Science’s Women Ghostwriters

Read the full story at Inside Higher Ed.

James Watson and Francis Crick (not Rosalind Franklin) getting all the initial glory for unlocking the structure of DNA may be the most famous example of how women’s contributions to science get overlooked. It certainly isn’t the only instance, however: many women scientists report having their work go un- or undercredited, and some say they’ve left science altogether as a result.

While these anecdotes are powerful on their own, a new study pushes the conversation far beyond individual accounts: the paper, published in Nature, finds that women are significantly—and systematically—less likely to be recognized than their male peers.

The sting of sizeism in the scientific workplace

Read the full story in Nature.

Researchers of size say weight bias is harming their careers and well-being. Workplace changes can reduce the stigma.

Hear from four TJ freshmen admitted under controversial circumstances

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Sarah Castillo, 15, grew up never considering the possibility of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Then two years ago, Thomas Jefferson, known as TJ and frequently ranked the best public high school in America, radically altered its admissions process, eliminating a much-feared test and a $100 application fee, in the hope of admitting more students of color and low-income students.

The changes at the magnet school in Northern Virginia sent parents and alumni into a frenzy. Some were thrilled that the first class admitted under the new system boasted more Black and Hispanic students, at 7 percent and 11 percent, than any other in recent memory. But others lamented a 20 percent decrease in Asian American representation, and a group of disgruntled parents eventually filed a lawsuit alleging the admissions system is racially discriminatory. That suit, which recently drew the attention of the Supreme Court, is ongoing.

But, as the adults went to battle in courtrooms, students such as Sarah Castillo were reconsidering their options. Hundreds of students who had neither thought of applying to TJ, nor felt they had a chance of acceptance under the old admissions system, now took the plunge, and some of them, including Sarah, got in.

These students spent the past year finding their way inside the school, adjusting to its notoriously heavy workload and trying to make good grades alongside good friends. Constantly sounding in the background, even for those who tried to ignore it, were the voices of adults, and sometimes fellow students, who insisted the admissions process that accepted them was illegitimate, that they did not belong at TJ.

The Washington Post followed four TJ freshmen — Sarah Castillo, Ershad Sulaiman, Kaiwan Bilal and Julie Marco — through a difficult, unusual and absorbing academic year. Here, in their own words, is what it was like.

25 years after Karen Wetterhahn died of dimethylmercury poisoning, her influence persists

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Karen Wetterhahn was a rising star in 1996. She was making key advances in understanding biochemical reactions of the heavy metal chromium and how those can cause disease. She had launched a major interdisciplinary research program to understand the effects of heavy-metal pollutants in northern New England. She was serving in top administrative positions at Dartmouth College. And a program for women in science that she helped found was being emulated around the country. Then a shocking lab accident halted her trajectory: on June 8, 1997, Wetterhahn died from dimethylmercury poisoning. Her legacies remain, however. Twenty-five years later, Wetterhahn’s colleagues and those who never knew her still feel her influences on laboratory safety, the scientific method, and women in science.

University Of California System joins national diversity initiative for STEMM fields

Read the full story in Forbes.

The University of California (UC) will be the first university system to join SEA Change, an initiative of the the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) designed to help colleges and universities improve their record of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM).

How to get better at using inclusive language in the workplace

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Even people who champion diversity and are knowledgeable about the topic can be nervous about choosing the correct words to describe various aspects of personal identity. This is especially true when interacting with people whose personal identities they have not often encountered. How should I address the chief marketing officer who identifies as a queer Black woman or the new administrative intern from Oman who uses a service animal at work? These moments put us face-to-face with our own insecurities, assumptions, and lack of awareness. They force us to reflect on our unconscious biases and linguistic habits.

To put it frankly, inclusive language doesn’t often come naturally, even for people who believe in and advocate for the value of diversity. Using intentional, inclusive language requires us to continually examine our unconscious biases and linguistic customs. Learning to do it well requires education, mindfulness, and repetition. Practice helps us to avoid reinforcing harmful language habits and assumptions that can damage our relationships. Putting in the effort is well worth the potential results.

Research: The real-time impact of microaggressions

Read the full story in Harvard Business Review.

While many leaders have ramped up efforts to make their organizations equitable for members of marginalized groups, evidence shows that Black employees continue to experience disrespect in the workplace. Since Black professionals face a bind in dealing with racialized comments, organizations need to take responsibility for preventing microaggressions and relieving their Black employees of the emotional labor that comes with them. The author’s experiment shows that the ways Black workers respond to competency microaggressions are complex and not only hurt the recipient, but also how they interact in teams.

Why do women get asked to do non-promotable work?

Read the full story at Industry Week.

Even female managers ask women more than men to volunteer for the thankless tasks. This article is an excerpt from the new book “The No Club: Putting a Stop to Women’s Dead-End Work” by Linda Babcock, Brenda Peyser, Lise Vesterlund and Laurie Weingart (May 2022: Simon and Schuster). The authors define non-promotable work as “tasks that matter to your organization, but will not help you advance your career.” They are tasks  that are often invisible, not directly tied to the company’s mission and ones that many others can do.

‘Collegiality’ influences researchers’ promotion prospects

Read the full story in Nature.

A study of university review and promotion documents suggests that collaboration and teamwork are widely considered, but not consistently assessed.

Black Americans’ views of and engagement with science

Graph shows comparatively small shares of Black adults see science, engineering jobs as 'open' to Black people.

Respondents say that Black people have reached the highest levels of success as:

Professional athletes (84%)
Professional musicians (80%)
Lawyers (60%)
Clergy (58%)
Medical doctors (55%)
Military officers (54%)
Business executives (52%)
Engineers (43%)
Scientists (36%)

Percentage of respondents who say professions are very welcoming to Black people:

Professional athletes (63%)
Professional musicians (58%)
Lawyers (25%)
Clergy (38%)
Medical doctors (28%)
Military officers (27%)
Business executives (17%)
Engineers (23%)
Scientists (20%)

Survey conducted Nov 30-Dec 12, 2021. "Black Americans' View of and Engagement With Science"

A new Pew Research Center survey takes a wide-ranging look at Black Americans’ views and experiences with science, spanning medical and health care settings, educational settings, and as consumers of science-related news and information in daily life.