Friday, June 12, 2015

AASWOMEN Newsletter for June 12, 2015

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of June 12, 2015
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. How to Collect Matches that Will Catch Fire

2. The Tim Hunt Roundup

3. Imposter Syndrome

4. Study finds Sexism in STEM Hits Women of Color the Hardest

5. 8 Tips for Announcing Your Workforce Diversity Numbers

6. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

8. Access to Past Issues


1. How to Collect Matches that Will Catch Fire

From: Avi Loeb via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Science can only blossom if young researchers are rewarded for acquired skills and growth rather than inherited academic ancestry.

Will a match catch fire when it scratches against the rugged matchbox wall? Knowing the answer is of paramount importance if we want to collect useful matches in our box. One way to find out is to try them all. The only problem with this approach is that by the time we will know the answer, the burnt matches will be of no value. The challenge is how to select useful matches reliably in advance? Putting this challenge into an academic context, how can we select a cohort of promising scientists before they have made their discoveries? This is the fundamental challenge of academic planning. Prestigious universities are plagued by past hirings which led to ‘duds’ or ‘dead wood’, namely faculty who when hired were labeled as geniuses with great promise but in retrospect, decades later, had little impact on the progress of science. At the same time, some of their contemporaries who were not endorsed by prominent scientists and hence moved to faculty positions at lesser schools, carried the day. Without mentioning names, suffice it to say that this is a familiar occurrence. Why is this phenomenon so prevalent?

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/06/how-to-collect-matches-that-will-catch.html

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2. The Tim Hunt Roundup

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

Nobel Prize-Winning biologist Tim Hunt was in the news a lot this past week for some comments he made at the World Conference for Science Journalists in South Korea. His remarks were not recorded, but the journalists developed a "post-hoc transcript," including the following gem:

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” he reportedly said. “You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry!”

Read more about the initial event here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/tim-hunt-sexism-and-science-the-real-trouble-with-girls-in-labs-1.3110133

After that, Dr. Hunt issued an "apology," including such quintessential non-apologies as: "I'm really, really sorry I caused any offence, that's awful. I certainly didn't mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually."

Read more about the apology here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33077107

After receiving a large amount of media backlash, Dr. Hunt resigned from his position at University College London:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33090022

And on a lighter note, female scientists posting to Twitter under the hashtag #distractinglysexy did a great job of showing us just how absurd Dr. Hunt's comments were:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/biohazard-suits-are-nsfw

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3. Imposter Syndrome

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

By Jason Wright

Who needs to know about imposter syndrome? Who is this talk for?

1. Those who suffer from imposter syndrome, especially those that are unaware of what it is, or that it is common and fixable 2. Their colleagues, teachers, mentors, supervisors (i.e. those covered by #1, and everybody else!)

Imposter syndrome is so common in our profession, we will all be better off if it is widely understood and appreciated, both because those with it can deal with it and those that support them can do so better.

Read more at:

http://sites.psu.edu/astrowright/2015/06/02/imposter-syndrome

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4. Study finds Sexism in STEM Hits Women of Color the Hardest

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

By Kenrya Rankin Naas el

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that not only are women struggling to get ahead in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, but women of color are disproportionately impacted by bias and prejudice in the workplace.

The study’s authors—Joan C. Williams, Kathrine W. Phillips and Erika V. Hall—worked with the Association of Women in Science to survey 557 female scientists and interview 60 of them to gain insight into how bias impacts them on a daily basis. Their findings support the growing theory that the low numbers of women working in STEM fields isn’t solely due to a lack of candidates in the pipeline or even women who choose other careers that they feel will allow for better work-life balance. The results made it quite clear that there are five distinct issues that push women out of the field: Having to constantly prove competence, needing to be “feminine enough,” having their commitment questioned when they have children, encountering manufactured competition between women, and being socially isolated.

Read more at:

http://www.colorlines.com/articles/study-finds-sexism-stem-hits-women-color-hardest

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5. 8 Tips for Announcing Your Workforce Diversity Numbers

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

via the National Center for Women and Information Technology

Releasing the diversity demographics of your technical workforce is important for stimulating open conversation and measuring efforts to increase diversity in your organization. These tips will help you plan the release of this data and take follow-up steps to implement meaningful change efforts toward increasing diversity.

Read more at:

https://www.ncwit.org/resources/ncwit-tips-8-tips-announcing-your-workforce-diversity-numbers/ncwit-tips-8-tips-announcing

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6. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to topics, send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org

All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email address.

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7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

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8. Access to Past Issues

http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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