Where are all the women?

A nice Slate article explaining the results of a PNAS study on looking at gender disparity in the sciences.  For some of us, this comes as no surprise, but I do believe studies like this are the first step towards equality.  Women are most definitely still a minority in the sciences. 

Conclusions from the study:

  • 52% of Biology PhD’s are women… but only 18% of tenure track professors are women (a leaky pipeline).
  • Male faculty members are significantly less likely than female faculty to bring female trainees into their labs
  • If the male professor had won a prestigious award, he was even less likely to take women into his lab

One thing yet to be determined… WHY does all this still happen, and WHY are women leaving the field?  While some in the article may claim “women don’t like or just aren’t good at science and math” (say WHAT?!), I believe the issue is a more complex one, and the article goes into more realistic possible reasons: male aggression, etc.  

One thing is for sure, starting conversations about this inequality and the “leaky pipeline” problem is a step in the right direction.  

Women who have children later, may live longer… maybe #scienceclarification

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While this correlative study should certainly not be used to justify pushing back having children, it might be nice to hear for women who do make that decision (like those in STEM fields that require years and years of education and training). The study, published in Menopause, is a bit odd and looks at subgroups of women from the Long Life Family Study for cases and controls. The study concludes that there is a positive association between older maternal age and having greater odds for surviving to an older age. However, the study does not distinguish if the women who lived longer were just amongst women who were able to conceive later, perhaps indicating slower aging processes.

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Lara Salahi has a written a news article about the study for boston.com.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Menopause, looked at data from 462 women who were part of The Long Life Family Study, which included families with members who had lived long lives. The researchers compared the ages at which these women had their last child and how long they lived. Those who got pregnant naturally and successfully birthed their last child after age 33 were twice as likely to live to age 95 compared to those who had their last child by age 29.

Advice from a few women in STEM

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Fun, albeit short, slideshow quoting women in STEM from makers.com. Should definitely be a longer list. 

“I don’t want mothers saying, ‘Put that mud down. Stop doing that because you’re going to ruin your dress.’ You get dirty sometimes. Who cares! You can’t do some of these things and keep your hair all nice.”

– Mae Jemison, first women of color in space