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girls and technology!

WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
posted by divabat on Aug 16, 2014 - 69 comments

In conclusion, LEGO is a land of contrasts.

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]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Aug 12, 2014 - 85 comments

Women in archaeology, geology, and palaeontology

"TrowelBlazers is a celebration of women archaeologists, palaeontologists and geologists who have been doing awesome work for far longer, and in far greater numbers, than most people realize." [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 7, 2014 - 4 comments

Having the same tired discussions about gender bias, over and over.

The first Women in Science Writing: Solutions Summit took place at MIT on June 13-15. Here's a brief roundup, with plenty of links and stats that look at gender bias and harassment in science journalism.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 24, 2014 - 27 comments

Explore the world and beyond!

In August, Lego will launch a new line depicting women scientists, that will include an astronomer with a telescope, a paleontologist with a dinosaur skeleton and a chemist in a lab. The idea for the set was submitted by Dr. Ellen Kooijman, a geochemist in Sweden. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 5, 2014 - 44 comments

17 Lies We Need to Stop Teaching Girls About Sex

Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone.
But first, we're going to need to stop perpetuating the following 17 myths about female sexuality.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 28, 2014 - 120 comments

Hygienic and Scientific Cooking

"....many a tragic episode in family life is superinduced by the baleful influence of a tortured stomach. Mighty is the hand that holds the ballot-box, but mightier is the hand that wields to advantage the pepper-box, the salt-spoon, and the sugar-shaker." read the entirely of Maud C. Cooke's, Breakfast, Dinner and Supper; or, What To Eat and How To Prepare It (1897) online and enter a world of home remedies, large scale recipes, sound advice, leftover wizardry, squirrel stews, scientific digestion, and horrible things done to vegetables.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 17, 2014 - 12 comments

"Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?"

When DNLee was approached to write blog posts for Biology Online, she quite reasonably asked about the terms of the agreement. When she turned them down, their response was...somewhat less than reasonable. And when DNLee posted to her blog about it, Scientific American – who hosts her blog as part of their science blog network – responded in perhaps the most tone-deaf manner possible. [more inside]
posted by freelanceastro on Oct 12, 2013 - 195 comments

Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?

Last summer, researchers at Yale published a study proving that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts. A wonderful long article by Eileen Pollack where she talks to her former mentors, the study authors, and the other female science professors at her alma mater. NYTMagazine, worth reading especially for the absence of glib simple answers. (Previously, of course.)
posted by RedOrGreen on Oct 3, 2013 - 67 comments

Star gazing girls of Georgian England

An intriguing essay on how young women in Georgian England were able to do science by hiding in the pursuits of the domestic arts.
"Women didn’t find it easy to participate in late eighteenth century science. Experimentation and discovery were not easily compatible with the ideals of domestic femininity – but there were women who rejected these social expectations and became active and renowned."

posted by salishsea on Mar 20, 2013 - 8 comments

Improving the visibility of women in Wikipedia for Ada Lovelace Day 2012

An Ada Lovelace Day editathon is happening at the Royal Society in London This is part of a project to improve the representation of 'women in science' on Wikipedia and is hosted at the Royal Society of London after previous edit-a-thons at Harvard and Stockholm. It seems like most of the participants are women. If it sounds intriguing, it's not too late to register for a subsequent session in Oxford on the 26th (You might even be given cake).
posted by AFII on Oct 19, 2012 - 15 comments

Sally Ride has died of pancreatic cancer

Sally Ride has died of pancreatic cancer at age 61. NPR blog. She was an inspiration to many. I saw her speak years ago when I took my daughters to a women in science program at the University of Michigan and both they and I came away impressed with her intelligence and commitment - the world is a richer place for her having been in it.
posted by leslies on Jul 23, 2012 - 214 comments

On the Aftermath of Sexual Misconduct

Having heard way to many similar stories, Dr. Kate Clancy, author of the popular Scientific American blog Context and Variation, has recently run two accounts written by graduate students about their experiences with sexual harassment in the hopes that they will spark a wider discussion. The comments in the second article are uncharacteristically amazing and include several more women sharing their experiences. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 13, 2012 - 94 comments

"I started by failing"

We all get drowned in paperwork from time to time, but imagine your job required you to go through three miles of paper, identifying quasars and interference from radio signals, by hand? As a 24 year old grad student, Jocelyn Bell did just that. And what she found was called the "greatest astronomical discovery of the twentieth century." [more inside]
posted by glaucon on Oct 26, 2011 - 27 comments

"Attack me in the comments section -- GO."

Jane Pratt (formerly of Sassy Magazine and her eponymous Jane,) launched a website for women: xojane, earlier this year. Last week the site's Health and Beauty Director wrote a blog post explaining that she never uses condoms, birth control pills, or other contraception (for fear of becoming fat) and instead relies on the emergency contraceptive Plan B to prevent pregnancy. And a segment of the internet exploded. (Her responses to some of the comments seem a bit clueless for someone with her title.) Critics have noted that the post was filled with "ignorant" "inaccuracies and misconceptions" about womens' health, sex, Plan B and other forms of birth control. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 21, 2011 - 104 comments

To help thousands of people in over 200 countries diagnose, treat and prevent common illnesses

Hesperian is a non-profit publisher of books and newsletters for community-based health care, mostly aimed at the third world. Their first book, Where There Is No Doctor, A Village Health Handbook, has been translated into 88 languages and is one of the most widely used training and work manuals for community health care in the world. They have now made 20 of their publications available for free download, many of which can now also be browsed online through their website using an "Ebrary" in-browser interface. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 26, 2011 - 15 comments

Progesterone Gel Helps Prevent Preemies

One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2011 - 18 comments

Is Science Saturated with Sexism?

In “Understanding Current Causes of Women’s Underrepresentation in Science,” Cornell professors Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams provide a thorough analysis and discussion of 20 years of data. [more inside]
posted by Tanizaki on Feb 20, 2011 - 103 comments

Women of the Royal Society and elsewhere

The Royal Society's lost women scientists. Women published in the Royal Society, 1890-1930. Most influential British women in the history of science. Women at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Heroines of Science. Women Biochemists, 1906-1939. Women in Science. Previously: The Women of ENIAC.
posted by mediareport on Jan 12, 2011 - 9 comments

Me Tarzan. You Jane. He Skeptic.

This article, about differences between male and female brains, is doing the rounds on various blogs. (I found it via reddit.) Meanwhile, debunkers are doing their best to rip the author a new asshole.
posted by grumblebee on Mar 25, 2010 - 86 comments

Dagger of the Mind

The SF Signal Mind Meld feature poses science fiction related questions to a number of SF luminaries and the scientist, science writer or blogger. Subjects have included the best women writers in SF, taboo topics in SF, underated authors and the most controversial SF novels of the past and present. The also cover lighter topics, such the role of media tie-ins, how Battlestar Galactica could have ended better (bonus Geoff Ryman) and the realistic (or otherwise) use of science on TV SF shows.
posted by Artw on May 6, 2009 - 17 comments

My brain is up here

Sheril Kirshenbaum's brilliant ranting about sexism in science. Contains many links within that continue the discussion. Thankfully, sexism has gone down significantly in recent years. At the same time, it still exists in some amount - even a small handful of Nobel Laureates have acted sexist (or other -ist - Watson?). (For my part, I'm glad that I haven't encountered any sexism myself in neuroscience.)
posted by kldickson on Mar 30, 2009 - 128 comments

What do women want?

What do women want? A post-feminist look at female desire.
posted by desjardins on Jan 23, 2009 - 149 comments

"It was like he was cross-dressing in private -- an old man out there sponging by himself."

I, for one, welcome our new loner female, tool-using dolphin overlords. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 27, 2008 - 40 comments

Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics

Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics
posted by chrismear on Mar 8, 2007 - 21 comments

How did that get there?

The origins of the vagina Only mammals have 'em. Why? (via markmaynard).
posted by klangklangston on Jan 23, 2007 - 36 comments

Your boyfriend must have solved the problem for you.

"Ben Barres's work is much better than his sister's," one scientist remarked to another. The only problem is that Ben Barres and his “sister” Barbara Barres were the same person. An FTM transsexual offers a unique view of the impact of gender discrimination in science, having seen it from both sides. Despite the fact that recent studies have shown that a woman has to be 2.5 times as productive to be judged as scientifically competant as a man in the sciences, many still argue that there is actually a level playing field, a source of some frustration for many women in the field. (For a somewhat easier to read and referenced response to the Physics Today letters, check out Evalyn Gates’ reply at the end.)
posted by kyrademon on Jan 10, 2007 - 87 comments

Perihelion

Text messaging for teenage girls is like an orgasm explains neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine. The doctor from Yale provides the science behind why male and female brains are different in architecture and chemical composition.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Aug 8, 2006 - 82 comments

Forever Pregnant II: Morality Boogaloo

The new lies about women's health (image slightly NSFW) according to Glamour. More on why every egg is sacred to the Bush administration. [via Wired's Sex Drive Daily]
posted by boost ventilator on Jun 3, 2006 - 90 comments

Secrets of the X chromosome, revealed!

Female X chromosome 'cracked' - "The discovery, by an international consortium of scientists, shows that females are far more variable than previously thought and, when it comes to genes, more complex than men." Nature reports two new studies; one on the complete sequencing of the X chromosome for humans, which sheds some light on how sex evolved and how women differ from men, and another on how women express many genes from X chromosomes previously thought dormant.
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2005 - 31 comments

Harvard Finally Releases Transcript of Lawrence Summers' Remarls

Harvard has finally released a transcript of Lawrence Summers' remarks at a conference about women in science and engineering. These remarks, which were made without members of the press present about a month ago, caused a lot of controversy. Now we can finally see what he actually said.
posted by mai on Feb 17, 2005 - 30 comments

Take _that_, social constructionism!

The psychology of taboo. Commenting on the Harvard hullabaloo that took place a few weeks ago, linguist/cognitive scientist Steven Pinker offers his opinion, using ideas he previously presented in The Blank Slate (via AL Daily)
posted by greatgefilte on Feb 8, 2005 - 63 comments

Hypothesis as thought-crime

Hypothesis as thought-crime...Now, however, a new brouhaha has erupted [at Harvard]and it seems impossible that Summers [the president]will emerge from this one without serious erosion of his moral authority. The trigger was a statement he made at a conference, suggesting that the reason there are more men than women in the mathematical sciences at top-flight institutions has to do with a small statistical difference in inate ability, which becomes a pretty large disparity when one looks at the 'high end' of the respective distribution curves... The fatal words did not set forth his main theme, but merely constituted a brief aside, thoroughly hedged and qualified. Nonetheless, they touched off a firestorm of indignation, the most striking aspect of which was the intemperate response of a number of feminist scientists, who offered no counter-arguments, but simply declared the whole idea misogynistic and therefore forbidden intellectual territory.
posted by Postroad on Jan 31, 2005 - 71 comments

If they can't even play with trucks correctly...

"In his talk... [Harvard President Larry] Summers also used as an example one of his daughters, who as a child was given two trucks in an effort at gender-neutral parenting. Yet she treated them almost like dolls, naming one of them 'daddy truck,' and one 'baby truck.'

"It was during his comments on ability that Hopkins, sitting only 10 feet from Summers, closed her computer, put on her coat, and walked out. 'It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women [at Harvard] are being led by a man who views them this way,' she said later in an interview." Summers then responded with the currently in vogue non-apology apology.
posted by occhiblu on Jan 18, 2005 - 182 comments

New treatment for depression in women possibly best news ever for men.
posted by rushmc on Jun 26, 2002 - 45 comments

SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN: Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development

SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN: Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development Sugar and spice versus snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Or was it masculinizing androgens 'organizing' behaviour at critical periods? At least now there is a scientific explanation of why my girlfriend beats me while watching Pat spin the wheel.
posted by srboisvert on May 21, 2002 - 9 comments

Aunt Flo has left the building!

Aunt Flo has left the building! "A new drug being developed would eliminate menstruation altogether, while still allowing women to get pregnant. Another drug would eliminate both periods and pregnancy." Stock in companies that sell white jeans set to skyrocket, while sales of red and white patterned bedsheets plummet! On a more serious note, how much easier will this make it to plan adventurous vacations, honeymoons, and doctor's appointments? How much easier would life be if you never, ever had to think about having a period again?
posted by kristin on Aug 3, 2001 - 66 comments

Jane Want Relationship, Tarzan Want Sex.

Jane Want Relationship, Tarzan Want Sex. A study seems to confirm what women have long suspected -- women seek security in relationships, while men stick around for the sex.

The study says that in most species, monogomy is the top choice when fertility is hidden. Wonder if they took into account the Pill? ;)
posted by jennak on Apr 26, 2001 - 14 comments


Men listen with half-the-brain. Women, the whole.

Men listen with half-the-brain. Women, the whole. Now it's obvious that women are superior and it is inevitable that they will dominate the human race, kill off the male and live like those space Amazonians you saw in Star Trek. Yep.
posted by tiaka on Nov 29, 2000 - 34 comments

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