Why screaming louder about Science might not be enough

Science is being seriously threatened. It is certainly amazing to see the scientific community joining efforts and resisting to it. A March for Science is currently being organized, and a newly formed group called 314 Action is encouraging scientists to run for office. Scientists are all fired up to communicate more their science to the general public. But just screaming louder may not bring optimal results. One must understand that science is political, no matter what field it is (@Hood_Biologist).

Studies show both Democrats and Republicans like the same policy better when they’re told it’s supported by their own party. This is called politically motivated reasoning, and leads people to seek out information that reinforces their ideas (confirmation bias), and counter-argue information that contradicts their ideas (disconfirmation bias). We talked about this topic on our last #DiversityJC, in which we discussed the article The Nature and Origins of Misperceptions.

“In the experiment, participants were randomly assigned to receive a table of outcome data that was labeled as either showing how a skin cream affects a rash or how gun control affects crime. The success of the intervention (i.e., skin cream, gun control) was also randomly varied between respondents.

When the table was presented as data about whether a skin cream helped a rash or not, there were no major differences in how people of different ideological leanings interpreted the data. But when the data were instead presented as evidence about the effectiveness of gun control, people’s interpretation of the results became polarized by ideology.”

So it doesn’t really matter what the facts are actually showing, people’s interpretation will vary, depending if the information reinforces or contradicts directional (party) preferences. In this excellent piece GETTING A SCIENTIFIC MESSAGE ACROSS MEANS TAKING HUMAN NATURE INTO ACCOUNT, @NeuWriteSD discusses how in reality, just knowing facts doesn’t necessarily guarantee that one’s opinions and behaviors will be consistent with them. One must first consider human nature, and overcome cognitive biases.

In fact I believe that most of the people who are anti-vaccines, anti-global warming, anti-GMO are not really anti-science. Those opinions seem to be less related to ideologies but more related to express their emotional beliefs. In other words, they seem to truly BELIEVE that those are actual threats to themselves and their loved ones. In her new book, Strangers in Their Own Land, sociologist Arlie Hochschild says that “while people might vote against their economic needs, they’re actually voting to serve their emotional needs.” (H/T) this week’s episode of the Hidden Brain.

But how can we fight it? A recent study showed that this politically motivated reasoning can be tamped down – with CURIOSITY! You can read The Atlantic’s article about it here or dig into the full paper. In that paper, the authors present evidence that, as science curiosity increases, subjects tend not to polarize in their judgements but rather adjust their opinions of them. The authors demonstrate the utility of the new “science of science communication”, suggesting that it is possible to construct a valid science curiosity
instrument to reach those people, and scientists need to be sufficiently concrete about its focus, avoids social appeal effects, and not rely exclusively on self-report measures.

One other approach that we can keep in mind is brought by the principle of behavioral economics, that states that when it comes to human beings, there is a conflict between the passions and the impartial spectator. The most famous paper published back in 1979 describes that “the ways in which alternatives are framed—not simply their relative value—heavily influence the decisions people make“. So taking those principles into account, we should aim not only to describe Science but frame it in an optimal way for our audience to “buy it”.

Easy? Of course not. But we must use all efforts and strategies to fight for Science and make sure that our message is delivered – and understood – properly.

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How are things going? 1 year post-academia update

I know I’ve been way too negligent with this blog. I think about cool things to write about all the time, but either they don’t seem that cool anymore after a while, or I don’t take the time to write about them. But on July 1st I celebrated one year working outside academia, and a lot of people has been asking me: how are you doing? How things are working for you?

I wrote a blogpost about six months ago about how things were going back then: “There’s life after academia: 6 months update“. Things changed a bit in the following 6 months. In fact, work started to become much easier than in the beginning. I acquired experience on how to talk to professors in order to understand their research and their equipment needs, make quotes, and everything else involved in the process. I actually feel like I know what I’m talking about! (most of the time, at least). Of course, I still need help, but things are much easier now.

On one hand this is pretty amazing, but on the other hand I must confess that I started to feel a little bored. I work mainly from home, and I started to miss human interaction. I’m on the phone about 4+ hours per day, but this is definitely not the same as interacting with people, physically. I’m a people person, after all!

So I started to “force myself” to go out more often. Visit more professors, interact more with people that were not really planning to buy any equipment from me, but people that are worth meeting (and that are willing to meet me, of course!). I also started some side projects. My old PI asked if I could share some tips with the graduate student that is still in the “lab”. I’ve been acting as a consultant, helping the GS with guidance and suggestions mainly. And it’s great to have an excuse to go to campus, so I can still visit other labs once I’m there. Although it feels really good to help and to share your knowledge, amazingly this didn’t make me miss academia, or made me want to come back. I’m happy where I am now!

I also came back to be more active on Twitter. After my crisis of not knowing who I was on Twitter after my career move, (you can read more about it here) I think I finally found my new place there and feel comfortable tweeting again. I’ve lost some followers, but gained lots of new ones! I’m still mediating our #DiversityJC once a month with Emily And Ian. This Diversity journal club reads literature & holds Twitter discussions relevant to #diversityinSTEM every 3rd Friday of the month (for more info, take a look at our blog). I must confess that at some point I thought about giving this up, but now I’m so glad I didn’t. It’s really gratifying to make part of it.

And now we are about to launch our Recovery Academic Podcast, along with Amanda and Ian. This project required a little more work and preparation, but now that things are ready to go, it’s super fun to record the episodes. It feels like we are having a beer among friends and discussing that “there’s sunshine outside the ivory tower”. I’m super excited about it! All those things make me busy, and by being busy I don’t have time to feel bored anymore – and life goes on 😊.

PhD career interests patterns #DiversityJC recap

And here we go with the last #DiversityJC of the year. I’m so happy that we are keeping it up and that our journal club is getting bigger and stronger! This week our discussion was about how the career interests of biomedical science PhDs patterns change according to race/ethnicity and gender. You can see the full article here.  Also, you can read the complete storify kindly made by @MinorityPostdoc.

@labroides started venting about how the article casts leaving academia as problematic. (What IMO is a very good issue and I’m planning to write a blogpost about this soon). “But putting that to the side, the real question is why do we see this differential filtering?” @aiquintero mentioned it isn’t because URM&W aren’t successful, motivated, well-mentored. @IHStreet suggested that in tough economic times, people stick to status quo/less openness. Although the decline in $ for research is general, this may be harder among women and even harder for URMW.

However, @biochembelle mentioned that the article shows women exhibit lower interest in research faculty path even at start of PhD. So why this happens? Some sort of impostor syndrome?@aiquintero stated that # of publications, mentorship, etc was controlled for (in the article). If professional success ~ fit, then something else is missing! @CEK_1of9 replied that it might be the classic problem of no role models that “look like me”, which starts in graduate school. @IHStreet added that there are more visible women in STEM than ever. But may still be early days yet to really drive change. But how can women find a niche if they don’t apply? (Studies show bid drop in number that apply for TT positions).

Along this line @drugmonkeyblog continued saying that Recruitment and retention can be salary, research support, techs, postdocs and even jr faculty lines. Yet you should hear the mewling and whining should anyone suggest paying a huge bonus over expected to recruit a PoC. So *of course* Universities continue to fail to *look* diverse and therefore create impression it is impossible as a career.

@SFBakshi wondered if conference participation/networking in grad school plays a role in choice to pursue academia. The article states that perceived sense of “belonging” – either intellectually or socially – was not associated with interests. Although authors note as study limitations that respondents might try to give “socially acceptable” answers. But this goes together with the line of thought that is not straight impostor syndrome.

@biochembelle replied that this study provides some measures. It doesn’t provide “why” (part of future work). So, how do you encourage the interested without dismissing those who aren’t? There are some programs trying to address this, eg this one from Northwestern

@aiquintero suggested that academia is repellant because perceived as hostile to family/work-life balance. This was questioned by @DoctorZen: More than professions like medicine, law? Not known as relaxed environment. Not really, but those professions tend to pay better & have diversity of practices. So the problem is in academia, or professions more generally? Probably both!

I believe I will end up with this as food for thoughts for next #DiversityJC. We will resume it next year, January 9th, 11EST. Please let me know if you want to be included in the email list or if there’s a suggestion to change the day/time of our journal club next year. Happy holidays and see you in 2015!

#BlackLivesMatter… but what about in academia? A #DiversityJC recap.

I don’t know about anyone else, but in the wake of the non-indictments of Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (and allllllll the other people of color assaulted and made dead by police), I had a tough time getting work done. I felt distracted and depressed, exhausted from the excuses I saw on social media and how backwards everything seemed. Yet, as Jon Stewart (another person of considerable privilege) put it, I could only imagine what it would be like to actually live these experiences as a person of color. On twitter, we discussed briefly if the Diversity Journal Club should address the current state of things more directly, or if we needed to stay more academic.

Laura Williams (@MicroWaveSci) had a great solution:

For me, these articles (found here and here) made painfully clear that diversity issues directly concern academic and scientific communities. Even if you feel racial injustice doesn’t affect you directly, these articles demonstrate they do impact your colleagues, your friends, and your students.

Our discussion opened with the divide between racial groups, and how this persists in academia. These can be physical, such as living in a very white or racially divided area. They similarly exist in academic communities, where departments are very often dominated by white men.

Yet the divide also manifests in less obvious ways: When you are not part of the minority group, you don’t have to care about minority issues. We don’t have to talk about them, even when we talk about other major social events.

And if we do talk about them, we can be woefully, painfully, ignorant.

And this is at the mild end of the spectrum. The excuses I heard on social media were downright disturbing.

But even if you do care, and you are aware of the real issues, and you do discuss them appropriately, as the articles make clear, they don’t affect you nearly as acutely.


This has real repercussions across academic communities, and across the career arc of minorities
. As students, as the article points out, their science may not feel as immediate as the injustice they and others deal with every day – injustice that may get them arrested or dead. This is a real threat to their person, and their ability to work and learn.

Furthermore, if the community around them while in school isn’t discussing very real injustice, or is outwardly dismissing it, this only increases the divide, deepening the difference between a student’s life and their academic training and community. They can feel so disconnected, as albatrossphd (@albatrossphd) noted, some mentees don’t even know others would care. If this isn’t enough, they are often also expected to shoulder the responsibility of enacting change, while others around them don’t have to care.

As students progress in their careers, they continue to be the minority as faculty. They continue to be surrounded by colleagues that don’t appear to care or be affected, and remain responsible for changing things when others don’t speak up. They are likely to also want or be expected to sit on a range of committees and do additional work as the token minority faculty member. Little of this work is acknowledged, valued, or included in the tenure process.


This is how diversity directly impacts peopleyour colleagues and peers and students if you aren’t in a minority groupthroughout their careers. From start to finish.

Add to all of this the fact that white peers and colleagues don’t have to care about anything but their research, and can focus their passion on science and science alone. This is likely not the case for minority students and academics, as one of our articles argues. There is a struggle to balance your life’s work, with your life.


In addition, academia operates as if we are all under the same standards. It wants us to believe it is a meritocracy. If you are smart enough, work hard enough, are passionate enough, you will succeed. This idea is willfully ignorant of reality.


So. What do we do? While we discussed why and how diversity matters to academia, we also discussed what steps we can take – especially as allies for people of color. First, we talked about whether or not we should bring these issues up with our students – is it appropriate to talk about Ferguson in class? Did we need to? How do we bring it up and in what space?

Personally, I believe we have a responsibility to discuss these issues, to make clear that we do care and we are not going to be silence. We need to initiate conversations, “signal support” to mentees (Laura Williams, @MicroWaveSci), and figure out “stating your stance” to the community at large (Luna CM Centifanti, @LunaCentifanti). As Chris Rock has put it recently, racism is really a white problem. It is about white actions, it is white people that need to be educated and it is our behavior that needs to be altered. It is up to us as white people to make change. Our silence, our inability or unwillingness to speak up, does nothing for that change.

But how do we go about it? We also shared some experiences and some tips for bringing up what are indeed difficult subjects that are outside the scope of the classes we seek. For instance, it can be as simple as checking in with our students.

…and it can be helpful and safe to have the conversation one-on-one:

In addition to smaller conversations, we can bring these things up in class:

Sometimes other issues are more important than science.

There is a larger world out there with significant problems we as a society need to address, issues that feed back into scientific institutions and communities that claim to be above the fray. They are not, and if we do nothing, they will remain that way.

One piece of advice was to bring recent events and transition them to discussions of why they matter to the science we’re doing and discussing.

However, albatrossphd (@albatrossphd) shared that her attempt at conversation didn’t go that well at first:

Despite this, we determined that even bringing it up at all still demonstrates these issues are important to you, and could be helpful in the long term – that students may think about later. It still clearly mattered to some in the classroom, even if they didn’t know how to continue the dialogue:


In addition to students, as Laura Williams (@MicroWaveSci) pointed out, we also need to be thinking about ways to reach out to staff, faculty, and others.

We can mentor and support junior faculty and junior staff, including postdocs. In addition, for me, this means being visible and vocal. Show up for rallies and on-campus conversations, volunteer to be on committees. Share your views on the importance of diversity at your institution and be informed on why diversity matters. We are scientists – every day we discuss evidence and make arguments. We can and should do that with diversity at our respective institutions. Speak up about student issues, hiring, promotion, etc.

…and encourage our institutions to directly address diversity:

This is also happening at my previous institution, the University of New Hampshire, but we need people ensuring it isn’t just lip service and translates into action. This, of course, means we get leadership and administration on board. After all, leadership is key for systemic change, and determining the direction, priorities, and environment of an institution:

We can do more to make clear that these things matter to us. That we are allies, and we are (or want to be) engaged in the movement.

We can also “just check in” with our friends and colleagues, with our peers.

But we should follow such check-ins with “what can I do?”

Check-ins should also be done broadly, as a way to focus attention on these important issues. It’s not just checking in individually, it’s checking in with our communities, our institutions, asking “how are we doing on this? What are we doing about this?” Doing this alone makes clear you know these things affect everyone together, and that it is something we address together.

Doing all of these things are critical steps we can all take, and they have a secondary result: they also mean you help share the responsibility of creating change.


Of course, it’s more than just our immediate academic communities. We need to look at the people around us, too – including our families and our kids.


In the end, I realized the connection between science and diversity is not just about how we speak up and take action around diversity and for social justice specifically, but it also means doing great, interesting science that we share with others.

This is also where it matters. Where we connect with others, with the next generations. Where we encourage passion and curiosity – and where we say “yes. You can do this too.”


For me, it also means doing the best science now will put me in a better position, in a leadership position, later down the line – one I can leverage to address diversity issues, to amplify diverse voices, and support diverse careers. This is also how my science can make a difference one day. I am committed to a career that focuses on diversity issues, as well as a career of interesting and useful science. These are not mutually exclusive career objectives.


I know I am not alone.


Thank you to everyone who joined in and followed the discussion! Please let me know if there are any errors here, or if I missed anyone. Leave additional thoughts, questions, etc, in the comments here, or on twitter under #DiversityJC!


Give these fine folks a follow, too (in no particular order)!

Ruth Hufbauer (@hufbauer)
Luna CM Centifanti (@LunaCentifanti)
Megan McCuller (@mccullermi)
Laura Williams (@MicroWaveSci)
albatrossphd (@albatrossphd)
Rebecca Pollet (@rmpollet)
urbie delgado (@urbie)
Joshua Drew (@Drew_Lab)
Cynthia Malone (@cynth_malone)
Cleyde Helena (@cleydevan)
Roy W. Smolens Jr (@smoroi)
April Wright (@WrightingApril)
Cheng H. Lee (@chenghlee)


Thanks again and watch for a new article – the last of 2014! – on Monday 15 December.

Doctor PMS (@Doctor_PMS)
Emily Klein (@DrEmilySKlein)

5th #DiversityJC recap

I believe it’s this time of year, everybody is so busy! Sorry for the delay, but here goes last week’s #DiversityJC recap! We have a limited audience, but the discussion was great, as always!

I started the conversation asking What can we do to help academic training of conservation scientists?  As @biochembelle pointed out, academic training is a very broad term. Maybe undertaking historical reviews of contributors and perspectives, with intentional balance of representation of underrepresented minority/women. @DrEmilySKlein pointed it out that our goal is incentive the convo to lead to actions we can take in reality.

The article suggests more forums at conferences, in journals and on social media to increase conservation awareness. @CEK_1of9 brought our attention to the fact that scientists arguing just do conservation a disservice because general population thinks things like “climate change isn’t real”, when the real discussion should be “how much of it is real”. I agreed that to increase conservation awareness in the general public should be scientist’s priority #1.

Probably because women are called “whiny little girls” when doing so… as @mccullermi pointed sharing this very relevant link of a letter from a woman conservationist. @DrEmilySKlein suggested to amplify diverse voices when hiring, determining a conference panel or session, putting together collaborations. @biochembelle pointed that although it can ring of “fix the people not the system” but we also need to help prepare people for being there… Maybe increasing conservative awareness through local outreach, social media and classroom education!

That’s it. You can add your name to the call for inclusive conservation at http://diverseconservation.org. And see you next Friday for a new #DiversityJC discussion!

 

4th #DiversityJC recap – guest post by @DrEmilySKlein

My dear Diversity Journal Club,

 First and foremost, my sincerest apologies for not having this blog to you sooner. I blame traveling and jetlag!

 Emily

Computing power is increasing rapidly, and with it the questions we can ask in a range of fields. Tasks that seemed beyond reach, and then once took hours or even days, are now happening immediately and with enhanced flexibility. For my own work, I’ve coded in rudimentary R, then Matlab, and have used command line and remote servers to access powerful model code and run reams of data. Currently, I’m trying to learn Python and, more recently and with more difficulty, Julia (this language is not intuitive for me).

Despite the increasing importance of knowing how to code, it seems doing so runs along some familiar boundaries. A recent NPR story connected a decline in women coding with advertising of computers focused on boys. Girls no longer felt computers were “for them” and ended up avoiding coding, while boys taught themselves. The difference, of course, manifests itself later on – when young women also fail to enroll in coding classes, despite the increasing importance of coding in a multitude of fields.

Last week’s Diversity Journal Club focused on this NPR story, and the potential barriers to learning to code. Immediately, our topic seemed to strike a nerve.

People want to talk about coding.

Coding is a big deal these days. It’s increasing rapidly (exponentially even) in importance and application. In my line of work, it’s no longer recommended but required. You’re asked not if you code, but what languages you use.  But learning to code is challenging – as was pointed out, it is literally like learning a new language.

The NPR story, and our discussion, highlighted how that challenge also falls out along gender, and other diversity, lines. We quickly got into how much support is critical, starts very early, and as InBabyAttachMode (@BabyAttachMode) put it: the “implicit and explicit statements about computers/coding being for boys is key”.

Indeed, although Evil Lucian (@FoolsExperiment) noted how much having a parent teach you general curiosity and the same skills along with your male siblings can be critical, this can be undermined when even those parents have still internalized our societal gender binary – and are “surprise to find [their daughter] there handing him tools instead of playing with Barbies.”

Implicit, and explicit, bias and stereotypes have concurrent outward consequences, like developing and seeking out new skills, or internal ones, like seeing yourself as capable or incapable of doing something and having confidence in your abilities.

We start to internalize things that can seem rather insignificant. If society, the media, advertising, other people (or their messages) tell us (even indirectly) that something isn’t for us, we tend to start believing it’s because we can’t do this thing.

In addition, those that are privileged with supporting messages and access, those who already have the skills and could teach you – don’t get the issue, or the barriers.

Moreover, they likely also got the message and also believe we can’t do this thing.

These barriers are pervasive, and translate widely. Any difficulties you may have in learning are tagged as personal limitations – not a place to offer support. The culture itself becomes another barrier, and extends far beyond “computers are for boys!” advertising.

In addition, the lack of diversity in anything can have more drastic consequences, and changing that inofitself can be crazy difficult. People hate giving up their privilege. To the coding and gaming topic, this has translated to men feeling ostracized (??) by women entering gaming spaces, despite the fact that it’s actually life-threatening (hashtag-Gamergate) for women.

There’s also the myth that you have to learn it when you’re younger, so you might as well give up if you don’t already know it.

If you didn’t have a computer, or were told you shouldn’t want one, and now you need to know how to code, but it’s challenging and people are telling you “well, shoulda learned that already…

To sum up: While the NPR story highlights the idea that girls stopped coding because advertising for computers targeted boys, because “boys like computer games and math, and girls like dolls”, the lack of girls in coding translates widely, and creates real barriers to women in coding, despite its increasing importance.

These biases and barriers are likely not just gendered.

It’s also about resources and access. If you couldn’t afford a computer, it didn’t matter your gender. We all know that socioeconomic class is often along racial lines as well. This is likely not just when you’re younger, but as you advance in your career – do you have access to computers and coding education? In addition, do you have the time to learn?

This made me wonder how these messages also run along other lines of diversity. To me, it seems that coding is really for white, privileged boys.

We did, however, wonder how much this was clouded by where we lived. As biochem belle (@biochembelle) pointed out, women were well-represented in Malaysia, and The New PI (@TheNewPI) noted computer science is popular with girls in the Middle East. We should be careful to avoid generalizing based on our own experiences – and what were they doing right? What can we learn from that?

Finally, Doctor PMS (@Doctor_PMS) played @labroides and asked what we do about this?

We need education – starting at a young age, but also through higher ed. We need greater access to resources across the board.

We also need to “demistify” coding and math as for boys (@Doctor_PMS), and we need to show that many people code (@mccullermi), and that it can be learned at any stage in your career.

Getting us over the initial challenge of seeing ourselves as being able to code is also demonstrating, as NotThatKindaDr.Kline (@MichelleAKline) points out, that it’s not a “magical talent/gift”. Doing so may be very simple, too:

In addition, we should be making clear that coding can be critical for research, and is likely increasing in its importance. It’s not just about learning to code, it’s about why you should – about learning that it’s a skill, a part of research.

We also need to stop with the “coding wars”. As Cheng H. Lee (@chenghlee) pointed out, it’s a field that can be “abusive towards ‘outsiders’”, and drawing lines around which languages are “right” or “better” also makes navigating the coding world that much more intimidating. @chenghlee went on to point out how focusing on a preferred language can be used to deride and exclude others, and Laura Williams (@MicroWaveSci) noted it was “gate-keeping” that also drove newbies away.

I also think we just need to talk about this. We need to air this out. We need to a space to talk about our experiences, to understand we’re not alone in feeling this. That biases and their consequences are pervasive and systemic – and that they last.

Finally, there are little things we can each do to help learn coding ourselves.

Although Megan McCuller (@mccullermi) noted that we need hands-on experience too – and this can be a challenge. Laura Williams (@MicroWavesSci) followed up that “small doses of exposure” may help – but I have to agree that getting experience can be tough. For me, I often google the language I’m learning and “online tutorials” to get free exercises I can run myself. Of course, the Lynda classes I have access to via Princeton are also great – but have a cost! There are other free (http://www.codecademy.com/) pay-for (https://www.codeschool.com/) online schools too.

And, of course, one thing not to do:

GIRLS DON’T JUST LIKE PINK AND DOLLS, ALREADY.

Instead, maybe we start real conversations and real communities about this.

I think this is a fantastic idea – who’s with me?

In my personal opinion, the conversation around coding really crystalized much of the barriers across STEM fields. First, the messages we received from an early age and throughout our careers on what we can and cannot based solely on physical attributes and generalizations. These barriers are not necessarily obvious, but can be deeply internalized – both for those marginalized and those with access. Second, it’s not just the message, but the resources we have available. Not everyone can afford a computer at home to learn on, or goes to a school that has them widely available. These resource barriers can extend beyond high school graduation. For instance, in addition to programs for personal computer purchases, my current home, Princeton University, provides free access to Lydia courses. These offer a huge range of online tutorials for almost all the programming languages (I haven’t seen Julia there yet… I looked), from beginner to advanced. These offer a personalize way to learn programming, outside a classroom where it can be intimidating. I have no idea how much a Lydia subscription costs, but it may be an example of a resource not all institutions have.  Third, our conversation also made clear, once again, the importance of community, of having people to commiserate with certainly, but also people you can identify with. People who make you feel normal, that the difficulties you have are normal – and not an actual personal failing.

Finally, some links and resources shared:

A Teenager Gets Grilled By Her Dad About Why She’s Not That Into Coding: https://medium.com/matter/you-should-learn-to-code-is-the-new-you-should-go-to-law-school-talk-dads-love-to-have-b03bd22b3c99

Beginning Perl for Bioinformatics: http://cbb.sjtu.edu.cn/course/database/beginning.pdf

The Intersection of Gender, race, and Cultural Boundaris, or Why is Computer Science in Malaysia Dominated by Women?: http://sss.sagepub.com/content/39/6/885.short

The reddit conversation over “When Women Stopped Coding”: http://www.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/comments/2jmq9u/when_women_stopped_coding/

Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LaralynMcWilliams/20141030/229072/Shes_Not_Playing_It_Wrong.php

Thank you to everyone who participated (apologies and let me know if I missed anyone or got anything typed in wrong)! Give these fine folks a follow…

Laura Williams (@MicroWaveSci)

Megan McCuller (@mccullermi)

Rebecca Pollet (@rmpollet)

InBabyAttachMode (@BabyAttachMode)

biochem belle (@biochembelle)

Alycia Mosley Austin (@AlyciaPhD)

Josue Ortega Caro (@josueortc)

Cheng H Lee (@chenghlee)

Elita Baldridge (@elitabaldridge)

Urbie Delgado (@urbie)

The New PI (@TheNewPI)

Caitlin Rivers (@cmyeaton)

Eric Lofgren (@GermsAndNumbers)

Bree Sxostek Barker (@MicroBreePhD)

NotThatKindaDr.Kline (@MichelleAKline)

Wandering Scientist (@wandsci)

Colin Quirke (@ColinQuirke)

Let It Go, 134 Times (@colinized)

Evil Lucian @FoolsExperiment

‘Til next week!

XX

Emily (@DrEmilySKlein)

Doctor_PMS (@Doctor_PMS)

Jonathan Goya (@jkgoya – who could not join us last week).

3rd #DiversityJC recap, guest post by @jkgoya

Our third #DiversityJC article was this letter presenting and analyzing the changes in women and minority involvement in the Ecological Society of America, at both the membership and leadership levels. As a letter from members of the Society, to the Society, critiquing the Society, it represents an important type of critical feedback, and it gives us a chance to see the Society’s response to the letter (as well as the community response).

The letter suggested that the absence of women and underrepresented minorities in the Society leadership could be attributed to either a time lag as we wait for the recent changes in membership proportions to propagate to leadership, or that selection committees preferentially exclude women and underrepresented minorities from consideration, whether intentionally or otherwise.

I think we agreed here, that just giving it time would not lead to balancing out the proportions.

Another point that was discussed was that it’s often potentially damaging to one’s career to speak out about these kinds of issues (diversity, harassment, injustice generally). I’ll leave off embedding those tweets as it seems wrong to publicly blog an embedded tweet in which someone expresses concern about speaking out.

We also discussed what happens outside of academia. Is it better or worse? What role does academia play in the larger culture?

 

Finally, many links were shared to try to answer some of these questions:

The importance of open access to research for supporting diversity:

http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcseriesblog/2012/12/06/guest-blog-why-i-publish-open-access/

An example of the scale of hostility that can exist outside academia:

http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2013/05/post_269.html

Reports from various STEM-related organizations on career trajectories:

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/start.cfm?CFID=16466301&CFTOKEN=55531281&jsessionid=f030f7015d517b2f872e303224a2f61e45f3

http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/asbmbtoday_article.aspx?id=15855&page_id=2

http://www.biochemistry.org/Portals/0/SciencePolicy/Docs/Chemistry%20Report%20For%20Web.pdf

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2012/may/24/why-women-leave-academia

http://diversegreen.org/report/