Resource: Equity and Diversity for Events

Diversity encompasses issues of equity, inclusion, accessibility and intersectionality (the interconnection between gender and racial inequality alongisde other social disadvantages). I’ve created a resource to ensure academic and science events support diversity. Below is a brief version.

Continue reading Resource: Equity and Diversity for Events

STEM Women in Astrophysics: Professor Vera Rubin, ‘Ardent Feminist’

Astrophysicist Professor Vera Rubin, USA National Medal of Science awardee who confirmed the existence of dark matter, died on 25 December 2016.

One of the things I want to highlight especially for this post is the wonderful job Professor Rubin’s institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, did in their press release. They focus on Rubin’s scientific discovery using plain language, but they were bold in also highlighting her gender equity work in science, by calling her an “ardent feminist”. This is so important because women’s advocacy for gender equity is scientific work that is unpaid; it is undertaken on top of research, teaching, and grant work; and goes largely unacknowledged.

This post is dedicated to Professor Rubin’s legacy and all the other ardent feminists in science and elsewhere. Continue reading STEM Women in Astrophysics: Professor Vera Rubin, ‘Ardent Feminist’

Structural Barriers for Women in Science

“But the sad fact is it is much easier to say ‘we need more women in science’ than it is to stand up, look the (mostly male) leaders in science and politicians in the eye and say: ‘Your laboratories, hiring procedures, grant-allocating processes and publishing routines are all sexist, and this results in science and technologies that aren’t good for at least half the population. Why have you allowed this to continue for so long?'”

Quote: The Guardian.

Using Data to Improve Gender Equity in STEMM

I’ll be co-hosting this Hangout on how institutions can use data and analysis to improve gender equity policies and practices in STEMM organisations.

Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) is running a Pilot of Athena SWAN in Australia. Athena SWAN is an evaluation and accreditation program that has had tremendous success enhancing gender equity and diversity in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, especially focusing on science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

Thirty-two Australian institutions have signed up to the SAGE Pilot of Athena SWAN, including 25 universities, five medical research agencies and two government organisations. Athena SWAN seeks to improve the education and career outcomes of all women and to boost the recognition of underrepresented groups (such as transgender scientists, Indigenous Australian researchers and other minority groups). 

SAGE will interview Professor Hazel Hall, Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team Leader for Edinburgh Napier University. We’ll discuss how the university selected its team to support their application for an Athena SWAN application for a Bronze Institutional Award. This Award recognises that an institution has started substantial work to eliminate gender bias and that it is working to create an inclusive culture for all. Professor Hall will speak about how her team overcame the challenges of collecting and analysing gender equity and diversity issues for their institution. Professor Hall will also discuss how they created actions to address areas of inequity and how consultations with staff and students helped this process.

 

Continue reading Using Data to Improve Gender Equity in STEMM

Stereotypes About Gender and Science

Psychologist Linda Carli and her team find that an increased number of women in a particular field improves the perceived similarity between women and scientists but even numbers of men and women don’t necessarily lead to the same effect.

“Common cultural stereotypes about women, men, and scientists lead people to see women as incompatible with science. Men are especially prone to this bias, but everyone shares it. This may result in prejudice (a dislike of female scientists compared with men) and discrimination against them.”

Interview. Read the study in Psychology of Women Weekly.

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

Overcoming Gender Inequality in the Classroom

Stanford law Professors Daniel Ho and Mark Kelman have conducted research showing that larger classes in law schools increase gender inequality. The study has relevance to STEM as the findings support other research about teaching in physics.

The study, published in the Journal of Legal Studies, included almost 16,000 grades given to around 1,900 students. The researchers find that pedagogy (teaching philosophy and teacher-student practice) matters to gender outcomes. The authors conclude that smaller classes where teachers provide more feedback reduce gender differences in grade scores. The researchers found that women outperformed men in small, interactive classes focused on practical exercises. The researchers note that similar results have been found in interactive physics courses.

Professor Kelman argues that the finds go against the “common sense” presumption that gender performance are “fixed”:

“Some naïve reactions are that if women get poorer grades at law school, women must be less capable… I think it’s surprising to many – and perhaps a confirmation of a more optimistic view that I have – that much of the inequality we observe in the world is mutable, and that the structures that we sometimes take for granted may work to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others.”

Sources: The study and quote. Image: Other Sociologist.

[Image: chalk and blackboard with the quote as above from “It’s surprising to many…that much of the inequality…”]

Gender Bias in Science Hiring

I’ve been quoted in this article in the New Scientist concerning the critique of a new study that argues women are not disadvantaged in science hiring. Please read it as Lisa Grossman has included excellent discussion by scientists Katie Mack and Lucianne Walkowicz addressing why talking about inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is necessary for increased equality and diversity.

“Williams and Ceci do not have data to support how scientists rank potential candidates,” writes sociologist Zuleyka Zevallos. “They have produced data about how scientists respond to a study about gender bias in academia, when they can easily guess that gender bias is being observed.”

Continue reading Gender Bias in Science Hiring

Bias in the Study of Gender Inequality in Science

Bias in the Study of Gender Inequality in Science

A new article on CNN by two psychologists claims that even though women are under-represented in science, they are not disadvantaged through the hiring process. The researchers claim that bias actually lies in women’s favour. This story has generated intense media buzz, even though the study on which this is based is fundamentally flawed. I show why the experiment, based on impressions from a short narrative, has zero relation to the way in which hiring committees make decisions. I also show that the study fails to account for intersectional issues, such as the fact that minority women scientists face not just gender inequality, but also racism, transphobia and other forms of discrimination. The fact that the study is headed by two White professors is one example of how bias influences the types of inequities we choose to see.

We must not accept populist notions that we live and work in a so-called post-feminist, post-racial world. The evidence does not support such White patriarchal fantasies.

Read more on my blog: http://buff.ly/1ax0c2P #sociology #stemwomen