Why?

Some may think that the concept of having a Women-In-Entomology network is unnecessary and outdated: the proportion of women graduate students in entomology in the pipeline generally reflects that of the population; biology has historically had fewer serious issues relating to gender than the more basic sciences (physics, math, & chemistry); women are actively getting student awards to a greater degree than their numbers might suggest; and we don't want to think of ourselves as needing anything special to compete.

 

While all of these things may be true, many are still left wondering where do these women in the pipeline, those competing for awards, go when we try to identify someone to nominate for an ESA Award or elected office, or fill tenure track positions and administrative positions?  Many people speculate and I have been collecting links to these that I'd like to start to share with you in the hopes that you will add your own thoughts and links to expand this discussion. A goal is to try to do our part to identify and nominate deserving women of our Society for awards (first deadline for honorary membership and fellows is March 15th; a whole host of other ESA and Foundation award nominations are due July 15th), encourage them to submit interesting topics for symposia (program symposia are due January 31st), join committees, and run for elected offices within the Society.

 

I'll add my first link in a separate comment to this thread.

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  • I was just reviewing this discussion and noticed that the date I have listed for awards nominations must have come from an earlier calendar.  It is July 1st for 2011, and rapidly approaching.  I hope that you are considering potential nominees to honor our colleagues.
  • Perhaps you may think this comment to be completely off track. I spent 25 years trying not to compete but to simply contribute and thrive in a nontraditional trade as a simple heavy equipment operator. If it had not been for the incentives and quotas set up in the early '70's I would not have been allowed to do this. Since these have been discontinued women have are seldom seen on construction sites these days. I was the only female dozer operator in the US forest service during the '90's and finally quit because of the prejudices of gender and not ability and qualifications. I went back to college and received a biology degree hoping to find a way to support myself in another field I loved and felt fairly confident because it is well represented by women. It is more difficult than I thought. I just want to illustrate how easily choices can be removed and forgotten about. Those of you succeeding in your careers and goals should illuminate one another, not by your ability to compete but to contribute, to be utilized, to be a permanent fixture seen and heard like all things natural in a sustainable landscape not as something

    unusual or exotic, but as something normal. It might also be good to remember that there are competent, conscientious woman out there without 4.0 and honors grades, that don't receive scholarships because they are the brightest or most noteworthy. In areas where men seem to be the predominate figures, the large proportion is ordinary average and dedicated. Perhaps it is only the cream of the female crop, the competitors, who are standing out. Mentoring and relying on greater numbers of average women with linked interests is one way of shining the light on exceptional women. I don't believe women have come as far as they think. We are told that inequality doesn't exist anymore and that may be true if you are there because of your scholastic merits alone. But look around you, where are your cohorts?

    • Hi Patricia- your comment speaks to some things I've been thinking a lot about lately.  The current competitive nature of science, along with the out-of-balance lifestyle this seems to necessitate, is what turns me off to the idea of pursuing a Ph.D. and tenure-track faculty position.  I've talked to men who feel the same way, but I think work/life balance is of particular importance to women. Many of us, as grad students, looked at the lives of our advisors and decided we did not want a life like that.  I don't have any ideas as to how to fix this; I just know that I am not willing to sacrifice so much in order to play the game, and I wonder how many women "leave the pipeline" for similar reasons.
    • I think you brought up a very meaninful insight. Playing the game is something I feel was set in place when the professional field was predominatly male. I am not a male basher and new to the field of entomology and science but not new to the work force or male dominated professions. Many of the women I worked with that competed well and climbed the ladder had to completely conform to the male standards, proceedures and ways of doing things that were customary. Changing the game would benefit both genders, especially now that husbands are contributing a more equal proportion of involvement at home. Is it a requirment that those seeking higher qualifications and knowledge dedicate themselves only to that? Who or what sets the job description and time frame and the exhausting requirments of obtaining a doctorate through an assistanship or research position? What is the catalyst for the sacrificial component I wonder?
    • I agree that the rules of the game were probably made by men for men. What I struggle with is the feeling that by opting out of the game, I am allowing it to continue as is. Maybe the only way to change it is to succeed within the current system in order to get a critical mass of women in positions of power.  I'm not sure I am willing to do what it takes to get there.  So I am looking for other ways to contribute to the field on my own terms, and I am looking forward to hearing about other women's experiences both in and out of academia.
  • Is Girls just wanna have sums as cool as Sex, Bugs, & Rock 'n' Roll (also the theme of the 2005 ESA meeting that couldn't be kept down by a hurricane!)?
  • Videos of a jointly sponsored event by L'Oreal and Discover Magazine: For Women in Science: 21st Century Policy and Politics.  The above link is to the first of four videos, part 2, part 3, and part 4 follow (each segment is 16 - 24 minutes).

     

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and its relationship to women in sciences is discussed.  

  • Here is an op-ed from Nature about the lack of women speaking about science in the media. 

    Women scientists must speak out
    Nature - the world's best science and medicine on your desktop
    • I also just found an entire forum on Nature Publication's Scitable (mentioned in post about Communicating Science) on Women in Science, with posts going back nearly a year.  No doubt some more good reading here :-)
  • My first link is my most recent find to a TED talk by the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of FaceBook, Sheryl Sandberg on Why we have too few women leaders. The full link should be http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_... (I'm hoping problems with displaying long links has now been fixed).
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