We often talk about the “leaky pipeline of STEM” as a way to talk about how women and people of color drop out of STEM careers at alarmingly high rates, but it is time to abandon that language. We’re not talking about a passive system here, where people just happen to drip out of the pipeline. No, we’re talking about a system that actively creates pressure. If you take a large pipe, attach it to a smaller pipe and then a smaller one, while still pushing the same amount of water through, what’s going to happen? Either your pipe is going to spring pressure-driven leaks or you’re going to have to have holes drilled to relieve it. We’re not talking about a leaky pipeline of STEM, we’re talking about a gorram sprinkler system, actively pushing out people who were set up to fail from the beginning by the very system itself.— Skepchick | Science has an Image Problem (via brutereason)
There are very real problems in the sciences. But right now the field is caught in an auto-catalytic cycle, where people point out ways in which we’re failing at outreach, the people in positions of power dig in their heels with cries of “but *we* weren’t offended!”, the same people then wring their hands and wonder why there isn’t more diversity in science… and continue to ignore us when answers to that question are given. And if we keep making excuses for the smaller things that hurt various groups, it’s never goin to change.
Little is known about the climate of the scientific fieldwork setting as it relates to gendered experiences, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. We conducted an internet-based survey of field scientists (N = 666) to characterize these experiences. Codes of conduct and sexual harassment policies were not regularly encountered by respondents, while harassment and assault were commonly experienced by respondents during trainee career stages. Women trainees were the primary targets; their perpetrators were predominantly senior to them professionally within the research team. Male trainees were more often targeted by their peers at the research site. Few respondents were aware of mechanisms to report incidents; most who did report were unsatisfied with the outcome. These findings suggest that policies emphasizing safety, inclusivity, and collegiality have the potential to improve field experiences of a diversity of researchers, especially during early career stages. These include better awareness of mechanisms for direct and oblique reporting of harassment and assault and, the implementation of productive response mechanisms when such behaviors are reported. Principal investigators are particularly well positioned to influence workplace culture at their field sites.
This is a difficult reality to face. Fieldwork should be a fun learning experience where you build important professional and personal relationships, not another environment where a trainee is on her (or his!) guard. I hope none of you will need this, but please read this article (full text in the link) and be informed and aware.
If anyone needs to talk about an experience they have had like this, I encourage you to contact your university, or you can always privately message or email us (email@example.com). We would be happy to support you however we can.
Among STEM Ph.D. holders, women and black people are leaving the field in disproportionate numbers, finds a new study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The research uses data from the National Science Foundation’s 2010 Survey of Doctorate Recipients, which includes 400,000 participants who earned doctorate degrees in STEM between 1959 and 2010. The analysis shows that a full 20% of…