5
   

Don't let your daughters grow up to be scientists

 
 
ehBeth
 
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 11:43 am
not great news from the trenches

https://theconversation.com/perish-not-publish-new-study-quantifies-the-lack-of-female-authors-in-scientific-journals-92999

Quote:
“Publish or perish” is tattooed on the mind of every academic. Like it or loathe it, publishing in high-profile journals is the fast track to positions in prestigious universities with illustrious colleagues and lavish resources, celebrated awards and plentiful grant funding. Yet somehow, in the search to understand why women’s scientific careers often fail to thrive, the role of high-impact journals has received little scrutiny.


Quote:
Number of women in neuroscience
Women and men now receive neuroscience PhDs in about equal numbers. But in what's been called the 'leaky STEM pipeline,' women haven't advanced as far toward equity in academic careers. However female underrepresentation is even more extreme in high-profile journal publications.

Women Men
PhD students
55% 45%
Postdocs
43.5% 56.5%
NIH large grant recipient
30% 70%
Tenure-track faculty
29% 71%
First author of research article in Nature/Science
25% 75%
Full professors
24% 76%
Last author of research article in Nature/Science
15% 85%



Quote:

These days there is an overwhelming consensus in our scientific community that scientific talent is not gendered. Universities, funding agencies, conference organizers and individual laboratory leaders around the world are all working to resolve this problem. It is time for the journals to “lean in.”


nearly 45 years since I started as an engineering student (1 of 5 women in a cohort of 720) and the b.s. continues
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 12:41 pm
@ehBeth,
I am ignoring the title. I have a daughter I am raising to be ready for a career engineering (obviously she can choose whatever life she wants, but she can code in Java better than many college students). I am working to give my daughter the skills that she will need to excel should she choose to be in engineering.

The basic problem in these discussions is that the ultimate goal is unclear.

- You can work to make the number of men and women in any position equal.
- Or, you can work to make the system fair, providing equal opportunity for men and woman.

These are not the same thing, in fact sometimes they are at odds with each other.

Programming contests are judged by algorithms. Humans don't do the judging; there is an rubric that awards a set number of points for each of the judged skills. Gender has nothing to do with the score... and yet male programmers score significantly better than females in these contests. People who argue that the contests are "unfair" because they favor "male" skills over female skills are shooting themselves in the foot. These contests are fair in the sense that everyone is judged the same.

Chess tournaments are also fair. As are Poker tournaments. Neither of these are balanced in terms of gender.

And on the other side, prison populations are dominated by men. Men are incarcerated at a far greater rate than women.... and no one seems to complain.

I want my daughter (as my sons) to equal opportunity. I am teaching her to confident, to be aggressive. I teach her to negotiate for salary and position and to promote herself. She seems to have no trouble doing this (and I am not worried). I also want my daughter to have equal opportunity...

And that is the complexity... it is clear that there are ways that opportunity still isn't equal for women. That needs to be addressed. But it is not at all clear that if opportunity were equal that the numbers would be balanced.

Focusing on numbers, rather than on equal opportunity means we focus on political ideology rather than on understanding . And that is reason that any real discussion on this topic is so difficult.


maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 01:01 pm
@maxdancona,
Another interesting example the ride-sharing economy (i.e. Uber).

The Uber system is fair, in that all drivers follow the same pay rules. You are paid by an algorithm based on your hours worked. There is nothing implicit in the system favoring male drivers over female drivers. And yet female drivers earn 7% less per hour driven then their male counterparts.

In this case, the reason for the pay imbalance is easy to understand. The difference is flexibility. Uber has a system to get drivers to spend more hours in the times where there is more need... called "surge pricing". This is a perfectly logical system from an economic standpoint, and it is good for customers. The data show that men change their schedules to take advantage of surge pricing far more then women do. And so, men earn more.

Is this is example of a system that is unfair because women earn less... or is this an example of fairness because the same rules apply to everyone?
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  4  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 01:31 pm
@ehBeth,
Maybe papers should be submitted or publication using a non gender identifier?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 02:42 pm
@chai2,
That approach has certainly been tried in other experiments.

You get results like this

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/10/13/study-suggests-evidence-gender-bias-evaluating-evidence-gender-bias-stem

Quote:
More and more research suggests gender bias in the sciences. But do men and women similarly trust evidence demonstrating such bias? A new paper argues that men and women interpret this kind of evidence -- however scientific -- differently, and that that has implications for the field as a whole. Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, not everyone agrees with the findings.

The paper, in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on several experiments involving both laymen and -women and male and female faculty members. All participants were asked to evaluate scientific research showing a bias against women in science, technology, engineering and math. Men in both groups judged the research less favorably than did women, and male faculty members in STEM were especially likely to view it poorly. But men evaluated the same research more favorably than did women when findings of that research were altered to show no gender bias.

“Critically, across three experiments, we uncovered a gender difference in the way people from the general public and STEM faculty evaluate the quality of research that demonstrates women’s documented disadvantage in STEM fields: men think the research is of lower quality, whereas women think the research is of higher quality,” the authors said. “Why does this gender difference matter? For one, there are significant implications for the dissemination and impact of meritorious previous, current and future research on gender bias in STEM fields.”

Most importantly, they argue, “our research suggests that men will relatively disfavor -- and women will relatively favor -- research demonstrating this bias.” That means that scholars focusing on this area of research might have trouble advancing professionally, given that men still dominate the STEM fields, they say, and that lingering doubts about bias in STEM will unnecessarily prolong the process of making the sciences more inclusive.



Quote:
That study was based on Internet comments on various kinds of websites regarding a third, widely cited study by Moss-Racusin suggesting that both male and female scientists were more likely to want to hire as a lab manager and award higher pay to a hypothetical student candidate named John than one named Jennifer, even though the rest of their applications were identical.


The Moss-Racusin study

http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 02:46 pm
@chai2,
The problem on the academic progression side is that at a lot of universities (definitely at the public universities we have in Canada) your progression requires you to publish and for your 'name' to become known.

A.C. Smith isn't going to get the credit Alan C. Smith is, without Alison C. Smith doing a lot of work to prove she is A.C. Smith.

It's unfortunate.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 02:53 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

Maybe papers should be submitted or publication using a non gender identifier?


There is no guarantee that this solves the problem. What if you do this, and the unequal numbers still favor men? The incorrect assumption is that a gender-blind system will always lead to equality (in terms of raw numbers).

There is are several examples where the opposite happens.


Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 03:28 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote max:
Quote:
There is no guarantee that this [gender-neutral labels for scientific manuscripts] solves the problem. What if you do this, and the unequal numbers still favor men? The incorrect assumption is that a gender-blind system will always lead to equality (in terms of raw numbers).
So?

Not being able to guarantee a desired result does not mean we automatically abandon all attempts to address the issue.

Besides, what if this approach is tried and the percentage of papers by women accepted jumps significantly but does not equal half. Wouldn't that alone show there's a problem that needs to be addressed?
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 03:43 pm
@Blickers,
Sure, if a gender-blind system significantly raises the number of published papers by women, it would strongly suggest a gender bias (and I would likely support it). But what if the gender-blind system had the opposite effect?

There are many cases of gender-blind systems that lead to numerical inequality based on gender (I have already listed a couple on this thread). Explain the male dominance in the fields of chess or poker (games where the rules are gender blind and fair for everyone). The fact that the most successful players are all male doesn't mean that the game is biased.

I believe the goal should be on equality of opportunity rather than on equality of numbers.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 04:01 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

The problem on the academic progression side is that at a lot of universities (definitely at the public universities we have in Canada) your progression requires you to publish and for your 'name' to become known.

A.C. Smith isn't going to get the credit Alan C. Smith is, without Alison C. Smith doing a lot of work to prove she is A.C. Smith.

It's unfortunate.



I see.

Theoretically though if someone was only known in academia under that genderless ID, it shouldn’t make any difference as to the progress one is making.

With today’s technology, it would be possible for the person who published to remain without gender, even when giving presentations, interviews, Q&A’s etc. you don’t have to been seen and your voice could be reproduced so there is no way to determine by inflection, accent whether the person is male or female. This would also be useful if there is also the problem if people from certain parts of the world are also not being represented fairly.

I’ve no idea what would be considered a lot or a few published papers. Maybe it’s different in various fields? For arguments sake, let’s say in a particular discipline 5 papers would be a general cut off point between someone new or of no particular importance or note, and being someone others are paying attention to.

Through paper 5, they are only known and progress via a genderless ID. Peers have by that time have discussed and determined the quality of the works. During professional reviews, or even more casual discussions, one may be allowed to abstain from having an opion on a percentage of the papers, but could not withhold on all, so they can’t wait to find out the persons gender before giving an opinion.

After the reveal, the published person now owns whatever reputation they have, and can now also claim bragging rights.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 04:17 pm
@ehBeth,
This is interesting, it is an article that was referenced in EhBeth's link. The authors of this study suggest that the false narrative that women face unfair bias may contribute to the problem by discouraging women from pursuing STEM fields.

Quote:

Wendy M. Williams, professor of human development at Cornell University, and Stephen Ceci, the Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology at Cornell, are no strangers to complicating research on gender bias in STEM. In a 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for example, they argued that women’s life choices, whether voluntary or constrained, better explain women’s underrepresentation in STEM than the usual suspects of discrimination in journal and grant reviewing and hiring. (They argued such biases were things of the past, and that efforts to address them missed the real source of the problem.)

...

“We hope that the discovery of an overall 2 to 1 preference for hiring women over otherwise identical men will help counter self-handicapping and opting out by talented women at the point of entry to the STEM professoriate, and suggest that female underrepresentation can be addressed in part by increasing the number of women applying for tenure-track positions.”


https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/04/14/study-suggests-stem-faculty-hiring-favors-women-over-men
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 04:27 pm
@chai2,
Funding for / approval of research doesn't go to anonymous people in real life academia.

It's a highly competitive world. Any advantage you can take is the one you grab. Not having a 'name' is not an advantage.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 05:46 pm
@ehBeth,
What if there name is revealed after a certain amount of papers?

Even if it's after just one, and all the opinions are given?

Why doesn't funding and approval go to anonymous people, if they can prove via their grades/backgrounds they are viable candidates to do the work? Why do they need any names at all if it's their first shot?

It would be putting into practice the idea of truly getting the best.

I really do get you, and what I'm saying isn't real life.

What you've answered though doesn't make sense for the picking of someone for their first paper, having them do the work, giving their critique, then finding out their name and gender.

If they are looking for someone with certain qualifications, surely they could find someone, and even interview them, without knowing their age/gender/where they are from, etc.


Why, in other words do the powers that be actually have to see a person before they read and critique their work?
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 06:27 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
Why doesn't funding and approval go to anonymous people, if they can prove via their grades/backgrounds they are viable candidates to do the work?


Equality is not the goal of science. Fairness is not one of the most important things in the scientific process. The goal of science institutions is to do science. We all want to make the system more equal (however we define equality). If equality gets in the way of advancing science, I think most scientists understand that advancing the science is the primary goal.

The scientific community is like any other human institution. It is built primarily through relationships, that is the way that human work and the only real way to get work done.

In any scientific or engineering field, grades aren't very important. What is important is who you know, actually who knows you. The recommendation from one of your professors while they are having beer with someone on the funding board is priceless; worth far more more than your grades or your transcript.

This is because people who know you, know your work and your abilities are a far better judge of how you will do than your grades or transcript.

Human beings and human organizations are complex and are built through interpersonal relationships and networks. That is why these simplistic solutions relying on some quantitative measure of someone's value aren't realistic.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 08:15 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
What you've answered though doesn't make sense for the picking of someone for their first paper, having them do the work, giving their critique, then finding out their name and gender.


that's academia for you

relationships/connections/attitudes

the problem is already ongoing before the first paper

from above

Quote:
But in what's been called the 'leaky STEM pipeline,' women haven't advanced as far toward equity in academic careers. However female underrepresentation is even more extreme in high-profile journal publications.

Women Men
PhD students
55% 45%
Postdocs
43.5% 56.5%
NIH large grant recipient
30% 70%
Tenure-track faculty
29% 71%
First author of research article in Nature/Science
25% 75%
Full professors
24% 76%
Last author of research article in Nature/Science
15% 85%


academia has been the finest of old boy networks for centuries

there's certainly been a lot of improvement but there's still a long way to go

definitely been interesting to read the studies that show how often it is the women doing the research and analysis and the men getting their names in the two primo spots on the published papers. it's better than it was when women didn't even get the middle name spots, but it's not there yet. the best people have to get the jobs and the credit for doing the work.

__

Quote:
Why doesn't funding and approval go to anonymous people, if they can prove via their grades/backgrounds they are viable candidates to do the work?


you don't that far in academia without people knowing who you are. you are your background - you can't hide from that. were you here in the days sozobe was posting about her husband's activities as he got toward professorship? it's a slog at the very best of times and with a good name/reputation.

publishing/connections/attitude (bias)

neptuneblue
 
  0  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 08:52 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

II am working to give my daughter the skills that she will need to excel should she choose to be in engineering.

I want my daughter (as my sons) to equal opportunity. I am teaching her to confident, to be aggressive. I teach her to negotiate for salary and position and to promote herself. She seems to have no trouble doing this (and I am not worried). I also want my daughter to have equal opportunity...


First of all, you shouldn't be discussing you child on an open forum or the subject becomes fair game in all of your posts.

Second, you are negating the premise of the article, where knowledge is second when a female name is presented first. Taking a look at the statistics,

Women Men

PhD students
55% 45%

Postdocs
43.5% 56.5%

NIH large grant recipient
30% 70%

Tenure-track faculty
29% 71%

First author of research article in Nature/Science

25% 75%

Full professors
24% 76%

Last author of research article in Nature/Science
15% 85%

So, it's not a knowledge based system at all, since there's more women in the programs that deserve and have achieved placement to be there versus men.

0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 08:56 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote max:
Quote:
Sure, if a gender-blind system significantly raises the number of published papers by women, it would strongly suggest a gender bias (and I would likely support it). But what if the gender-blind system had the opposite effect?
We'll never know until we try, won't we? Yet I doubt you would support the trial, since you said you would support adopting the gender blind system only after it proved to heighten the numbers of papers published by women scientists. Essentially you are saying that you don't support adopting gender blindness, but will accept it if it proves to work. However, you don't support giving it a chance to work in the first place.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Jul, 2018 09:37 pm
@ehBeth,
Ok, thanks Beth, I didn't know all this.

Makes sense now.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2018 06:06 am
@Blickers,
There is a question about whether such a test would be practical.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Thu 26 Jul, 2018 06:21 am
@ehBeth,
It sounds like all publications should be done without any names, say for a period of one year. There are plenty of examples of renown scientists publishing bad science, but the weight of their names resulted in them getting published anyway and limited enthusiastic review. Likewise, a new name will garner more skepticism than an established name and create a barrier to publishing Peer review would be more effective if the science was not tainted in any way by a name. After a year, the names could be published.
 

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