In the Company of Women

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a room of medical clinicians and public health researchers – all of whom happened to be women. Although the demographics in my own discipline are shifting such that approximately 60% of new doctoral degrees are awarded to women, I rarely find myself exclusively in the company of women, much less women of various ethnic backgrounds who have decided to pursue scholarship at the highest levels. However, I have no illusions that the problem of low gender and ethnic diversity in STEM fields is simply due to women’s lack of commitment to their work.

If you can’t tell, I am not a fan of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean-In narrative – as Imani Grady argued, black women have been leaning in for years, and yet we still hold few positions of power in academe or business. It is clear that the structures within academe were not created to support the dynamic nature of women’s lives, particularly those aspects that include caretaking and childrearing.

Here I happened to be at a conference that was designed to discuss how we, as women, can navigate the arc of a long career in international research – careers that require far more flexibility than the lean-in narrative outlines. This conference managed to address everything from mentorship to publications, with a special focus on integrating the academic and private lives of women. Continue reading

Dress for Success

Ever since I started going to conferences, I’ve been at a loss for what to wear. The men in my field pride themselves in the aloof state of their dress when presenting their results, and it’s not uncommon to see them presenting in jeans, a t-shirt, and flip flops. But for women, there is an unspoken rule that to be taken seriously, jeans and a t-shirt just aren’t going to cut it. Continue reading

Baby on (Poster) Board? conferencing with a kid

This month I’ve presented at two conferences. This would not be noteworthy, were it not for the fact that I have a one month old. The first conference allowed me to participate remotely, and the second conference was within driving distance, so I attended in person (along with baby and husband). Insane? Possibly. Tiring? Definitely. So I’ve been reflecting on whether or not it was worth it, especially as a cash strapped graduate student, and the accommodations that made going possible. Continue reading

Academic Travel on a Budget

This year has been extremely travel heavy for me, the most since I’ve entered the field. I’m at the point in my post-doc where I have a good sense of the research program I want to build, so now I’ve been taking it on the road to get others excited about it and hopefully create enough interest to open up a faculty position. When this year ends, I won’t have spent a single entire month at home, with some months travelling as much as once a week. Although it’s very exciting (and sometimes exhausting), there’s a particular aspect of it I want to discuss: reimbursement culture when you’re on a budget.

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Guest Post: Women In Science at Evolution 2014

This is the third consecutive year that the Evolution Meeting has had a workshop and networking lunch focused on Women in Science. This year’s focus was on implicit bias in the workplace. The event was organized by Jenny Boughman (Michigan State University) and Michele Dudash (University of Maryland) and led by Joan Herbers (Ohio State University), past president of the Association for Women in Science. During the workshop, which was attended by about 45 women and 1 man, participants were asked to share instances in academic settings in which they felt they had been disadvantaged due to implicit bias. Continue reading