I’ve been meaning to write about Science Online 2011 (#scio11), which I found so enjoyable but for some reason more intense than scio10. Anyway- I came across this post today by Kate Clancy on her blog called Context and Variation. This was one amazing post and really sums up some of the perils of blogging and doing science while female. A couple of Kate’s observations from conversations before the panel are things I hear over and over and over:
- We are all very, very tired of making a point on a blog, on twitter, or in a meeting, being ignored, having a man make the same point, then having that man get all the credit. Very tired.
- We still can’t be ambitious without being considered a bitch. People will always fall back on that term if they think you are too aggressive, but the same behavior is not criticized in men.
FOR SURE. In fact I’m asking myself if this is ever going to get better? And the observation below from the panel itself-
- One fantastic young woman talked about how she avoids discussing her blog with her peers for fear of becoming the “soft skills chick.” Doing anything other than the hottest science seems to delegitimize women very quickly; however in some cases men get rewarded for doing the same thing (examples that come to my mind are picking up extra teaching and service, or having offspring, the latter being empirically supported).
Many male scientists that I know that blog are doing so under their own names… (Bjorn Brembs, and Jonathan Eisen – both writers of great blogs that I read regularly), and I never ever ever think of them as less of scientists because they blog about topics sometimes outside of bench work. They why oh why do I always feel like I have to keep my blogging/tweeting on the down low because I may be considered a less ‘serious’ scientist…. I guess I didn’t realize that this was a general feeling among us blogging girl scientists…
Sexism is incredibly entrenched and practiced unconsciously by both women and men. I have seen data demonstrating this, for instance studies showing that CVs with female names are given lower scores than those with male names. And there is a Swedish study showing that women applying for postdoctoral fellowships have to be significantly better than men to get the same score. Jo Handelsman (Yale), for instance, has presented some of this data in talks.
Q- Do you know of a website that compiles these types of studies? I could use easy access to them, for instance, to protest that 1/7 on our short list this year is female, when 1/3 of those who made it to the 30-or-so list were female. Point – if both men and women judge women more harshly, and I could cite the studies, I would have a stronger argument that 2-3/7 interviewees need to be female.
ScienceGeek, the NSF ADVANCE portal has all kinds of links. You can start here.
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Interesting. All of the male bloggers I read use their real names. Very few of the female bloggers I read do.
I know I use a pseudonym because I want to write about motherhood, and that is a surefire way to get taken less seriously at work. Also, I figured that having a potential employer google me and find a bunch of posts about how sleep deprived I am would not be a good thing. However, I don’t make a huge effort to stay anonymous- anyone who knows me in real life who finds my blog would recognize me.
If I were writing a blog strictly about science and/or tech, would I use my real name? I don’t know.
In the tech world, there was an infamous case of a woman who was basically chased offline by an aggressive stalker/commenter. She was using her real name, and he found out where she lived and started making very scary threats. (Kind of ironic that I can’t remember her name, isn’t it?)
I stay anonymous because I work in industry and don’t have the same job protections afforded to those who work in academia. I never thought about keeping it secret to maintain my technical credibility but agree that writing along with other soft skills I often have to downplay so that I’m not squeezed out of technical or hands on projects.
I have had evil scary online stalkers before (from winning an online Fantasy Football league). Fortunately, I didn’t play under my real name, but my screen name did imply that I am female. Now, I never use a gendered screen name for anything, just in case.
I’ve had the same problem with science communication, which is seen as soft skills, and not ‘real science’. Hence I tend to run a mile when science communication tasks come up, even though it is now apparently what we all should be doing. Its just impossible to be taken seriouslyas a scientist if you are also a good communicator, unless you happen to be a man. . .
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