Seven strategies to advance women in science

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Despite the progress made by women in science, engineering, and medicine, a glance at most university directories or pharmaceutical executive committees tells the more complex story. Women in science can succeed, but they are succeeding in fields that may not even be conscious of the gender imbalances. These imbalances manifest themselves in the number of women that are invited to speak at conferences, the percentage of grants awarded to women scientists, and the higher rates of attrition of women at every stage of the career ladder compared to those of men.

In the March 5 issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, the Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering Working Group, a collection of more than 30 academic and business leaders organized by the New York Stem Cell Foundation, present seven strategies to advance , engineering, and medicine in this modern landscape.

"We wanted to think about broad ways to elevate the entire field, because when we looked at diversity programs across our organizations we thought that the results were okay, but they really could be better," said Susan L. Solomon, co-founder and CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation and a member of the working group. "We've identified some very straightforward things to do that are inexpensive and could be implemented pretty much immediately."

The working group's seven strategies are broken into three categories: the first two are direct financial support strategies, the next three are psychological and cultural strategies, and the final two are major collaborative and international initiatives.

1. Implement flexible family care spending

Make grants gender neutral by permitting grantees to use a certain percentage of grant award funds to pay for childcare, eldercare, or family-related expenses. This provides more freedom for grantees to focus on professional development and participate in the scientific community.

2. Provide "extra hands" awards

Dedicate funds for newly independent young investigators who are also primary caregivers to hire technicians, administrative assistants, or postdoctoral fellows.

3. Recruit gender-balanced review and speaker selection committees

Adopt policies that ensure that peer review committees are conscious of gender and are made up of a sufficient number of women.

4. Incorporate implicit bias statements

For any initiative that undergoes external peer review, include a statement that describes the concept of implicit bias to reviewers and reiterates the organization's commitment to equality and diversity.

5. Focus on education as a tool

Academic institutions and grant makers must educate their constituents and grantees on the issues face in science and medicine. For example, gender awareness training should be a standard component of orientation programs.

6. Create an institutional report card for gender equality

Define quantifiable criteria that can be used to evaluate gender equality in institutions on an annual basis. For instance, these report cards may ask for updates about the male to female ratio of an academic department or the organization's policy regarding female representation on academic or corporate committees.

7. Partner to expand upon existing searchable databases of women in science, medicine, and engineering

Create or contribute to databases that identify for positions and activities that are critical components for career advancement.

"The issues in science, technology, engineering, and are the kinds of challenges that we as a society face, and we need to have 100 percent of the population—both genders—to be having an opportunity to participate," Solomon said. "We need people who care because they're thinking about their daughters or granddaughters or nieces, sisters or wives, or larger issues like finding cures for disease or climate change and they want to make sure that we've got enough horsepower behind us."


Explore further

Why don't more women rise to leadership positions in academic medicine?

More information: Cell Stem Cell, Smith et al.: "Seven Actionable Strategies for Advancing Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine"
Journal information: Cell Stem Cell

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Mar 05, 2015
Oh if only it were this simple.

Go read the Physics Forums Career Guidance section. This has been discussed quite a bit. The general consensus is that the lifestyle itself is difficult for anyone raising children, but particularly for women. This is not an overt case of discrimination. Yes, the statistics are undeniable. However, the causes are far deeper than just a bunch of angry old white men enforcing their will upon the population.

Believe me, I wish this were different. As a father of two daughters and a son I can see this happening before my eyes. I want the best future for all of them.

The people who wrote this list are well intentioned, but unfortunately quite foolish. This is not the problem they would like it to be.

Mar 06, 2015
These studies do tend to skip over the seriousness of that problem. I totally agree.

Mar 07, 2015
Are we to assume that the interest level for a career in science is the exact same among both genders?

Mar 07, 2015
Isn't it the restriction of woman rights, if we force them to do the things (like the science, military service, programming, construction of electronics), which they don't want to do in the name of gender equality?

Mar 07, 2015
I suspect it must be considered in the way in which each gender actually THINKS....

Are we to assume that the interest level for a career in science is the exact same among both genders?


Mar 07, 2015
So you want women in science? Put it on television and make it glamorous and socially desirable, and they will come in in droves. Just look at the health industry and forensics as your guides.

Women want what other female social models appear to have, even if it is fictitious, and not really all that great (forensics = ew-w).


Mar 07, 2015
The feminists assert women are the same as men.
If true, why do women need help from men and the state to enter STEM fields?
Arent' they strong enough to achieve on their own?
Or, maybe, not all women are as the feminists assert?

Mar 08, 2015
Ren82 claimed
.. But walking against the normal healthy family and against the laws and principles of the legislator of this universe where will they go? Will achieve only injustice, misery and unhappiness
Who says what is normal, there is evidence for children from varied backgrounds & non-nuclear family can succeed just as well as others.

Besides Ren82, how does your "legislator of this universe" communicate - anything better than a book that makes several claims ONLY consistent with Punishment, Status & Authority ?

This "legislator of this universe" seems pretty impotent especially, when you realise the deity claimed by Moses made claims he is the same as the underlying universe which has self-assembly built-in - Exactly like the programming paradigms in genetic programs which routinely create complexity from simplicity...!

Reb82 where is there ANY better communication from your "legislator of this universe" ?


Mar 09, 2015
"If we truly want gender equality, we need to challenge the assumption that more is always better, and the assumption that men don't suffer as much as women when they're exhausted and have no time for family or fun. And we need to challenge those assumptions wherever we find them, both in the workplace and in the family. Whether it's one more meeting, one more memo, one more conference, one more play date, one more soccer game or one more flute lesson for the kids, sometimes we need to say, "Enough!""
http://www.washin...ndberg/#

Mar 10, 2015
The feminists assert women are the same as men.
If true, why do women need help from men and the state to enter STEM fields?
Arent' they strong enough to achieve on their own?
Or, maybe, not all women are as the feminists assert? -soggyring2

Ah, the typical misogynist. Helps build the glass ceiling and then blames the women for not being strong enough to break it.

Mar 10, 2015
blames the women for not being strong enough to break it.


It is the feminist who asserts women are the same as men.
But when women can't pass the same physical tests, the feminists demand 'special' tests for women.
Is the feminist assertion true?

Mar 10, 2015
Is Hillary Clinton a misogynist?

"Hillary Clinton's expected presidential campaign is being built around women's issues, but women who have gotten in the way of her family's political goals in the past have often been subjected to her wrath."
""She is the war on women, as far as I'm concerned, because with every woman that she's found out about—and she made it a point to find out who every woman had been that's crossed his path over the years—she's orchestrated a terror campaign against every one of these women, including me," said Willey."
http://freebeacon...g-women/

Mar 10, 2015
Dethe offered
http://i.imgur.com/5gcszif.jpg
Good reminder of my early days with SC/MP & Z80 with recollections of my dismay when facing windows reliance on OOP :-(

Dethe also offered
http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/news/pioneering-women-physics
Nice link, especially Hedy Lamarr who iirc received a joint patent for her contribution for frequency hopping... Have all here movies & a nice lass she was indeed :-)

Have her image in my mind when casting a wide net, that way, should I hook up and come across a similarly gifted lass I can speak on equal terms following those natural activities we are so well programmed by nature to undertake ;-)

Also for Ren82, re Hypatia, iirc she was murdered by christian fundamentalists who stoned her to death, was this justice Ren82 for advancing Science ?

@Ren82, your god spoken to anyone yet ?

Anyone come back from the death experience from your heaven ?

Blind belief (&idiocy) so sad :-(

Mar 10, 2015
blames the women for not being strong enough to break it.


It is the feminist who asserts women are the same as men.
But when women can't pass the same physical tests, the feminists demand 'special' tests for women.
Is the feminist assertion true?
Straw man argument. This is an article about women in science.

Mar 11, 2015
So you want women in science? Put it on television and make it glamorous and socially desirable, and they will come in in droves. Just look at the health industry and forensics as your guides.

Women want what other female social models appear to have, even if it is fictitious, and not really all that great (forensics = ew-w)
@Uba
i disagree, although there is SOME merit to your post, it isn't necessarily a feminine perspective to want to be doing something glam etc
men are that way too

three of four daughters of mine are in scientific fields
mostly because of the passion their parents had for it and the fact that they grew up with it learning how to do cool stuff, from astrophysics to forensics to zoology

social perceptions are fairly negative for some sciences though
and the pay sucks too
and that is a major factor for some people

plus, it is FAR easier to get an education in other fields that tend to pay better

Mar 11, 2015
It is the feminist who asserts women are the same as men.
But when women can't pass the same physical tests, the feminists demand 'special' tests for women.
@ryggtard
if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, then it will always be substandard

your post is sexist and stupid as well
first off, you are talking physical and last time i checked, you didn't need the ability to run or fight in physics
Secondly: the women requirements are not "special" as in lesser, just different to concentrate on their abilities etc

in the Army, for instance, women don't have to do as many pushups, but they have to do DOUBLE the situps as a man
WHY?
because women have stronger abdomen muscles typically and good health means the ability to do more than a man on average

does that make a man the WEAKER sex?
according to YOU it does

but you are posting from a position of ignorance and sexist prejudice
NOT SCIENCE

Mar 11, 2015
This sound like social engineering. ...some people want to change the relationship between man and woman and their function in society to control it more easily
@renTROLL
you mean like those idiot religious trolls who think all women should be second class citizens or property because some fallacious plagiarized historical comic (from a bunch of LIARS) SAID SO?
But walking against the normal healthy family and against the laws and principles of the legislator of this universe .. injustice, misery and unhappiness
so you are saying because my DAUGHTERS who are all in scientific fields will only find misery because they don't conform to YOUR sky faerie?

WHY is that?
what makes YOUR historical comic more relevant than the Hindu? or the Buddhist?

all you are trying to do is force your PERSPECTIVE on everyone, especially WOMEN, because you are weak and incapable of accepting the value of others

RELIGION is only good for control, HATE, judgement and prejudice

Mar 11, 2015
Straw man argument.

How sexist! Why not straw woman?

Either women are equal to men. Strong and independent as the feminists assert.
Or women are too weak and dependent to pursue careers in STEM and need much hand holding by STEM programs.

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