Happy International Women’s Day!

We’re already celebrating today in Australia. Google+ has featured my collection on women in science below!

‘Who’s ready for International Women’s Day tomorrow?! We’re kicking things off early this year. ALL week, we’ll be celebrating the inspiring women of Google+ by sharing their Collections. Know a cool Google+ woman you’d like to see featured? Share her Collection(s) with the tag #InternationalWomensDay to let us know!

TODAY: check out this awesome Collection about Women in STEM by creator Zuleyka Zevallos:  https://goo.gl/n14AtW

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day! Celebrate with bell hooks, who shows why feminism is not just for women, but for everybody! “Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”

[Image: bell hooks with quote http://buff.ly/1DVD0Tz] #bellhooks #IWD2015 #feminism

bell hooks – Feminism is for Everybody

Happy International Women’s Day!

“Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression… As all advocates of feminist politics know, most people do not understand sexism, or if they do, they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”

― bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody.

Honouring Evelyn Boyd Granville

On STEM Women, we’ve been writing about women in STEM to celebrate International Women’s Day. Below is what I wrote, and what a joy it was to reflect on the life and work of Evelyn Boyd Granville. She was only the second Black American woman to gain a PhD in Mathematics. We didn’t include this in the original post below, but I especially loved reading all her personal recollections of the sacrifices that her mother and aunt made to put her through university. 

Granville was raised in a single parent home by Julia Boyd, her poor working mother who wholeheartedly supported her daughter’s education. This was a very brave move given that in the 1940s, there were few educational or work opportunities for women in science, let alone for minority women. Granville recalls:

I saw black women – attractive, well dressed women – teaching school, and I wanted to be a teacher because that’s all I saw. I was not aware of any other profession… I did not receive a scholarship the first year at (Smith College), and I was told later that they didn’t see how in the world a poor child as I could afford to go there. 

Granville faced much discrimination along the way, not just in finding work despite her obvious brilliance, but in other ways that should have impeded her progress. For example, she was not able to find accommodation in New York when she moved there to undertake her postdoctoral work. 

Keep reading to learn more about this phenomenal woman! Continue reading Honouring Evelyn Boyd Granville

“Science Needs Women”

Happy International Women’s Day! I’ll do a couple of posts on this over the next day to commemorate this glorious day for both my time zone in Australia and the rest of you in other parts of the world. I want to start with the challenges that lie ahead. Our STEM Women community has been publishing a series of posts celebrating women in sciences, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). We started with a look at the number of Nobel prize laureates. We shared our post to our other science community, Science on Google+, and faced phenomenal backlash.

Various sexist arguments followed, ranging from: “Women aren’t as smart as men” to “This probably isn’t sexism, it’s something else (but somehow it’s women’s fault still).” None of these people presented evidence, but rather they relied on biased personal anecdotes.This thread was incredibly counter-productive; rather than engaging with the science presented, people wanted to argue that they don’t think that this is an example in sexism.
Continue reading “Science Needs Women”

Women and the Nobel Prize for Sciences

Two women appear on the back of the Nobel Prize medal. Yet less than  3% of Nobel laureates have been women! Only one woman social scientist has been awarded a science Prize (in economics). Not to mention the fact that most of the winners have been White and predominantly from Europe and North America.

As part of our celebration of women in STEM ahead of International Women’s Day, I wrote about the gendered nature of these awards for STEM Women.

Continue reading Women and the Nobel Prize for Sciences

Increasing the Leadership and Influence of Women Academics

In honour of International Women’s Day, The Guardian ran a great piece about women academics. It linked to The British Council’s (BC) research, which finds that only 30% of the world’s researchers are women, and that there are proportionally less women researchers working within the university system than in the private and public sectors. The BC reports that only 27% of Australian academics are women. While 44% of academics in Britain are women, only 20% of professors are women, suggesting that women find it difficult to progress into higher leadership positions at the professorship level.

Louise Morley’s research for the Centre for Higher Education and Equality Research identifies that this trend is similarly dismal around the world. In Indonesia, women find it more difficult to pursue a PhD and consequently an academic career due to having to travel long distances, which is culturally less problematic for men. Morley also finds that in nations such as the Philippines and Sri Lanka the ratio of women academics to men is relatively higher, but only because education is not a prestigious career.

Sweden and Austria have higher rates of women academics because they use a range of research, development and incentive programmes as well as quota systems. In Norway, 43% of vice chancellors are women because the state decides these appointments rather than universities.

Morley identifies that mentoring is one important ingredient in retaining a higher rate of senior women academics. Clearly a cultural shift is needed within global university networks. Rohayu Abdul-Ghani, deputy director at Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia, says:

“Higher education must make appointment of women academic administrators and development of young female academic talents part of their strategic goals. I have seen this to be effective at [my university] with the setting up of gender diversity as a key performance indicator. In addition, the institutes are held accountable for gender diversity and for the remedial measures to be taken where necessary. Until this is done, women academics will continue to be excluded and marginalised from becoming senior, influential players in HE.”

Learn more

British Council research.
Guardian article.
Photo: Simone de Beauvoir.

First published on Science on Google+