 2007

Re: Cathy's comment\n\nHear, hear! I have the same aspirations for a balanced life as Cathy and agree that this should be the norm, not having to give up everything else to do science. I am one of the "lucky" ones that does scientific research part-time - but at the expense of salary, promotion, and career path. I haven't had a raise in 10 years, no promotion, no institutional support, and have to fight for every bit of recognition and recompense that I deserve. Doesn't matter that I do all the same institutional paperwork as my full-time/over-time colleagues, work half the night when a grant proposal or paper is due, or constantly rearrange my schedule for the benefit of my full-time colleagues.\n\nAnyway, enough griping! What I would like to see is a greater focus in the (science) workplace on what women in general, and any woman in particular, CAN do rather than what they can't do. That's the way it should work for everyone, not just women, but so often all we women hear is about what we are not doing (because we are child-rearing and dealing with other family responsibilities) rather than all the good stuff we are doing.

October 2, 2007

Bravo to both Drs. Marc M.E.C. van der Maarel and Marguerite Butler's comments. I have seen several senior women scientists who have kids and great research careers. There is one thing in common (surprisingly): when they just started their careers (assistant professors), their husbands took part-time or low-paid flexible jobs first (their husbands were also Ph.Ds/M.D.s) in order to take care of their young kids, so the wives could start to build up their careers. Later after these women scientists got tenured with kids old enough to take care of themselves, then their husbands re-started to build up their own careers. Now husbands and wives are very successful in research. They are my role models, and their families are what my family is modeling from at the moment. Therefore, I do have to thank all the PhD/MD husbands (with kids) who would have the great vision and let their wives' careers take off first.

October 2, 2007

Reading the comments is always interesting, but they show mostly that there are lots of misunderstanding and powerlessness around.\n\nYoung women (and men?) think that discrimination is a thing of the past, obviously they are not being very scientific about it, they can read number of studies which show exactly that discrimination is alive and thriving and start at the first job. The higher you go the worse it gets.\n\n\nThe biggest problem is the way society works and does not evolve. Everybody needs a personal life and breathing space, in science more than anywhere else, how can you have interesting conversation if you are constantly working and worrying, when do you find the time to think and inform your-self?\nHaving scientific conversation is not something you decide and initiate, if you are interested in science and eager to exchange ideas you do not need to be forced into conversation, you do not need to talk to the great ones, you can talk to anyone and you do not need to be an employed scientist to have great ideas to share. \n\nSomething that will not change for several generations is the old boys network, they socialize together and take care of eachother, their world has no space for women. \n\nFor the younger ones, until men start thinking that their responsabilitie to their children is identical to the mother's and that they do not have an opt out clause and somebody who is always there as a back-up, they just have to bring the money, things will stay the same. Mothers think always first of their children's interest, not just the financial ones but their general well-being and hapyness, until fathers start realizing that perpetual absence has an effect on their children and demand a world where everybody can have a family life as well as a professional one, employers (senior scientist, university, companies) will consider that it is not safe to give an important job to a woman or not worth investing in somebody who will not put their work above all else. Equality starts in the family, when mom's work is as important as dad's!
Avatar of: ROM

ROM

Posts: 2

October 2, 2007

I thought I was reading the transcripts from "The View". Lot of the list is nearly obsolete and even sexist stereotypes of women and men. When "men" ignored Dr. McClintock's work she kept working and was vindicated, she did not wait by the phone for her "man" to call and invite her to converse. Now a days if anything search committees work hard to include women, sometimes to the exclusion of equally qualified men. I know I have been on those committees. Also I don't like the sweeping statement men don't do child care, ing very widesweeping unfair for a lot of us. Also every slight does translate becuase I am women. I have been slighted by plenty of "intellectuals". It is just a fact of life sometimes. If you really want to help women (people) then fix the post-doc glut, the adjunct glut. Oversupply of cheap smart scientist is hurting our field.

October 3, 2007

I?d like to respond to what people on this list and via email have asked: why focus on what men can do? Are women so fragile that they can?t help themselves? Here?s my rationale for such a list. The response to Larry Summers? remarks, Ben Barres?s critique, and Donna Shalala?s report from the National Academies study appeared to me to consist of symposia for women by women: what to do to optimize chances for success. Great! But where were the suggestions for men of good will? A lot of men would like to see women full professors at research universities increase from 15%. After all, they?re teaching groups of graduate students where the proportion of women is about 45%. Sure, many of the problems are caused by men in positions of power in science. But in the same departments are men who want to help. I never saw any ideas addressed to them. So I started my own top ten list, and over time, it changed and developed until I finally submitted it to The Scientist. I know women are powerful and influential and good scientists (contrary to what one commentary suggested). I also know that there are a number of men out there who would like to see their numbers increase in super-academia. This list, and other ideas people have posted, could help them give some of us a helping hand.
Avatar of: Alice Cottaar

Alice Cottaar

Posts: 1

October 3, 2007

When you hear an emotion in the voice of a woman scientist during a discussion. Don't interpret it as an antagonizing force but as a sign of deep involvement in the subject.\n\n

October 3, 2007

Biasness to any actually deprive system of a country in a given time from the scope of optimum utilization of human resources and thus race suffers. Woman in chair or in authority may also treat fellow gender with biasness which proves that it is a problem existing in human thinking process.\nBecause all humans carries the desire to be a dictator or ruler on all subjects at least among those where he or she belongs. The past dictators tried dictatorship first not on others but on their fellow countrymen, a soft target for them. Women are soft targets so they receive more. They should try to increase their faculty and play always contributory roles in family, in profession,in the places where ever they are engaged in. A male child needs a woman as mother , his natural insurance to life , similarly a country needs women in all sectors to insure from becoming an orphan. After all no male will do anything which converts his country in an orphanage.
Avatar of: Lisa Unico

Lisa Unico

Posts: 3

October 4, 2007

Not only do universities need on-site day care centers, they need extended-hour programs. Scientific research rarely fits into a "normal" day. Although the support staff can assume that they will be able to pick up the kids by 6 PM, can most researchers do that?\n\nProtein purifications simply don't fit into "normal" work day schedules, and I'm sure that many of you could add other research steps that equally don't fit into an 8 or even 10 hour day.\n\nScientist parents need help past 6 PM and the vast majority can't count on friends or family on a regular basis.
Avatar of: Dr. Mommy, PhD

Dr. Mommy, PhD

Posts: 1

October 4, 2007

I can't reiterate enough the issue with daycare around universities! I would love to either find a part time position in science (unlikely) or a daycare that stays open past 6 (never going to happen in our location). Because of this, my family now has a different two body problem- my husband (MD/PhD, resident) goes to work 80 hrs/week and I stay at home with our child and try to make ends meet on his salary. I don't know why some of the more seasoned members of the scientific community haven't realized the untapped potential of hiring mothers part time (is no one else aware of thier multitasking capabilities??)

October 8, 2007

What is this\n'replace "young man" in your thoughts with "young woman" or even\n"old woman."'\nand\n'replace that "young hotshot man" image with a "young\nhotshot woman" image. Or even an "old hotshot woman."'\nIs the author cheerfully replacing sexism with ageism? As an "old hotshot woman", I find the "or even"s quite offensive.\n \n - Caroline Herzenberg\n
Avatar of: Pascale H. Lane

Pascale H. Lane

Posts: 3

October 10, 2007

I thought the dearth of women in senior leadership positions in academia was a pipeline issue. Women had not been receiving doctorates for a sufficient length of time for there to be sufficient numbers for representation. However, this is simply no longer the case. Studies have shown that there is still sexism at work. Not so much the "you don't need the money as much as he does" variety, but a more insidious variety where the mostly male powerbrokers provide more support and mentorship to young males with whom they identify and feel greater comfort and cameraderie. It is only through suggestions like these 10 commandments that senior (mosly male) faculty will begin to question their instincts and address discrepancies.\n\nSexism is alive and well. It just isn't obvious enough for a law suit (most of the time).
Avatar of: Mrudula Donepudi

Mrudula Donepudi

Posts: 1

October 10, 2007

Most of my comments revolve around keeping women in science at a time when they are having children as I've observed that this is when most women end up leaving.\n\nThere is a definite need for childcare support for both working moms and dads. Additional help can be provided by backup childcare. Help for nursing moms should be given by providing lactation rooms that are clean and easy to reach. Even having a lactation room in a different building can be too far away for a woman who is trying to pump milk in between experiments. \n\nMost importantly, I think universities should give longer maternity leave policies for grad students and postdocs. Six to eight weeks is simply not enough. Most parents, both men and women, are overwhelmed by their new roles and need more time to figure out how to balance their new lifestyle. Having 4-6 months off is not going to affect the outcome of the scientific research - it often takes that long to get assays working. \n\nMany other countries offer the possibility of job-shared postdocs. Granted that means relinquishing the complete ownership of a project but with established rules at the onset, it could be a viable option for all parties involved.
Avatar of: Akira Tokuhiro

Akira Tokuhiro

Posts: 1

October 10, 2007

This is just my personal view. I will summarize to keep it short.\n\n1) Promotion and tenure is outdated.\n2) The university, as an institution, is outdated; they are ill-suited for the life cycle of educated and professional women, and the professional couple.\n3) Men often discriminate because women are better... (will keep it short)\n4) A paradigm shift is needed at universities; however, there seems to be a shortage of innovation and commitment to bring about REAL change. We can't get past 'rankings'.\n\nThanks for reading this!
Avatar of: Don C. Reed

Don C. Reed

Posts: 5

October 10, 2007

As a former 8th grade school teacher, I never once heard an assembly where a scientist came and visited and told about the excitement and wonders of science-- and yet here is a place where young girls excel-- please consider, all you scientists who have "made it"- visit schools and talk to the children who are looking for inspiration for their lives. Don C. Reed
Avatar of: Anthony Dennis

Anthony Dennis

Posts: 2

October 11, 2007

Advancement in science is related to prestige and quality of personal network. One of the key leverage points for both is participation on boards of promising start-up companies. Next time you look for a board member pick a qualified woman.
Avatar of: Vince Connors

Vince Connors

Posts: 3

October 11, 2007

Be supportive of husbands who might be attached to a female scientist - since a scientist wife is often attached to a scientist husband, offer adjunct positions to the spouse, give the husband a seriously considered view in the design and filling of future positions and research/teaching opportunities, and don't look down your nose at them if they choose to become "stay-at-home-dads." Let spouses sub for the faculty member when needed without penalty to the full time member. \n

October 12, 2007

Simple directive for men, "step out of the way". \nIntelligent and brillant women are capable of great science, join them in the endeavor and we all benefit.
Avatar of: Female Mentor

Female Mentor

Posts: 3

October 12, 2007

My experience with other women in science is that the ones that are in it tend to be catty and not supportive of their fellow female colleagues. I just came from a seminar where it was said that when women write recommendations for men vs women, the writer will usually be more critical, although subtly, of the woman. Is there so few of us in the field that we tend to put down other females in the field to try to get ahead or feel more important?\n Maybe where I work, the cattiness from other women is construed as being outspoken. It is a shame when women think they are promoting the field by just being in it but don't examine how their behavior to other women in the field has reverberations
Avatar of: ROM

ROM

Posts: 2

October 12, 2007

I really surprised at some of the sexist comments, like women are better... and men just need to get out of the way... I guess sexism can exist in females as well as males. \n\n Interestingly I have been in labs that were directed by Male and by Female PIs. I never saw this in the Male PI lab, however in the Female PI lab, the female PI made at least three of PhD./Post-doc Women Scientist cry in the year I was there by comments she made to them. I know this maybe my own sexism, but I was immune to crying over the Female PI comments. Yes, I know crying does not mean anything bad... The point is that in my experience the political correct male PI was much more careful of the feelings of the young women scientist than the feminists female PI. I know this is just my own experience... But then again that is what most of the above comments are based on...

October 13, 2007

Here's an additional perspective. In our attempts to be "inclusive," we can cause women to "disappear" in a subtle way. What happens is that women qua women, as distinct others, are no longer seen. In a sense it is a double bind: women are not seen as equals, and at the same time, in our efforts to treat them thusly, we don't see them as distinct others. they are disappeared. Philosophers Emmanuel Levinas and Alphonso Lingis deal with the pheneomenon and implications of otherness.
Avatar of: Dr. Rey Carr

Dr. Rey Carr

Posts: 1

October 17, 2007

Men should make significant efforts to seek out qualified women scientists and ask them to be a mentor; and, in turn, male scientists can act as mentors to female scientists. This cross-gender mentoring will enhance mutual respect, and help both male and female scientists to learn about each other at a deeper level.

October 17, 2007

This article and comments section caused me to pause, because being a woman is having a huge impact on my career. My comments address motherhood and doing research. First of all I am a postdoctoral fellow with a 2 year old daughter and a supportive, but often out of town professional husband that works 60+ hours a week. No matter whether you are a man or a women success in most professional careers requires long hours. Long gone are the days of the 9-5 schedule for either sex if you want to be competitive. If you are not present at least 60 hours a week, not to mention weekend hours, then you are slacking. However, the fact remains that women are usually the primary care provider for their children. I would like to know of the women who are currently successful: 1- Do they have children and if so do they have spouses that take care of them? 2- Do they have a nanny that takes care of their children? 3- How many quality hours do they actually spend with their children? (Be honest!!) 4-Are they financially well off allowing for maids, grocery delivery, etc? I am fortunate in that I work about 40 hours a week, but taking in the commute time my child spends about 50 hours a week in daycare. This leaves about 1-2 hours per day during the week that I can dedicate to reading and spending quality time with my child outside of arguing with her to eat, to change her diaper, to give her a bath, and of course cleaning etc. I don?t believe this is adequate, but I am not willing to trash my career yet. I love science, but I love my daughter too. I realize that I will probably never have my own lab or be as successful as any counterpart, male or female, that does not have children or who has a spouse that stays at home. And in all honesty, although my publication record looks good I will probably not last much longer in academia as is the case for most scientists who are mothers. Who would hire an assistant professor that works only 40 hours a week when there are so many more qualified individuals willing to work many more hours? Hopefully in the future there will be opportunities for women, and men, who have children and need to have a balanced lifestyle. Possibly this could be through part-time or shared positions or on sight daycare? Just because they don?t exist or are not the ?norm? doesn?t make it impossible! It is depressing to think that so many qualified and intelligent women, who could contribute so much to science, are abandoned (in academia) once they have decided to have children.
Avatar of: Far Away

Far Away

Posts: 1

October 17, 2007

It is constantly said, that a scientist should be focused in her/his science before anything else. For most mothers, or women thinking of being mothers, this is unacceptable. Many women I know left science since they thought they can't have it and other things in their lives.\nOur scientific life span is very long. We can shift our focus, in and out of science, family, and other important things in life.\nDescribing science as an "all or non" occupation drives women out. It is also hard on many men.\nchanging this way of thinking, allowing gaps in people's careers, will let many more women "play the game". \nYou don't have to be a 21 year old work-around-the -clock-genius to make good science.
Avatar of: ex-scientist

ex-scientist

Posts: 1

October 17, 2007

When a female post-doc arrives in the lab, and then announces a few weeks later that she's pregnant, no grant holder can be too delighted at the thought of 6 months and more disruption by maternity leave/altered hours. There are enough other scientists determined to compete for that small grant funding pot, so though it's not very PC or kind to say so, a pregnant post-doc can be a drag for the grant holder. I'm going by insider-information on that one. \n\nCombining science and child-rearing is a tricky one. Research takes as long as it takes, and is quite indifferent to your personal life. That's going to be hard, unless you're already head of your lab/group, and are mainly behind your computer, with a group of child-free slaves to carry out your research for you. Or until mom post-docs start job-sharing. \n\nHaving to establish your scientific credentials very early in your career is at the root of the problem, I think. There are plenty of scientists who could do their best work later on in life, after the early child-rearing years. As in all walks of life, there are plenty of people who thrive and flourish later on in life, but 'hot shot' always seems to apply to young scientists. \nScience is structurally biased against older people trying to make a late entry or re-entry into research. That's a shame, because science wasn't always so ageist. When I was young, I was a bit of a fruitcake, too desperately struggling with severe personal problems to be able to succeed. Now I'm middle aged, mostly sane and far more perceptive, stable and enthusiatic than in my young years, but science has closed its doors to me. \n\nSo my personal best recommendation would be to job-share: 2 part-time post docs collaborating on one project, with overlapping times to keep each other in the picture. Could be equally a protocol for success, or disaster, depending on the combination of people. Second-best recommendation; eliminate ageism to allow mothers and other older people to return after a gap. \n\nBy the way, I wonder if female scientists are now going to be deluged with weekly phone calls from conscientious male readers of the article.....that was a creepy suggestion from the author.
Avatar of: Kristy

Kristy

Posts: 1

October 17, 2007

Sexism, which is what this article is truly about, is a personal problem for those who cannot get over it. Maybe its age, as some have suggested or maybe it is upbringing. Some people have the ability to look beyond the gender. Until i read this article i thought most people had learnt and it was just a few in society that couldnt realise the simple benefits of accepting all others.\n\nAll people in society have values that can improve the science that we do. It is by blending the knowledge of the range of skills available that we create great answers. For example, How can one gender be better than another at understanding the best design for product; be it a car, washing machine, or childs toy. The fact is that both genders can bring experience that cannot be found in single gender contribution.\n\nI cannot believe that this discussion topic isnt dead and buried?? Come on people!!! Be humane!\n
Avatar of: annonymous

annonymous

Posts: 1

October 18, 2007

I completed my postdoctoral training and decided to have a baby even though I started a new job. Crazy? Don't think so! I've already postponed childbearing for several years and decided that this is the time. \n\nSo, my worry at the moment is how will I take care of this child once I go back to work? Will I be able to continue to breastfeed to the recommended age of 6 months? Will I be able to find a day care center close to work (not even going into affordable)? I don't want to have my child be there for 10-12 hours a day while I work. And I work at the NIH. There isn't even a decent break area (other than the cafeteria) in the building I work in. Finding a place to pump milk (other than woman's restroom) will be impossible. If anyone reading this knows otherwise, please post!\n\nSo, yes, women do have different issues because in majority of cases we are the ones taking care of children and the household. Trying to advance the career at the same time without the support is daunting to say the least. \n\nI didn't like any of the 10 points named about how to help a woman scientist. I am perfectly capable of finding my own dinner buddies, and not afraid to ask for more money than the original offer. I have decided that if I don't take care of my career, nobody will. \n\nMy major issue will become balancing work and family. I find the second to be the most important task ahead of me, and I shouldn't be punished for it. All the men and women who think differently should think of their own mothers.
Avatar of: Kerry Mills

Kerry Mills

Posts: 1

October 18, 2007

Oooh, this made me laugh a LOT.\n\nMy suggestions:\n\n1. In a lab meeting, when a woman scientist makes a comment, LISTEN to it. Do not just wait for 5 minutes and then make the same comment (sometimes word-for-word) to accolades like "Wow, Mike, fantastic idea!"\n\nThis would be funny if it hadn't happened to me at least 50 times...\n\n2. Do not look at your watch when a woman scientist with kids leaves work to pick them up. Especially if she a) is a better scientist than you, or b) has better results from 1/2 the time spent in the lab.
Avatar of: Mikki del Monico

Mikki del Monico

Posts: 1

October 19, 2007

I'm a screenwriter, not a scientist, but I wrote a script that won an Alfred P. Sloan production grant, and as we try to raise the rest of the funds to complete it, I can't tell you the number of times I've heard, "So the woman is the lead?" YES! And she's a scientist. If people support films and other media with scientists who are women, perhaps we can change what the people who traditionally fund films think, and perhaps we can get more young women interested in science! Also, just be grateful you're not in narrative film. The stats for women in Hollywood make science look amazing. If you want to learn more about the film, visit me at: www.myspace.com/mikkidel
Avatar of: Suzanne Williams

Suzanne Williams

Posts: 1

October 19, 2007

when you are leading a meeting of a group of scientists and the male scientists are hogging the conversation, pointedly ask some of the women (or all if there are only a few) what their opinions are. Most women will gladly tell you their opinions, but often have a hard time butting into a conversation. This is true for shy male scientists as well--and if you ask specific people to make comments you will get a more accurate picture of how a group feels and can make a better informed decision, instead of basing the action on the comments of a few bolder people.
Avatar of: J. Bosch

J. Bosch

Posts: 1

October 20, 2007

What century was this patronizing article written? I think you might want to send Madame Curie a copy because she might fit into the category of a "happening babe" scientist. I'm a woman and I'm not a scientist, but I have been a research secretary for men and women scientists and I can't remember thinking of women in science in such an archaic and disrespectful manner. In the environments where I've been employed, I think they referred to each other as colleagues and tended to communicate with individuals who possessed the information that they required - male or female. This article is so sexist and seems to have been written by someone who hasn't dealt with many men or women scientists out in the real world.
Avatar of: Gary A Brown

Gary A Brown

Posts: 1

October 20, 2007

In Canada most of our women prefer biology. A very few try mathematics, fewer still physics and engineering. Biology is overpopulated and only 15% get jobs in the field after grad.\n\nThe big difference is the laboratory. In physics and engineering labs are all 'paper', i.e. grad assistant does the lab, students write down the numbers grad student gete then go home and write up the lab ha,ha. Most males fool with enough kid stuff that in part supports a mental bridge for this gap as the lab is going down. Women ONLY effectively make this leap in biology and a slightly lesser extent in chemistry. Otherwise the experience of academia is wickedly foreign to everyone. \nI also believe the dwindling numbers of undergards and grad students in engineering in particular is due to the element of 'foreign' for ALL members.\n\nListen to this from a Harvard female grad student [summer 2007, now going into her 2nd graduate year biomedical engineering]says:\n'I wish they would do better labs. It is so alientating to just be doing mathmeatics all the time. I hardly ever get to even examine some of the devices we have covered in lectures'.\n\nHope somone can run with this. As a MAJOR proponent of labs in 35 years of teaching I worked with a number of talented women who were on graduation excellent at their work. Others who were not able to get their legs under them sadly dropped by the wayside. If anyone wants to know what techniques I found effective contact me by \ne-mail\nCheers,\nGary Brown\nOkanagan University College \nBC Canada {Ret'd}.
Avatar of: S. Gilman

S. Gilman

Posts: 1

October 20, 2007

I'm intrigued by the number of younger scientists posting that sexism in Science is no longer a problem. I used to think this too until a senior scientist in my field (evolution and ecology) posted a "rant" to the field's main listserv the gist of which was "Why shouldn't woman expect to be discriminated against in tenure-track hiring? We know they're going to have babies as soon as they're hired and the university administration never gives us enough funding to cover the costs of hiring a lecturer when they go on maternity leave. Therefore we have a valid reason not to hire women." While this did cause an uproar on the listserv, it also pointed out to me the difference between the facade of equality my field promotes (and dishes out to young graduate students) the underlying reality.\n\nI, like many of my young female collegues, like to believe that I have all the same opportunities and support that a male collegue has. But that doesn't mean its true. Perhaps we should all listen carefully when a battle-scarred senior woman scientist opens her mouth about sexism.

October 24, 2007

I've heard from people pointing out that men, as well as women, have to deal with name change issues. Apparently NASA has it right. I got permission to post a comment I received earlier from someone there about this issue, see below. \n\nDear Professor Hoopes,\n>\n>I am surprised that PubMed cannot track people's various names. When \n>we\n>\n>started the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System Digital Library,\n>15 years ago, we included this feature without any thought that it \n>might\n>\n>not be totally necessary. I made a short reference to it in a poster \n>paper I wrote a decade ago, see section 4 in the linked paper.\n>\n>http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?1998ASPC..\n>145..478K&data_type=PDF_HIGH\n>\n>We have had several cases where men have changed their names, and we \n>use\n>\n>the same mechanism for names which can have several spellings, perhaps \n>due to differing transliterations.\n>\n>If the NLM does not do this it is beyond stupid.\n>\n>Thank you for your interesting article.\n>\n>Best wishes,\n>\n>Michael Kurtz\n --\nDr. Michael J. Kurtz\nHarvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 60 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138 USA\n\n
Avatar of: Kelly Stettner

Kelly Stettner

Posts: 2

October 25, 2007

Whether it's through Girl Scouts, the school science fair, or just on their own, fathers can have an enormously important voice in encouraging their daughters and neices to pursue careers in science and engineering fields. Be supportive and let them know you believe in them -- help them develop and pursue such interests!
Avatar of: Carol

Carol

Posts: 1

October 25, 2007

While it is great to have supportive men promoting the work of excelling women scientists, it is important for other women to support them as well. Too often, other women more advanced in their career feel it is their duty to sufficiently challenge those women lower on the totem. In graduate school I fell prey to one of these bosses that constantly belittled my work and praised the work of a fellow male colleague. Luckily, I had an unbiased thesis committee who stood up for my work. Often since then I have heard numerous female colleagues say that they would rather not work at all than work for a female boss again. Such a shame. So really until we are all supportive of deserving scientists (male or female), and not first defining gender then deciding merit, will there be equality in research science.
Avatar of: Dara Burdette

Dara Burdette

Posts: 1

October 26, 2007

Bravo Amanda. I couldn't have said it better myself. I thought Dr. Hoopes 10 suggestions to be naive and condescending to both men and women, particularily points #4, 6, and 7. Its a shame that advice like "pretend she's a man" is even valid or useful these days.
Avatar of: Erin Thacker

Erin Thacker

Posts: 1

October 26, 2007

I was very disappointed after reading this article, and fairly angry. After all this time, this article still promotes the idea that females have to be handled with care in order to succeed! While I fully believe there are still gender biases in the scientific fields, I also believe it?s not only up to the MEN to change this, but up to the WOMEN as well! And not just the mentors. It?s up to all of us as individuals to make sure we are heard and our research is taken seriously. It will never be taken seriously if we rely on anyone-male or female- to create scenarios to ?allow? our success/equality; that only strengthens our dependence and promotes the idea that we are incapable and inferior!! As females, in general, we do have a harder time promoting ourselves and our work, and fighting for what we deserve (be it salary or other benefits). A much more helpful column would provide advice on how to become more pro-active, how to overcome our own feelings of inadequacy, how to portray and feel confidence so we can promote ourselves and our research, and how to organize our time so that we can successfully juggle work and home life!!! If this must relate to how men can help us, then proper mentoring on how to network for ourselves or organize would be much more appropriate.\n\nAs for parenthood, it is hard on both males and females, though I believe it is harder on females. I suppose I am lucky (actually, I married someone I knew would contribute equally) that my husband is every bit as involved in our child?s life as I am, and thus just as sleep deprived (though admittedly he hasn?t had to recover from pregnancy or labor). However, his chosen profession does not require the extensive education (read ?training with little pay?), or the long hours at work or after work catching up on journal articles, etc, and it still pays twice as much! This is a hardship all around in our field. I have several female AND male colleagues who are searching for alternative careers for this reason. Until our expectations regarding hours logged change for the field in general, things will not get better for any scientists interested in a family life, and young scientists of both genders will continue to leave-either for careers requiring less of a time commitment, or careers that provide adequate financial compensation so hiring a maid, etc. is possible. \n \nBy the way, if you can?t trace a female scientist?s full publishing record, contact her directly and ask! \n
Avatar of: Penny D-Hughes

Penny D-Hughes

Posts: 1

October 26, 2007

I was blessed to have supportive mentors for both my PhD and postdoc years (one a man and one a woman), and did not feel at any sort of a disadvantage during those years due to my gender. (If either of you are reading this, thank you so much for that gift!)\n\nWhere the reality of the challenge hit me was when I had my first child. All of a sudden, the hours you can work is reduced to the number of hours the daycare is open; you no longer have the option of time-shifting to avoid rush-hour traffic; you have to walk out of whatever experient or discussion is going on at 5:30 to pick up your child; you are dealing with the physical stresses of sleeplessness, perhaps nursing, etc.; and coming back in the evenings becomes incredibly complicated and can be done only after dinner, cleaning, bathtime, bedtime, and whatever negotiations are necessary to make sure that your child is safe and cared for are completed. These factors almost inevitably mean that your productivity is compromised.\n\nAdded to the practical difficulties of being a mother and a scientist, one must also deal with the sense of one's colleagues that you have made a choice that will lead you down the "not quite a real scientist" road.\n\nI have two suggestions, one for those who are dealing with this set of issues, and one for those (male and female) who have colleagues dealing with these issues.\n\n1. If you are dealing with these issues, please remember that things will get better. Childreng grow up; at some point, it will no longer be necessary to sit by them in the tub and wash them (you can simply tell them to take a shower). As they grow, they become more independent and require less of the intense, hands-on, physically-demanding care. (They still need you, of course, but in different ways.) Overall, I have found that as my children have grown (they are now 16 and 11), my life has gotten a bit easier. Don't give up!\n\n2. If you have colleagues in this situation, please resist the urge to see them as lost causes who are personally responsibility for having made poor, career-jeopardizing choices. \n\nThink about this... Q) Where does most science funding (at least in academe) come from? A) The federal government (NIH, NSF, DOE, etc.). Q) Where does the government get the money for this? A) Taxpayers Q) Who decides what the federal budget will be for science? A) Legislators, and indirectly, voters. Q) Where do these taxpayers and voters come from? A) Babies and children who have been brought up to believe in the importance of science. Q) Where do these kids come from? A) Women who have chosen to invest in the next generation as well as their own careers. So, even if you have chosen not to have children, be grateful to those who have chosen to make that investment. \n\nSupport them in any way you can, and please remember - once their kids get a little bit older, their productivity will increase. Judge them not by they are getting done while their kids are tiny; give them some time and space to show what they can do when those pressures ease a bit.
Avatar of: Louis G.

Louis G.

Posts: 1

October 29, 2007

My wife was doing her PhD theses in Madrid, Spain.\nShe worked, very hard, for almost four years, spending many hours at the lab, producing a lot of results.\nDuring the monday meetings at the lab, she was discussing her results and proposing new experiments because she observed that the original protocols suggested (ordered) by her mentor were wrong.\nThe mentor did not accepted any suggestion or even hear her proposal. She follow the order of the mentor and worked very hard, obtaining irrepetible results (change this... change that... put this here or put those there).\n \nThe first two years were terrible and I was very sorry for her. She could not change of lab because her fellowship -from a latinoamerican country- did not allow it. But her determination to finish her experimental work to get her Ph.D. was very strong.\n\nAfter suggesting her to talk with her mentor, she again suggested him to change the parameters and other controls. Finally, after begging, he accepted the suggestion and the results of her experiments were logics and reproducible.\n\nShe left the lab to take her previous position and sometimes remember that Spanish nightmare, that has given her permanent pain on her hands, ulcers and so on.\n\nNow, because the results, the former "mentor" is asking her to go to his lab again, because she was right!!!\n\nBut who is going to pay her TWO years of pain and tears?... She did hidden experiments because her boss did not believe her and those shows she was absolute right...!\n\nI believe that there is a "macho" gen in the scientist man that expresses strongly and that ALL we work, or are related with science should help deleting it.\n\nAhhhh Have you ever thought how the situation is in Latinoamerica for scientific women is?... It is terrible!\n\nLouis G.
Avatar of: Dr Richard Stone

Dr Richard Stone

Posts: 1

October 29, 2007

Hello,\n\nThe question is how to make women help other women succeed. \n\nMost importantly, how to make women not hurt other women.\n\n
Avatar of: a.postoc

a.postoc

Posts: 1

October 30, 2007

From the posts and my own experience, family issues are of greater concern than outright discrimination and not being taken seriously by men. Here are some additional points that I think need attention:\n\n1. In ecology and evolution, for women (or men) who have primary responsibility for children it is difficult or impossible to conduct fieldwork, an essential component of much of that type of research. Fieldwork often occurs in far away or remote places where you simply can't take the children with you. \n\n2. Infants/children have different temperaments and needs, and there needs to be different options available. Some babies might be fine in full time daycare from early on, others need more time with a parent. For example,some babies/toddlers might be ok in daycare until 6pm, but others need to get home earlier because they do best when they are in bed for the night by 7pm. Also some children have special needs and require a greater degree of parental involvement.\n\n3. Part-time and job-sharing options would really help with points 1 and 2 above.\n\n4.Graduate student and postdoctoral salaries are insufficient to support families in at least parts of the US, and this makes it hard especially for couples where both partners are in science.

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Mettler Toledo
BD Biosciences
BD Biosciences