Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How Can We Make Science More Appealing?

Reading this article comes on an interesting day as it's about women in science, and this week my daughters (6 and 8 years) are in science camp. The first day my daughters came home from camp they were excited to used a motor on hand-made bases with wheels - little cars - as my kids described them, and a paper airplane. At the end of day two, they had been excited to take apart a VCR, TV, and keyboard, but then also mentioned that they'd made planes, planes, and more planes. Today they were happy with dismantling another keyboard, but then said it was boats, boats, boats most of the day. There are only 2 girls and 4 boys in the camp. My husband and I are trying to inject people into the discussion of what they're making and how different boats and planes could be designed for different needs to humanize what they're doing. I don't remember when they started to associate these objects with boys, but they are looking for the girl angle or project in the science camp.

Now I read about the challenges in the field of chemistry for female accademics. How a small amount of positive reinforcement and encouragement can go along way to keep people on course. I hadn't read about the research before related to the review of resumes for tenure positions. The article mentions that the same resume was sent out to 200 psychologists who hard a strong leaning to hiring if the name on the resume was male. A difference occured for the resume for tenure as the gender didn't make a difference, however the notes on the resume suggested more follow up for details, research papers, etc. on the female resumes. The article doesn't mention whether there was a difference in whether the reviewer was male or female, but continues to say women often have the same biases as men.

We spend so much of our time working without feedback, encouragement, or reinforcement that we're on path - did you also know that managers are less likely to give direct feedback to women than men? This puts us at a disadvantage, unless we figure out how to get feedback.

A take away from the article on the Chemistry field is to create supportive networks. They do mention this in the article.

No comments: