In the study, fake résumés were submitted for 100 different jobs at eight companies that are federal contractors. One showed that the applicant worked with LGBT groups, the other didn’t.
The applicant whose résumé showed LGBT ties got fewer responses than the other, even though the first applicant was better-qualified, according to the report, the results of which were released this week. Overall, “LGBT applicants were 23 percent less likely to get an interview than their less-qualified heterosexual counterparts,” Take Part reports.
LGBT information on CV leads to discrimination July 6, 2014
Effects of interacting with sexist men July 4, 2014
Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins calls our attention to some fascinating research.
Feminist Philosophy of Science at Ghent. June 25, 2014
Ghent 24-25 November, 2014
The Department of Philosophy & Moral Sciences of Ghent University welcomes abstracts for an international workshop on Feminist Philosophy of Science.
Invited keynote speaker is Stéphanie Ruphy (Université Pierre Mendès Greboble, France).
We welcome paper proposals on a variety of topics related to the conference theme, including (but not limited to) contributions to:
- feminist philosophy of science
- feminist science(s)
- the role of science(s) in feminism(s)
- the status of feminist philosophy of science in philosophy (of science)
- the history of feminist philosophy of science
Please send abstracts (max. 500 words) prepared for anonymous review to Eric Schliesser by July 1, 2014. Please include identifying information in separate page or accompanying email.
See here for more details.
Lego to launch new female scientist line June 4, 2014
Yay! Lego will soon be launching a new line of female scientists — and blocky bits of equipment for those scientists. Here’s a link.
Philosopher Sarah Richardson has a great piece in Slate this week detailing how a Nature article about the discovery of twelve genes on the Y chromosome that fill the same function as similar genes on the X chromosome quickly morphed into reports in major media outlets about “a major new finding of sex difference.”
The New York Times reported that scientists had discovered 12 genes on the Y chromosome that play “high-level roles in controlling the state of the genome and the activation of other genes.” They “may represent a fundamental difference in how the cells in men’s and women’s bodies read off the information in their genomes.” TheHuffington Post quoted one of the studies’ authors as saying that these “special” genes “may play a large role in differences between males and females.”
Yet what the Nature articles actually show is the exact opposite. The 12 genes residing on the Y chromosome exist to ensure sexual similarity. The genes are “dosage-sensitive,” meaning that two copies are needed for them to function properly. We’ve long known that those 12 genes exist on X chromosomes. Females have the 12 genes active on both of their X chromosomes. If males, who have just one X, didn’t have them on the Y, they would not have a sufficient dosage of those genes. Now we know they do. Just like women.
How did a story about sex similarity become a story about sex difference? Richardson engages in “a little literary forensics” and concludes that science journalists focused on the brief, speculative bit at the end of the Nature article, rather than the article’s actual evidence and conclusions.
Part of this, no doubt, is the result of pressure on journalists (evident well beyond the realm of science journalism) to run with the most provocative story. However, over and above this common journalistic foible, is the pernicious influence of what Richardson terms the “sex difference paradigm.” In short, writes Richardson, “when it comes to sex, scientific reviewers, journals, funders, and reporters simply find similarities less interesting than differences.”
I posted last week on a different way in which our gender biases skew our understanding of biological sex. So, what is an appropriately critical scholar (or lay reader) to do? Richardson ends by plugging Stanford’s Gendered Innovations initiative, which works to show how critical thinking about sex and gender can lead to scientific innovation.
Bias at early stage April 23, 2014
A fascinating new study examined rates of response to emailed requests for a meeting by prospective PhD students. Here’s what they found:
[T]he researchers found that there was virtually no difference in the rate of response when prospective students asked for an immediate meeting. But when they tried to schedule one in a week, white males were 26% more likely to successfully schedule a meeting and 16% more likely to receive a response. While white males were more likely to get a response if they asked to meet in a week rather than the same day, female and minority students had a better response rate when they asked to meet immediately. The response rate for women and minorities was 14 percentage points higher at public institutions than at private schools. Further, a $13,000 increase in a faculty member’s salary was associated with a four percentage point drop in the email response rate to women and minorities, but faculty salary had no such effect on white males.
Really fascinating, and important for philosophers to bear in mind as we try to make our field less white and male. (Thanks, S!)
Daily Mail Really Unable to Cope April 5, 2014
with scientists who are women of colour. (I know: you’re shocked.)
UPDATE: There’s now a petition, created by the UCL branch of the UCU.
A piece in the Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle column on Wednesday used their appearance on BBC’s Newsnight on Monday to comment on the possibility of a new era in understanding the origins of the universe to have a dig at the programme’s “Guardian-trained editor, Ian Katz”, who, it said, “is keen on diversity”.
The item added: “So, two women were invited to comment on the report about (white, male) American scientists who’ve detected the origins of the universe – giggling Sky at Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Sri Lanka-born astronomer Hiranya Peiris.”
For more, go here.
Is the oculus rift sexist? March 29, 2014
danah boyd wrote an interesting piece in Quartz about her observations that men and women prioritise different depth cues. She has personal experience in a CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment that made her puke and she can’t see IMAX movies.
In short: artificial 3D environments, depth cues have to be programmed in. There are a lot of depth cues, and we don’t need all, but motion parallax is pretty easy to render in 3D, so that gets in. Motion parallax, according to boyd, is the one men’s brains pick out as the most important cue, but women prioritise on shape-from-shading, which is a lot more complicated. Therefore, for men in general, 3D environments work well, but for women, the poor rendering of shape-from-shading causes disorientation and nausea. This phenomenon may also be related to why some transsexuals experience strange visual side effects from their treatment.
If this is the case, there is indeed a problem with 3D technology. dana points out that a lot more research is needed.
I have been in the CAVE of the Centrum for Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam which was totally awesome, and a very rare experience. No nausea experienced. However, IMAX theatres have been around for quite a while and are common. Some people do indeed experience motion sickness with them, but shouldn’t it have come to light by now if this was something particularly affecting women?
HT to Hank Greely for bringing this to my attention.
Athene Donald on Women in Science March 21, 2014
So let me offer a new recommendation to add to that made by the MPs. I propose that every MBA course in the country should have an unconscious bias element included, and taking some relevant training should be an expectation of anyone involved in recruitment of any kind. I would also like to see it included as a topic in the school curriculum, a place to start a dialogue among children so that they can identify their own propensities to gender-stereotyping.