#GirlsWithToys hashtag - part 35

What is this hashtag about? In short: the hashtag was born out of casual sexism by a male scientist. To read more about what spurred this response, read Kate Clancy’s (creator of the hashtag) article below:

Girls With Toys: This is what real scientists look like.

View my other posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7Part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18, part 19, part 20, part 21, part 22, part 23, part 24, part 25, part 26part 27, part 28, part 29, part 30, part 31, part 32part 33 and part 34.

rationalhippie asked:

I think #girlswithtoys just proved that women in stem issue is baseless, and all this hyperbolic "women don't go to stem because sexism" has zero credibility. Look at all these female scientists!!! All of them exceptions?

You’re so wrong its laughable. The reason the hashtag is important is because it highlights successful women in STEM careers which gives aspiring scientists role models and encouragement to succeed. Are you really arguing that a few thousands photos of women in Science suddenly means that women are equal in STEM fields? Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m a man, and even I understand this. I am the one who has been creating and sharing these photosets ( shychemist is my personal blog), because I realize how important movements like this are. Even when women get into stem fields, rampant sexism, discrimination and unequal treatement can push them out.

Any opportunity I get I will encourage women in STEM fields. They deserve to be there and succeed just as much as a man.

Let me educate you:


Columbia Business School experiments show that hiring managers chose men twice as often for careers in science, technology, engineering and math

Bias Persists for Women of Science, a Study Finds

Science professors at American universities widely regard female undergraduates as less competent than male students with the same accomplishments and skills, a new study by researchers at Yale concluded.

As a result, the report found, the professors were less likely to offer the women mentoring or a job. And even if they were willing to offer a job, the salary was lower.

This is a must read which goes deeply into why women are discouraged and discriminated against in STEM fields:

Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?

Here’s some more:

Women Deterred From Many Fields by Stereotypes of ‘Brilliance’

Teacher Prejudices Put Girls Off Math, Science

Sexual Harassment and Assault Prove Common During Scientific Field Studies

Women Scientists Share Their Awful Stories Of Sexism In Publishing

Sexism In Science? UK Study Finds Women Scientists Get Fewer Grants, Less Funding Than Male Counterparts

Gender Inequality in STEM Fields

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, fields are exceedingly male dominated with women making up only 24 percent of such occupations in the United States. Starting from a young age, girls are made to believe that their abilities are not sufficient enough satisfy the requirements in such ‘complicated’ fields and that boys are just more suitable for such jobs. Many are taught and that even if they were to take interest in such subjects, it would be unnecessary since the fields are male dominated and they would never be able to excel in them. Overall societal pressures and expectations force women to conform to gender norms that hinder their participation and development in STEM fields. Gender inequality in STEM fields reflect hierarchical system that further discourages women from working in them.

Gender disparities in scientific field expectations start at a young age. Researchers such as Sadker and Zittleman suggest that the classroom environment in elementary schools often favor boys over girls as studies showed that “teachers called on boys more, commented more on their work, and praised them more” , creating a discouraging environment for young girls making them feel less competent in academic fields. Corroborated by researcher, Andre found that boys in the same grade feel they have a higher proficiency in physical sciences than girls , leading to girls in grades 4-6 often feeling that boys are better at math and sciences, particularly physical sciences. A decrease in science ability perception for students in grades 5-8 existed for girls only ; these misconceptions reflect career aspirations as a report by the US Department of Education found that, “boys were more than twice as likely as girls to aspire to be scientists or engineers (9 and 3 percent, respectively)” as early as the eighth grade . This evidence points to a societal perception that young girls experience and believe that science is for boys and not for girls. While these girls were taught names of great scientists such as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Galileo Galilei, all who were males, they were never exposed to any female professionals in such fields. Without any women role models to look up to, the girls were subconsciously made to believe that women were just not fit to do such jobs. This perception continued to exist in the home as well as the school with even parents having higher expectations for boys’ scientific abilities ; girls had no place to stand in STEM subjects.

Even after entering STEM majors, women continue to face societal pressures and negative stereotypes about their abilities in colleges. A survey of college freshmen by the Higher Education Research Institute showed that 29 percent of male freshmen planned to enter STEM majors while only 15 female freshmen planned to enter similar majors. Gender roles tie women to certain fields even within STEM that are more generally seen as jobs for ‘caregivers’ as seen in 1999 while 4 percent of women and 20 percent of men planned to major in computer science and engineering, in biological or health sciences, the percentages between men and women were very similar. At post-secondary level, women were less likely to earn a degree in STEM fields than men, with the exception to this gender imbalance is in the life sciences. Historically biological sciences were tied with medical fields that were seen as ‘nurturing’ acts, tied with women’s place in society. This ties back in with women’s childhoods in which they were encouraged to believe that they did not have the mental capacity to analyze mathematical concepts as sufficiently as boys. This has nothing to do with actual ability, however as, on average, high school girls take more math and science credits and earn higher grades in these subjects than boys. Women also have higher GPAs on average than men in all majors, including STEM majors. The fact that there is no disparity between men and women in their STEM ability, and that elementary school girls and boys generally have equal interest in science suggests that there are societal expectations prevent women from entering STEM majors as they mature.

The workforce also demonstrates gender inequality in STEM fields. This inequality is often measured by the pay gap, as “women working full time in engineering and architecture earned only about 93 percent of what their male colleagues earned. While women engineers and architects earn an average of 105 percent of their male colleagues in their first year out of college, attributing to efforts to encourage girls to enter engineering fields, this gap soon reversed over time. As much as 38% of female students who remained in STEM fields expressed concerns that they would be in a better financial situation if they had not taken up these male dominated careers, leading them to experience less satisfaction with the workplace environment in STEM fields than men as evidenced by their greater faculty turnover (Xu 2008). Despite women being equally committed to their jobs, the STEM workplace is more supportive to men than women. At work, the bosses expect less participation in the job from women than from men (Xu 2008), suppressing them from expressing their full potential. Even after thirty years since Congress’s outlawing of sex discrimination in education, the gender divided in career and technical education (CTE) has narrowed barely at all (Toglia 2013).

With constant suppression from society, women cannot prosper or enter as a dominant figure in scientific fields. To allow more women to participate in such fields, it is essential that the same academic opportunities are given to girls as the boys at an early stage at their lives. Without an equal distribution of gender in specific STEM roles, a hierarchical society will continue to build, going against the foundation of American ideals focusing on equality for all. Women are constantly undermined for their abilities to perform adequately in technological fields and are forced to conform under such misconceptions. The patriarchal stereotypes trap women seeking an opportunity in STEM fields in the United States of America.

Works Cited
Toglia, Thomas V. “Gender Equity Issues In CTE And STEM Education.” Tech Directions 72.7 (2013): 14-17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

Xu, Yonghong. “Gender Disparity In STEM Disciplines: A Study Of Faculty Attrition And Turnover Intentions.” Research In Higher Education 49.7 (2008): 607-624. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

I really could go on and on and on, but I really hope this is enough. I encourage you and everyone else to read all about this and leave your prejudiced notions behind.

Evening plans: I just enrolled in An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1), offered by Coursera in conjunction with Rice University. The course runs from 23 May - 26 June and should be a good way to hone my very rudimentary Python skills. 

Also, a friend enthusiastically “lent” me Robert B. Cialdini’s book (pictured) – it’s not really up my alley but maybe I’ll flip through it eventually. What I will do tonight, for sure, is drink lots of Earl Grey from this I Flunked Anger Management mug (Secret Santa gift, Christmas 2014) while I putter around on the Coursera website.

  • Aries:Respect for women in STEM fields
  • Taurus:An unbiased hiring process for women in STEM fields
  • Gemini:Recognition for women in STEM fields
  • Cancer:Healthy work environments for women in STEM fields
  • Leo:Encouragement for young girls to enter STEM fields
  • Virgo:Funding for women in STEM fields
  • Libra:Equal pay for women in STEM fields
  • Scorpio:An apology for the atrocities committed against women in STEM fields
  • Sagittarius:Support for women in STEM fields
  • Capricorn:The advancement of women in STEM fields
  • Aquarius:Reasonable expectations for women in STEM fields
  • Pisces:Love for women in STEM fields
Female scientists told paper is no good unless they get a man to help them

Dr Fiona Ingleby, Research Fellow at University of Sussex

Yes this really happened - two accomplished female scientists were told to get a man to co author their paper in order to be published. Dr Fiona Ingleby and Dr Megan Head are evolutionary biologists researching how gender affects PhD students transitioning into post doctoral jobs. In life imitating art their paper was rejected by a reviewer at the journal due to “issues on methodologies and presentation of results”. They were advised to remedy this by finding  “one or two male biologists” to assist or be active co-authors in the paper.

Keep reading


#GirlsWithToys hashtag - part 30

What is this hashtag about? In short: the hashtag was born out of casual sexism by a male scientist. To read more about what spurred this response, read Kate Clancy’s (creator of the hashtag) article below:

Girls With Toys: This is what real scientists look like.

View my other posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8,part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18,part 19, part 20, part 21, part 22, part 23, part 24, part 25, part 26, part 27part 28 and part 29.


Life is hard for women in tech — but a new documentary may have the solution 

Female programmers are sorely underrepresented in tech. Women are afraid to speak up about the discrimination they see because they worry about their jobs. Even CEOs of giant media companies who do speak up, like current Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, see their complaints minimized. It’s a cancerous problem affecting one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Luckily, there are women fighting back.