Science is desperate. It needs to believe itself honorable. It's threatened by the fact that it's not safe for so many of us. Period. It's just not safe.- A. Hope Jahren, in an interview about women in science and advancement in plant biology.
For the first time [ever], NASA’s latest class of astronauts is 50 percent female. And, NASA has announced, in 15 years they could all be selected for an inaugural trip to Mars.
Do I have boobs now? "Dear Facebook and Instagram, I'm a trans woman starting hormones. Are you going to censor me?" [more inside]
Boys Don't Cry
If you take any personality trait—aggressiveness, say—and draw a bell curve for the distribution of this trait in girls and boys, you will find there are many girls who are more aggressive than a number of boys. But when adults buy into traditional masculine or feminine ideologies, they rear their children to conform to those norms. They try to force girls who are aggressive into not being aggressive, or boys who are nurturing into not being nurturing.Brian Gresko interviews psychologist Dr. Ronald Levant on the evolution of maleness and the sociocultural forces that have long stifled men and fathers. [more inside]
LEGO does something good! (Sets revolving around female scientists sold out in one day; previously.) LEGO does something bad! (Sets with major petro-company branding.) [more inside]
There were a number of notable firsts for women elected to office as early as the late 1800s, and there is a significant history of women running for president and vice president in the United States, but until 1984, no woman had been nominated to as vice president in one of the major parties. 30 years ago, the Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale announced Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, and she accepted the nomination to resounding roar of excitement (another version, on YouTube; transcript). [more inside]
Frustrated with the modern toy market's focus on female characters with uncomfortable costumes, uninspiring back stories, and unrealistic body proportions -- "most are created for the adult male collector, decidedly more Hooters than heroine" -- Wellesley alumnae Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau joined forces with the legendary creative team at EleventyPlex to crowdfund a new line of fierce, Joan of Arc-inspired action figures, designed to encourage girls to embrace their inner strengths and imagine themselves as self-made superheroes: I Am Elemental. [more inside]
Just in time for International Womens Day, it's Narrow the Gap, a look at the unbalanced payrolls of American workers based on US Department of Labor statistics from a variety of industries.
Paul Cornell, noted genre author and TV writer, recently announced that he seeks convention panel parity and will take personal action to that end:
If I'm on, at any convention this year, a panel that doesn't have a 50/50 gender split (I'll settle for two out of five), I'll hop off that panel, and find a woman to take my place.This leads to the general question at Tor.com, The Cornell Ratio: Should SFF Convention Panels Be 50/50 Male and Female?
"In this land of Viking lore, men are at the heart of the gender-equality debate." "From trendy central Stockholm to this village in the rugged forest south of the Arctic Circle, 85 percent of Swedish fathers take parental leave. Those who don’t face questions from family, friends and colleagues. As other countries still tinker with maternity leave and women’s rights, Sweden may be a glimpse of the future." "“Society is a mirror of the family,” Mr. Westerberg said. “The only way to achieve equality in society is to achieve equality in the home. Getting fathers to share the parental leave is an essential part of that.”" [more inside]
Ever wondered what would happen if all those people playing Farmville and Mafia Wars were trying to save the world instead? Enter Urgent Evoke, "a ten week crash course in changing the world," designed by Jane McGonigal (who previously designed World without Oil) for the World Bank Institute. Players take on tasks like the UN Millennium Development Goals. Wanna play? [more inside]
Gender Gap Report 2009 - The U.S. in a lowly 31st position. The United States, which prides itself on civil rights progress during the past half century, fell four spots from last year to stand at 31st place behind Lithuania and ahead of Namibia, according to the World Economic Forum, a nonprofit group based in Switzerland. Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, said at the launch of the report in New York: "In many ways we've been a model ... but we also have a ways to travel." Iceland and three other Nordic countries lead the world in gender equality, according to a report released on Tuesday by the World Economic Forum. [more inside]
Slanted story? Does anyone really believe that most VC firms wouldn't back a solid business plan only because a woman ran the company? The argument sounds like parity for the sake of parity, without merit.