WICB Blog - Women In Cell Biology
Greetings fellow Cell Biologists! We have created this electronic space in response to the suggestions and requests we received in the most recent annual meeting. This will be a moderated space as currently we feel that is probably the best format. This is a work in progress so I hope you will be patient as I serve the role as moderator of this space. Ideas on development and direction are always welcome.
"Change the world by being yourself" — that's the motto of Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler's new website, Smart Girls at the Party. The actress, along with two other women — Meredith Walker and Amy Miles — produce short videos where they interview girls interested in STEM about their interests and projects. Take, for example, this video of Poehler with Rachel, a young girl who builds robots for fun. The Bad Astronomy blog calls it "supportive and funny, snarky and warm," and an important way to encourage young women interested in science, even as the scientific world works to resolve gender disparity. http://www.genomeweb.com//node/945783?hq_e=el&hq_m=771691&hq_l=2&hq_v=7a24586d4c
"....For most of us, but especially for probationary faculty members, family dynamics affect career success. Talking about those issues, however, is risky. Far beyond battles over politics and theory, family matters can incite testiness in the faculty lounge and glares at the coffee machine....." If you have not seen it yet, check this article from the recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Okay, so the choices were limited to computer engineer, architect, environmentalist, news anchor and surgeon. No cell biologist here, but still, a move in the right direction, perhaps. What's that oft repeated dictum....if you can't effect change on your terms, do it on theirs? Note that "... while the popular vote went to computer engineer, Mattel noted that girls selected news anchor as their favored career for the doll that, over the years, has been an aerobics instructor, nurse, flight attendant, NASCAR driver and an ambassador."
The title to this post is taken from Katha Pollitt's recent column in The Nation (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100125/pollitt). There seem to be a number of related articles in various other publications too - The Economist for one (http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15174489; see also links included in the article). Both these articles make interesting points and equally interesting are the comments posted by readers. Check them out when you have a moment.
Greetings! It was good to see everyone at the networking meeting yesterday. Please do consider posting on this site. In the meantime, here is an NYT article quoting Liz Blackburn and Carol Greider talking about some of the things we discussed at the networking session. Click on, or copy and paste this link for the article - http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/12/06/world/AP-EU-Sweden-Nobel-Women.html
If you know a woman who deserves this recognition, why not nominate her? Share this with your friends. You don't have to be a woman to nominate someone. http://www.ct.org/_new/innovation/woi_nomination_pre.aspx. The Women of Innovation Planning Committee of the Connecticut Technology Council is seeking nominations of women in Connecticut for recognition of their efforts in the technology, science and engineering fields for the 2010 Women of Innovation Awards Dinner. The sixth annual awards dinner will be held at the Aqua Turf in Southington on January 28, 2010. Honored will be women who are innovators, role models, and leaders who work as researchers, educators, managers or service providers in technology, science and engineering. Nominees can come from such fields as biotech, pharmaceuticals, telecom, software, computer hardware, electronics, alternative energy, nanotech, medical devices, IT, networks, communications and robotics. Do you know a woman whose efforts should be acknowledged in science, engineering, technology research, or education, or is working in a company providing professional services to these communities, or is in a scientific, engineering or technology company management position? If yes, then please complete the nomination form by November 6th 2009.
"As scientists, we are trained to recognize the limitations that might undermine our own conclusions, and it often feels very uncomfortable to present a simplified message. Furthermore, many non-scientists seem uneasy when the language and concepts get too ‘scientific' and complicated, and seem to prefer ending the conversation to asking for clarification. Movement needs to come from both directions to bridge these gaps. In the long run, we desperately need a more educated and literate public. However, because many factions of our society benefit from the ignorance of our populace, there will be both individual and systematic resistance to these attempts. I remain optimistic, in part because of the expectation the internet has created for available, reliable information." This is a spot-on excerpt from Vivian Siegel's editorial from the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of a relatively new journal - Disease Models and Mechanisms - from the Company of Biologists. For those of you who have not seen this journal, definitely check out the link provided here. Also, please read the editorial I have quoted - you can read it here. One way to engage the public is through science cafes - check this url to find one near you and get involved! The taxpayer has the ability to dictate how many dollars can go for research and if we inform them and demystify science and make it accessible, it will be a lot easier to get their support. If you would like to start a science cafe, e-mail me and I'd be happy to tell you how I went about it. It's not hard, but does indeed take a lot of time - time well spent in my opinion.
The NYT has an article that tries to address the issues facing women who work with and for women. After reading the article yesterday, I had a look at some of the comments from readers. The gender of the commenters is not indicated, but the consensus seems to be that working with and for women is harder than it is for a man. While I concur with some of the comments, I take umbrage to this and am beside myself in trying to figure out how to change these dynamics to more favorable ones. It also seems that as with the increasing pace of life, these issues become even more flagrant. Oh and since I am not a psychologist, can someone explain what I have observed many times and can't understand: when two women are arguing and it slowly becomes clear one argument seems more solid than the other, the woman whose argument is losing ground more often than not says to the other - "why are you being confrontational"; or better stil, "stop getting defensive." Now the same women, when arguing with a male colleague will either concede the argument for what it is worth, or else decide it is not worth spending anymore time on it and walk away! Can anyone explain this or is it simply not worth dwelling on?