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Recommendation letters reflect gender bias
Female geoscientists are less likely to be described as excelling beyond other students than their male counterparts are, according to a study of recommendation letters for highly selective postdoctoral fellowships published today in Nature Geoscience. The letters written for female applicants typically praised them as solid scientists doing good work, using comments such as ''highly intelligent'' and ''very knowledgeable,'' but were less likely to set the applicant apart from the others. The findings support the idea that gender bias exists unconsciously, says Kuheli Dutt, assistant director of academic affairs and diversity at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and lead author of the study, and suggest that ''women are potentially disadvantaged from the beginning of their careers.''
Posted on 10 Nov 2016
DistractinglyHonest exhibit highlights women's work in STEM
Eden Hennessey, a psychology PhD candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University, now has two art exhibitions about sexism in the STEM fields to her name. The latest, DistractinglyHonest, launched this fall at Laurier and features 15 interactive pieces built around portraits of women in science across a range of demographics, careers and interests. A collaboration with Laurier's Centre for Women in Science, where Ms. Hennessey is a student research coordinator, the exhibit is closely linked to her doctoral research on the consequences and perceptions faced by women confronting sexism in STEM. ''It aims to shine a light on the reality of women's experiences as scientists,''says Laurier physics and computer science professor Shohini Ghose, who is featured in the exhibit.
Posted on 10 Nov 2016
A new study shows that the gender gap in math abilities starts early - and teacher bias makes it worse as time goes on
In 2008, research suggested there was no gender gap in math performance in the US. From second to 11th grades, girls did just as well as boys on state standardized math tests. A new, well-designed, and large study suggests otherwise. It looks at younger children and shows that there is a tiny gender gap when kids start school (albeit larger among the very top performers) and that it widens, across all ability levels, through third grade. That's a critical timeframe, as past research shows that early math achievement determines a child's interest and confidence in the subject during elementary and middle school, and strongly predicts how good at math she'll be later on. Perhaps most unsettling is the study's finding that teachers perceive girls with nearly identical mathematical abilities- and identical behavioral profiles - to be significantly less able than their male counterparts, and that bias itself is part of the reason girls end up doing worse.
Posted on 10 Nov 2016
Masculine culture responsible for keeping women out of computer science, engineering
Many science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas now show a gender parity - women earn about half of the undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry and mathematics. This, however, is not true of all STEM areas - women earn fewer than one out of every five of the undergraduate degrees in computer science and engineering. The failure of computer science and engineering to recruit and graduate women is incredibly costly. These disciplines often offer high-paying jobs, and men's greater participation in lucrative jobs in these fields perpetuates the gender gap in pay. That's not all. When predominantly male engineering teams design lifesaving products, such as airbags and heart valves, they often do so with male bodies in mind. This has far-reaching implications - some of these products have caused injuries and deaths for women and children. The research shows gender gaps in computer science and engineering are a result of a masculine culture that dominates these fields.
Posted on 10 Nov 2016
Breaking the code: Examining female representation in computer science
Given the popularity of the computer science major, it's likely that you've heard some of your friends complain about a coding assignment. But what percentage of those friends are female? Competition for tech talent is intense, with new computer science graduates commanding one of the highest starting salaries. However, men still hold a disproportionate number of jobs in computer science fields. A National Science Foundation study in 2013 found that women's participation in engineering and computer science fields was less than 30 percent. Some students and faculty at Duke have noticed the gender gap in the computer science major. However, according to data provided by Frank Blalark, assistant vice provost and university registrar, the percentage of female computer science majors actually fell from 22.7 percent in 2014 to 17.5 percent in 2015. Rodger noted that she has also observed an emerging trend for female computer science students to exit the major as course levels get higher.
Posted on 10 Nov 2016
Single-Sex education will not bridge the STEM gap
To the average person, news of a massive gender gap in STEM-related fields would likely be unsurprising. A report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows that in 2014, 81 percent of Bachelor's degrees in engineering were obtained by male graduates, while 19 percent of degrees were received by female graduates. Similarly, computer sciences saw a gap of 82 percent to 18 percent between males and females, and physical sciences were divided into 61 percent male and 39 percent female, while females dominate fields in the social sciences. This report, just one in a series of similar studies, is hardly news, and it seems that Americans are well aware of the gender gap. The question now is how to shift the balance toward equal representation.
Posted on 31 Oct 2016
Supporting prospective women in STEM starts with accessible mentors
A recent UW study explored current gender disparities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and it concluded that an unwelcoming culture was the main deterrent to women entering these fields. Lead author Sapna Cheryan, an associate professor in psychology, said that most studies focus on disparities in STEM fields as a whole, but this one focused on the presence of higher representation in some fields versus others. Although women are well-represented in certain STEM fields like biology, chemistry, and math, the disparity becomes more apparent in computer science, engineering, and physics.
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Posted on 31 Oct 2016
When A Company Is Failing, Female CEOs Get Blamed More Frequently Than Men
It's not your imagination or a just a hunch: Female chief executives are treated differently by the media than their male counterparts, a new analysis of press coverage of CEOs confirms. As you might expect, female CEOs' personal and family lives are much more frequently the subject of articles, according to the study, an examination of news coverage of 20 chief executives - men and women - released Wednesday by the Rockefeller Foundation. More striking than that? The study's authors could not find a single article written about a male CEO that mentioned family life.
Posted on 31 Oct 2016
Meet Dot, the new children's show character inspiring girls to embrace tech
Dot is like a lot of 8-year-old girls in 2016 - spirited, smart and savvy when it comes to all things tech. Although Dot is a cartoon, she is doing real-world work to inspire girls to take these qualities into their adult lives. A new children's show, Dot, featuring the young character recently premiered in the hopes of tackling tech's gender gap. The titular character is a spunky girl with insatiable curiosity about the world - and she uses technology to help learn, create and explore. The groundbreaking show explores what it's like to live as a child - particularly a young girl - in a tech-focused world.
Posted on 31 Oct 2016
Film 'She Started It' eyes struggle of women tech entrepreneurs
''She Started It'' focuses primarily on two young women: Thuy Truong, a Vietnamese serial entrepreneur, and Stacey Ferreira, who dropped out of college to pursue a business idea. Ferreira and her brother had already started and sold a company successfully. Directors and producers Insiyah Saeed and Nora Poggi followed Truong and Ferreira for two years, capturing moments like Truong practice-pitching at 500 Startups, venture capitalist Dave McClure's fund and accelerator, and Ferreira listening to her mother extol the virtues of going to college, while telling Ferreira's brother that many successful people don't.
Posted on 31 Oct 2016

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