Monday, June 18, 2007

Women in Science Friday Link Roundup - Monday Edition

Here are interesting links from last week that I didn't get around to blogging. And yes, it's a Monday edition because I was out of town on Friday with no computer or internet connection- blissful!

Scientist and science fiction writer Nina Munteanu writes about her hero, biologist Lynn Margulis. She also gave me a nice shout out. Thanks Nina!

Feministing points out that ex-Harvard president Larry Summers was profiled in the New York Times magazine. There is discussion in the comments about Summers' widely-criticized comments about women in the sciences.

Janet Stemwedel points out that not all great science posts are uplifting, and links to a few that could break your heart.

Flicka Mawa rounds up the recent blogosphere discussion of work/life balance in academia.

Sandra Kiume explains in the Inkling Magazine Book Club why Louann Brizendine's The Female Brain pisses her off: the crappy science.

Science writer David Bradley reprints a 2004 article (originally published in the now-defunct HMS Beagle) that takes a look at the glass ceiling for women in science careers in Europe.

Statistics from the UK's Royal Society of Chemistry reveal that the percentage of female graduates is higher in chemistry than in physics and mathematics but is lower than in biology. Non-science subjects, such as French and English, still beat the sciences by a wide margin. The female to male ratio of undergraduates in the biological sciences is roughly 50:50. The percentage of females achieving higher degrees in chemistry is smaller than at first degree but it is increasing. US government statistics reflect something similar for the sciences in general, showing that women are approaching half of science and engineering bachelor's degree recipients having been steadily increasing since the 1980s.

But degrees don't always facilitate career progression. We are still seeing a strong gender bias. The first full female chemistry professor in the UK, Judith Howard of Durham University, only took her chair in 1991. In chemistry, there were a mere 0.8% females. Extrapolations see no parity between male and female professors existing before the year 2120!
The Society for Women's Health Research writes about the lack of women receiving Presidential Medal of Honor awards. They have established the RAISE project to ensure that women are nominated for national awards in science, engineering, technology, mathematics and medicine.

“Women scientists across the nation are doing tremendous work, but they often do not receive the recognition they deserve for their achievements,” Greenberger said. “Women often fail to nominate themselves and many never ask others to nominate them for awards, so we have established a program to aid the process.

“Given that so few women have received the National Medal of Science, I hope the White House, the National Science Foundation and the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation, all of which play a role in promoting medal, will strengthen their targeted outreach and promotions to ensure that qualified women are nominated and recognized.”

The Washington Post writes about a report from the Business-Higher Education Forum on the lack of math and science teachers in the U.S. The report calls for higher pay, better mentoring, and a reduced teaching load the first year to better retain young science teachers. According to the report, one of the reasons for the science teacher shortage is that "Women no longer provide the captive teacher labor pool that they were prior to 1980."

Kansas State University runs a mathematics and science summer program for middle school girls called "MASTER IT!" According to the director, "This wonderful program allows these
girls to have fun with math and science doing hands-on workshops with
women professionals and university math and science faculty."

The Miami Herald reports on
the IBM-sponsored summer camp for girls at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science called GREAT (Girls Really Excelling at Technology).

''I like how women can be so smart,'' [13-year-old Isha Chambers] said. "Women can do things
just as well as men can, if not better.''

Lynda Hise, 12, agreed.

''I get so mad when people say things are only for boys to do,'' she

Lynda said she doesn't know if she wants to pursue a career in science,
but she is always eager to learn something new, like how to build a

Finally, Andrew Wheeler links to a discussion on "Sexism and Science Fiction" on the Asmiov's discussion boards. It definitely reinforces the idea that science fiction is for boys, or, as Andrew puts it "you might want to reset your watch to 1885 before reading."

Next edition: on Friday, for real!

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Flicka Mawa said...

Hey, thanks for the link to my page and all the other great stuff to check out!