Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gender and race in science

Gender and race in science: online and off
Suzanne Franks – moderator
Karen Ventii, Pat Campbell, Sciencewoman – panelists

Pat Campbell, Fairer Science blog
-Started from small NSF grant
-used blog to get people to the website
-great community of women in science that young girls don’t necessarily know about
-how can we use blogs to get girls interested in science?
-working with advocates to use blogs to get kids excited in science

-maintains anonymity because not in position of power
-blogs about juggling tenure, motherhood
-gives approx. an hour to reading and writing blogs; important for social, community aspect and feedback
-think about style and focus of blog, and be true to that focus

Karen Ventii, grad student at Emory
-got into blogging to get experience in sci writing
-interested in how science affects people’s everyday lives (this is her focus)
-grad school is her career
-has gotten job offers because of her blog

General discussion
-in absence of gender cues, default is to male in science, but not so in other fields (education, librarianship)
-even if you blog pseudonymously you have to censor what you say; feels constrained by online persona same as when blogging under your own name
-unless we want to be “fulltime asshole” must censor what we say
-Suzanne doesn’t feel constrained on her blog because she isn’t worried about ramifications at work; she’s bolder, more straightforward on her blog than in real life
-does have concerns about future employers’ reaction to her blog
-difficult for people to say I’m not only interested in science, but how gender and race affect and are effected by science; perception of innate objectivity when approaching any subject (as a scientist) creates challenges
-easy to have different levels of interaction in blogosphere that you cannot have with a colleague; flexibility more useful for those who are more isolated in work environment (e.g., only scientist in lab juggling having baby because only woman in lab)
-acknowledging scientific data and study on gender and race is important to making advances in getting more women and minorities into science, science blogging
-important for men to acknowledge that juggling a career and family is also their issue
-don’t underestimate costs of being willing to speak up; still taboo to talk about these issues openly
-when you talk about race and gender issues, risk being tagged with that for the remainder of your career

No comments: