In honor of our new book club (sign up HERE, if you want to get in on the fun!), we decided to compile a list of the books we are excited to read in the coming year. Whether you’re a curl up by the fireplace reader or a lounge at the the beach reader, we’ve got your next fem- and steminist books right here.
Facts for your Feminist Agenda
1.Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong -and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini
Women are the inferior sex, right? Wrong! For hundreds of years, everyone believed that ladies were all around the weaker and used that as a justification for their subservient roles. Charles Darwin asserted that women were less evolved than men and for quite a while other male scientists supported him. Even now, science tells us that men and women are different and claim that even on a biological level, we have different tasks hard-wired into our DNA. Angela Saini challenges this and reveals with new data that women are just as smart and strong as men.
“I first stumbled across this book on @stemminist, a twitter-based book club for feminism and STEM. It’s a great read and will have you often muttering “what the heck” to yourself. While I wouldn’t call it a feel good read, it does feel really good to finally have the myths about us [women] get acknowledged and dispelled in this book. I cannot wait to discuss this at our first book club meeting!”
Hello readers! It’s my turn to sit in the hot seat and let you know a little bit more about me. So say hello to me, Mikaela, the blog and web administrator for this site! While blogging is my night job, my daytime hours are spent in the lab developing energy storage materials. When I’m not working, I love to go horseback riding, practice acroyoga, and read high fantasy novels.
Back in October, we had a meeting on the 11th to celebrate International Day of the Girl. While snacking on brie-stuffed strawberries and arancini, we conversed about our experiences of being women in science. We discussed statistics, sexism from peers and professors, the people that have helped us get so far, and the ones who still do. While our experiences were diverse, we were all in agreement on one thing – how beneficial it is to see other successful women in science. Whether it’s a family member, a teacher, or a celebrity, we could all think of a woman that inspired us. They are someone to point to when we are told that ‘girls aren’t good at science’ until we become that woman ourselves.
Say hello to Sharmila, our coordinator for external affairs and outreach and ardent tennis fan. When she’s not playing the game herself, she loves to watch Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Saina Nehwal do their thing!
Say Hello to Alyssa – our Vice President, ocean expert, and pasta enthusiast. When she’s not out running on Long Island trails, she conducts research in the San Juan Islands of Washington State and on the shores here in New York.
Say Hello to Caitlyn – our event coordinator, twitter wrangler, and resident expert on how to survive Minnesota in the winter. As a part of our new ‘Meet the Executive Board’ series, we’ll – and by we I mean the blogger, Hi! Hello! – we’ll be showcasing each member of the board, interview style.
In light of the #metoo movement and the stories of questionable behavior of men towards women that are surfacing in both popular culture and scientific settings, we can all see that there are more and more conversations among our friend circles on what kinds of interactions are unacceptable. While it is clear that in cases of harassment and assault, there needs to be harsh criminal consequences, what about those “gray area” situations at the opposite end of the spectrum, in which men make women feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, or unsafe through everyday interactions? What should the consequences be for bad, but not criminal, behavior? What conversations do we need to have to begin a shift towards a culture in science that supports all people?
This was our last Brown Bag Lunch discussion of the Fall Semester, 2017. We invited people to the Physics department to discuss ‘‘Google’s Diversity Manifesto’’ over coffee and donuts. We had a lengthy and detailed discussion with widely varying perspectives over the topic. There was a clear consensus among everyone about how the circulation of such a document in a big corporation like Google undermines the competence of women and lends unreasonable credence to the widely held opinion of women not being skilled enough to participate in STEM fields. STEM fields have very skewed sex ratios that should be improved by encouraging women to take up STEM fields as their career. A document of this kind does more harm than good in trying to improve gender ratios in these fields. The spectrum of opinions was much wider when we brought up the question of fairness of the person being fired for writing such a polarizing opinion about this topic. While some people strongly believed that the act was worthy of being fired from the company, others were of the opinion that resorting to such exclusionary measures can lead to consequences which are opposite to what is desirable in the long run.
On November 16, GWISE hosted the annual mixer event featuring the talk “It Takes a Village to Advance Women in STEM”. The invited speaker, Prof. Sandra K Masur, works in Ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. In addition to many leadership roles, she served as chair of the Women in Cell Biology Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology.