Tag: gender inequality

ADVANCEGeo Resource Center Launched

ADVANCEGeo launches new online resource center to address sexual harassment in the geosciences

The National Science Foundation-funded ADVANCEGeo project has released a collection of online resources for the community on relevant research and tested strategies to respond to sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination in academia. These public resources can be used to: define and understand harassment, bullying, and discrimination; design codes of conduct, including for field research projects and courses; and identify best strategies for creating inclusive and equitable workplace climates. The online resource center is hosted by the Science Education and Research Center at Carleton College.  

ADVANCEGeo project goals include (1) developing and testing bystander intervention training workshops with disciplinary-specific scenarios, which incorporate intersectionality; (2) developing teaching modules that define harassment as scientific misconduct; (3) disseminating training materials via professional societies; and (4) developing a sustainable model that can be transferred to other STEM disciplines. Funded by a 4-year US National Science Foundation ADVANCE Partnership award in 2017, ADVANCEGeo is a collaboration among the Earth Science Women’s Network, the Association for Women Geoscientists, and the American Geophysical Union. Partnering institutions include: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Colorado College, Brown University, California State University, Los Angeles, and University of California, Merced and evaluation teams at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the Colorado State University STEM Center.

ADVANCEGeo Resource Center

Contact: Erika Marín-Spiotta, marinspiotta@wisc.edu

 

ESWN Currents | May 2018

ESWN Newsmakers

Katharine Hayhoe wins Award For Outstanding Climate Science Communication

Jurors for this award called Dr. Hayhoe “a unique voice in the climate communication world… able to reach audiences that other climate scientists have not been able to reach.” In her acceptance statement, Hayhoe expressed appreciation for recognition of “communication and outreach — which is often the least respected part of any scientist’s job description”. The award was presented by Climate One, a project of The Commonwealth Club of California, in honor of the late Stephen Schneider, noted scientist and communicator.

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe

Dr. Alexandra Witze

Alexandra Witze receives Science Journalism Award

The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award for distinguished popular science writing was presented to Alexandra Witze for her article “Next Stop, Mars” in the January 19, 2017, issue of Nature. Witze’s article details the search for life on Mars involving a “treasure hunt” of a scheduled 2020 NASA mission for a rover to collect rock samples as well as information on their geological context.

ADVANCEGeo Program Initiated to Help Curb Sexual Harrassment

Erika Marin-Spiotta published a piece in the journal Nature about a newly conceived program called ADVANCEGeo designed to curb the widespread problem of sexual harrassment in the geosciences. Marin-Spiotta writes, “The project equips bystanders to respond to and prevent harassment in the field, lab, office and at conferences, and advocates for inclusion of the subject in courses on ethical research conduct.” Harassment should count as scientific misconduct.

Dr. Erika Marin-Spiotta

Media Round-Up

A Washington Post story revealed how three African-American teen finalists in a NASA-run science competition were apparently the target of a racist smear campaign designed to cost them the competition. The resulting media attention is creating a focal point for issues of under-representation of women and minorities in STEM fields. One of the teen contestants commented, ““The popular norm is sports and modeling and advertising. [We want] people to see our faces, and see we’re just regular girls, and we want to be scientists.”

finalists in a NASA youth science competition. (Evelyn Hockstein/for The Washington Post)

Members praised the opinion piece published in Inside Higher Ed for its defense of women who “let go of what is not working…try new things…listen to others without feeling threatened, and [have] the courage to be leaders when needed”.  

 

Though many are acquainted with the name of John Tyndall, they may be unaware of the name of Eunice Newton Foote. In 1856 Foote was the first person to suggest that an atmosphere containing high levels of carbon dioxide would lead to a warmer earth, but whose scientific contributions went unrecognized because of the customs of the time. A symposium at UC Santa Barbara on May 17 delved further into the topic.

 

Currents | April 2018

Media Round Up

In case you’ve sworn off Facebook or have been too busy to web-surf this month, we’ve combed through our discussion group archives and pulled the links that generated the most buzz in our online community.

This month featured a plethora of pieces on women and gender issues in academia from science journals as well as the popular press. Here are some that received the most reactions.

The Special Challenges of Being Both a Scientist and a Mom Mexican-American female scientist Rebecca Calisi writes candidly about how she personally has helped scientific conferences become more accommodating to working mothers and the many challenges still faced by women when “[society asks that] we must work as if family did not exist—and parent as if work did not exist”.

Efforts large and small speed science reform Anne Jefferson and Melissa Kenney talk about the need for institutional change and a role to be played by big data to improve gender and racial equity in science.

A thought-provoking NBC News article about the gap in how men and women perceive their science abilities within a group.

from Slate

Being a woman in science is hard. That’s Why We’re Trying to Change It. This impassioned Slate piece by molecular biologist Maryam Zaringhalam argues that we should focus less on our roadblocks and “flip that narrative” — that is, devote much more media attention to positive reforms and “change-makers working to fix a broken system”.

Published study in Nature Communications reveals large gender inequalities in speaking opportunities (invited and assigned oral presentations) at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Recognition of ESWN members

Ecologist Jane Zelikova was honored as one of Grist Magazine’s nationwide “50 fixers” for 2018. She was recognized for her initiative (co-founded with Kelly Ramirez) 500 Women Scientists, which focuses on leadership, diversity, and public engagement in science. Read her “Strategist” profile

PHOTO BY CLAIRE PETTERSEN

An in-depth University of Wisconsin-Madison news article describes research published by Claire Pettersen from the Space Science and Engineering Center. The study is trying to understand the mass balance (net change in snow deposition and melting) of the Greenland Ice sheet.

Laura Crossey, of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico, received commendation for excellence in mentorship of students in STEM fields.

Image result for Laura Crossey, of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico

Women in leadership

Ellen Stofan, former NASA Chief Scientist, will be the first woman to Head the National Air and Space Museum

Members’ Perspectives in Academia

These topics, inspired by personal stories, sparked significant debate among members. [Specific names omitted in the interests of privacy.]

  • Challenges, gender bias in opportunities for collaboration
  • Do women take on more “emotional work/labor” when managing meetings or other professional activities?
  • Is it OK to do your undergrad and grad at the same institution? (Opinions were mixed!)
  • Writing ability and implicit gender bias from reviewers: double-blind reviews could help.
  • Tips for how to handle unsolicited advice following presentations at conferences, without losing your cool.

And Finally… The Truth is Out There

ESWN Members loved this piece on the “The Scully Effect”– quantification of the pervasive effect of popular media on the career interests of women. According to a survey, 63% of the women who were familiar with Dana Scully of the X-Files television show said that she increased their belief in the importance of STEM.

NSF is soliciting public comments on their new sexual harassment policy

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is soliciting public comment on the agency’s proposed implementation of the new reporting requirements specified in NSF Important Notice No. 144, dated February 8, 2018. Full text of the reporting requirements is available online or via download.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) does not tolerate sexual harassment, or any kind of harassment, within the agency, at awardee organizations, field sites, or anywhere NSF-funded science and education are conducted. The 2,000 U.S. institutions of higher education and other organizations that receive NSF funds are responsible for fully investigating complaints and for complying with federal non-discrimination law. NSF has taken steps to help ensure research environments are free from sexual harassment. Additionally, NSF is bolstering our policies, guidelines and communications so that organizations funded by NSF clearly understand expectations and requirements.

NSF is working to make certain that recipients of grants and cooperative agreements respond promptly and appropriately to instances of sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault. A community effort is essential to eliminate sexual and other forms of harassment in science and to build scientific workspaces where people can learn, grow and thrive.

Comment Deadline: May 4, 2018.

Comments should be addressed to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Office of the General Counsel, National Science Foundation, 2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22314, email splimpto@nsf.gov; telephone: (703) 292-7556; FAX (703) 292-9240. We encourage respondents to submit comments electronically to ensure timely receipt. We cannot guarantee that comments mailed will be received before the comment closing date. Please include “Reporting Requirement Regarding Findings of Sexual Harassment, other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault” in the subject line of the email message; please also include the full body of your comments in the text of the message and as an attachment. Include your name, title, organization, postal address, telephone number, and email address in your message.

For any questions, comments or concerns regarding sexual or other forms of harassment, please contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), National Science Foundation, 2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22314, email: harassmentnotifications@nsf.gov; telephone (703) 292-8020; FAX: (703) 292-9482.

Open Letter to the Geomorphology Community

This letter is to alert the community to ongoing online harassment by a registered sex offender who targets individuals in geomorphology and related fields. This has been a problem for many years. The offender, who has an Earth Science degree and self-identifies as a geomorphologist, has spent time in prison on charges of attempted sexual assault. To our knowledge, more than 80 women have received hostile, sexually explicit, or threatening emails. Some of these emails include pornographic videos. He is also known to target senior researchers, including men, describing his scientific ideas and critiquing established concepts and well-known publications in the field. He is currently not associated with any academic, government, or private-sector institutions.

Harassment and intimidating behavior of any kind, whether it be in person or online, is not acceptable. Harassment due to sex and gender are prohibited in the U.S. Due to the online and interstate nature of this harassment, legal redress has proven difficult. The emails come from different email addresses, which makes it difficult to block accounts. Advice from campus police forces have been contradictory, in some cases advising women to delete their professional websites and contact information from the internet. This is not only difficult but has the insidious effect of further marginalizing women from the field.

Because of the pervasive nature of the harassing communications, it is imperative that all members of the geomorphology and related fields are aware of the problem and acknowledge that female graduate students, postdocs, and senior scientists are being preferentially targeted. We hope that open and public recognition will alert new women in the field who may receive these harassing emails with no warning, or who may have been receiving them and felt threatened and isolated. You are not alone in this experience. We believe you, support you, and want you to remain a part of our community. Senior scientists should recognize that their own students may be (or may become) targets of these hostile emails and recognize that this harassment can affect professional performance and personal wellbeing.

The community should work together to provide support for those who are experiencing this and other forms of harassment and to seek long-term solutions so that everyone can participate and engage fully as scientists.

If you have been affected by this online harassment we suggest taking the following steps:

  • Report the incidents to your campus or local police.
  • Document the harassment by saving all emails. Consider setting up a filter so that these emails bypass your inbox and go directly to a designated folder.
  • Forward these emails to geomorph.harassment AT gmail.com. As we seek more permanent solutions, it is helpful to have documentation of the scope of this problem. This inbox has been set up to serve as a clearinghouse for these harassing emails. If you have received these emails and want more information about the situation, contact this address to be connected with someone. Leaders in the community have agreed to monitor this inbox.
  • If you are comfortable doing so, consider responding to the harassing emails with a short statement such as, “These are inappropriate emails. Do not contact me in any way in the future.” In at least one known case, this led to a several-year hiatus in contact.
  • Your campus or healthcare provider are good places for counseling and mental health and wellness support. Initiatives such as HeartMob, by the organization Hollaback!, provide additional resources for supporting targets, educating communities, and mobilizing activists and can be found online at: https://iheartmob.org/

The offender’s name and identifying information have been purposefully omitted.

Participate in a Focus Group at AGU!

Are you concerned about sexual harassment in STEM?

You are invited to participate in a focus group as part of a National Science Foundation ADVANCE award to develop bystander intervention and research ethics training to improve work climate conditions in the earth and space sciences by preventing sexual and other types of harassment in the classroom, lab and field. We want to hear from people with diverse backgrounds.

You can volunteer to participate by coming to one of our 4 focus groups:

Monday, December 11th  1) 10:40-Noon or 2) 1:00-2:20 pm

Tuesday , December 12th  3) 10:40-Noon or 4) 1:40-3:00 pm

in the Windsor Room of the Hilton Riverside

For general information about this research project please go to: serc.carleton.edu/advance_sh

If you have any questions about this research at any time, please contact the lead researcher Dr. Marin-Spiotta at marinspiotta@wisc.edu or 608-262-1855. If you are not satisfied with the response of the research team, have more questions, or want to talk with someone about your rights as a research participant, contact the Education and Social/Behavioral Science IRB Office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at 608-263-2320.

GIRLS in STEM Bill

The ‘Getting Involved in Researching, Learning, and Studying of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Act’ (H.R. 2762) was introduced to the 114th Congress by Representative McNerney.

I know from personal experience that STEM careers can be personally and professionally rewarding, and we owe it to our young women to make sure they have access to the necessary education … When women succeed, we all succeed. With more women in STEM jobs, we’ll help grow our economy and make sure we’re competitive with the rest of the world.”

Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-9th district), mathematician & wind energy engineer

The bill hopes to bring $50 million (FY 2017 to 2021) in new K-12 funding to the Department of Education to encourage girls to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The focus of the bill is to encourage girls in K-12 through mentoring and tutoring programs, afterschool activities, events to encourage interest and develop skills in and understand the relevance and significance of science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. In addition, it provides funding for professional development of K-12 teachers focused on eliminating gender bias in the classroom.

If you are interested in getting involved, you can! Email your representative in Congress and ask them to support (or co-sponsor) H.R. 2762.

Don’t know who your representative is – find out here

women_in_stem

Scientific Societies Speak Out Against Sexual Harassment

PrintLeaders from scientific societies, government agencies, and academia come together to discuss sexual harassment in the sciences

12 September 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – More than 60 leaders in science from academia, government agencies, and professional societies came together recently to address the challenge of sexual and gender-based harassment on campus, in the field, and at scientific meetings. The American Geophysical Union convened the workshop titled, “Sexual Harassment in the Sciences: A Call to Respond,” which was co-sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geosciences Institute, Association for Women Geoscientists, and Earth Science Women’s Network.

Recent high-profile cases in the news have shed light on the issue of sexual harassment in science.  The participating organizations intend to release a set of guiding principles and outcomes by the end of 2016 to help scientific societies, academic institutions, and other organizations improve workplace climate, better respond to sexual harassment, and better support its victims. The workshop, held on September 9, was funded by the National Science Foundation.

harassment-web-graphic2Topics addressed included:

  • Perspectives from the University of California Joint Committee of the Administration and Academic Senate on Sexual Misconduct
  • Understanding the legal landscape
  • The sociological context and call to action
  • Establishing the desired climate and culture on campus
  • Establishing the desired climate and culture in the field
  • Role of scientific societies in establishing the desired climate and culture in science
  • Developing guiding principles for changing the culture and climate of science

Leaders of participating organizations offered the following comments:

“Sexual harassment in research settings is an affront to the profession of science and violates our ethical standards. As federal agencies have oversight authority for their funded awards, their Inspectors General should broaden the definition of research misconduct so they can investigate allegations and determine corrective actions that universities appear unwilling to take,” said Celeste Rohlfing, AAAS’ Chief Operating Officer.

“Our ACS Academic Professional Guidelines clearly state that it is the right of every individual working in the chemical sciences to have equal treatment and opportunity regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity, physical disability, or any other factor not related to their position,” said Mary Kirchhoff, director of the ACS Education Division. “This right includes a workplace free of intimidation, coercion, exploitation, discrimination, and harassment – sexual or otherwise.”

“Harassment of any kind, in any workplace or place of learning is unacceptable.  Friday’s meeting was a great first step in raising awareness of a problem that has plagued the scientific community for many decades,” said AGI Executive Director (and AWG Past-President) Allyson K. Anderson Book.

“Sexual harassment is an unacceptable, yet persistent issue facing the scientific community. We need to work together to create a safe, supportive environment and culture that encourages young scientific talent rather than deterring it,” said Eric Davidson, President-elect, American Geophysical Union. “For scientific innovation to flourish, the community needs to take a powerful stance against sexual harassment and we call on our friends across other scientific organizations, research institutions, and societies to join us. It’s our responsibility to provide members, employees, and constituents with the awareness and tools needed to create an inviting, safe culture for science.”

“Sexual harassment has always been a barrier for professional women scientists, and a major deterrent to female students who are considering a career in the sciences. It is appalling that it has been prevalent in the science community for so long, and we are thrilled to finally see scientific societies and institutions coming together to address and act upon the important role we play in helping to put an end to this. I hope to see other societies and organizations rise up and join us in this effort and look forward to seeing the progress we make over the next few years,” said Blair Schneider, Association for Women Geoscientists President.

“Harassment endangers not only the personal and professional well-being of individuals but of our entire community, and is one of the reasons many young researchers leave academia and science altogether. Our hope is that professional societies can lead a cultural change and pressure academic institutions to take this problem seriously, so that everyone who wants to be in science can stay in science,” said Erika Marín-Spiotta, Leadership Board Member, Earth Science Women’s Network.

For more information, links to policy statements, and other resources related to sexual harassment in the sciences please visit: harassment.agu.org.

AGU From the Prow: Sexual Harassment and the Scientific Community

22 January 2016

By Margaret Leinen, President, American Geophysical Union, Eric Davidson, President-elect, American Geophysical Union, and Carol Finn, Past President, American Geophysical Union

UPDATE, 29 January 2016: On Thursday, 28 January, an opinion piece titled, “Steps to Building a Zero-Tolerance Culture for Sexual Harassment,” was published on Eos.org. The piece, authored by three AGU members, Erika Marín-Spiotta, Blair Schneider, and Mary Anne Holmes, outlined ways that AGU can lead the way in building an environment where sexual and other types of harassment have no place.

Sexual harassment is an issue in many disciplines, including the Earth and space sciences, and its impacts can be far-reaching. As you are no doubt aware, issues of sexual harassment in the field, in the lab, and in the classroom have been widely covered in the news lately, as have the related issues of reporting, privacy, and consequences (both for the accuser and the accused).

To be clear, for AGU, and for each one of us personally, addressing this persistent problem is an issue of critical importance. Sexual harassment is wrong, and it cannot be tolerated. If we aren’t able to provide a safe and welcoming environment in which science can thrive, then we have failed as a community.

Unfortunately, this is not a new problem, and AGU, like other science societies, has been grappling with it for some time. It’s also not an isolated problem. Sexual harassment is part of a broader set of issues facing the scientific community, which include things like gender bias and inequality, discrimination based on sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, and the safety and supportive nature of our workplaces and learning environments (bullying, etc.).

These problems are complex and not always easy to solve, but as a leader in the Earth and space science community, AGU understands that we have an important role to play. A recent activity that you may not be aware of was a Town Hall meeting we hosted at the 2015 Fall Meeting with the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) and the Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN). Each of us played a role in the session, which was titled, Forward Focused Ethics – What is the Role of Scientific Societies in Responding to Harassment and Other Workplace Climate Issues?  It featured several presentations and a panel discussion.

During the presentations invited speakers and leadership representatives from AGU, ESWN and AWG explored implicit bias in science and the multiplying effect that bias has on limiting professional advancement for women. They highlighted sexual assault and harassment in field camps and other field locations. They also discussed how increasing diversity in the scientific workforce and growing use of social media have contributed to the current surge in reports. The speakers provided insights, experiences, and suggestions on the role of scientific societies, how AGU and other scientific societies can help address harassment and other critical issues and AGU’s policies, practices, and mechanisms for reporting can be improved.

During the presentations invited speakers and leadership representatives from AGU, ESWN and AWG explored implicit bias in science and the multiplying effect that bias has on limiting professional advancement for women.

If you missed the Town Hall, a video recording can be found on AGU On Demand. When you log in, the video will be listed under the Science & Society channel.

In addition to the Town Hall, AGU is undertaking several other efforts focused on bringing our community together to address the issue of sexual harassment in science.

One of the more obvious is to update AGU’s own ethics (for professional conduct, in general) and behavior (for meetings, etc.) policies to strengthen our position and set clearer expectations and accountability consequences for our members. That work is underway, and we will continue to update you on its progress.

Another important effort is to bring the broader scientific community together with the hope of creating common guiding principles to inform all our policies and actions related to harassment. While our work in this area is still developing, we can tell you that AGU is committed to convening the science societies around this issue as soon as possible, and thus far, they are overwhelmingly in support of the idea. Again, as more information on this effort is available, we will update you.

Other areas being discussed include education opportunities, the development of tools/resources/best practices to be shared with academic institutions, agencies, companies and other employers, and more direct support for members who are victims of harassment.

We recognize that the way AGU moves forward in addressing the issue of sexual harassment will require feedback from and engagement with our community. As such, we want to ask you, our members, for your input. What aren’t we doing that we should be? What are other organizations or institutions doing that we should try? What are we doing well and should we be doing more of it? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. If you would like to share something, but would prefer to do so privately, you can also send comments to ethics@agu.org. The AGU Council and Board will address these topics at its upcoming meetings, and your voices will be heard.

In the end, addressing the issue of sexual harassment in science is something that requires us to work together as a community – and AGU is committed to leading the way on behalf of the Earth and space science community we represent.