Category Archives: Current Issues

Women Can Do Science

You may think I went a tad overboard this month, and I probably did, but I wanted to shine a big light on the issue of gender equity in STEM careers. I am sharing stories about women in science who have had to overcome stereotypes about their gender to pursue careers in science. I am in awe of these women who continued studying and working in spite of all the barriers in their path. Part of the problem besides outright prejudice and discrimination may be that we do not read about these women in the media as often as we read about male scientists. So I mentioned two journalists who decided to analyze and remedy the lack of gender equity in their reporting. And I included what some organizations and companies are doing to bring more women into careers in the sciences. The stories about women in science definitely demonstrate resilience of the human spirit.

Nancy Grace Roman was told women can’t be scientists. It is a good thing she didn’t listen to that opinion. Here is a short video about Dr. Roman’s story in her own words courtesy of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Katrina Jackson.

In the video Dr. Roman states that people are often not interested in how things got started. I think because we don’t read or hear stories about women in science we assume they don’t exist. Ed Yong in his Atlantic article talks about gender imbalance in science reporting. He talks about how he realized he was leaving women scientists out of his reporting and how he made the effort to remedy that. He mentions an example of his own writing in December 2015 about a conference on CRISPER, where he quotes six men and one woman which might indicate a lack of women working in the field. He writes this was:

“…all the more egregious because the CRISPR field is hardly short of excellent, prominent female scientists. Indeed, two of the technique’s pioneers, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, are women, and both of them spoke at the same conference from which I reported. And yet, if you read my piece, you could be forgiven for thinking that CRISPR was almost entirely the work of men.”-Ed Yong

If we never read about women in science, it is like they do not exist. He mentions his colleague Adrianne LaFrance who did a study with the help of a computer scientist at MIT on the proportion of women scientists she had been including in her articles and found it was much lower compared to men. She says:

“These numbers are distressing, particularly because my beats cover areas where women are already outnumbered by men—robotics, artificial intelligence, archaeology, astronomy, etc. Which means that, by failing to quote or mention very many women, I’m one of the forces actively contributing to a world in which women’s skills and accomplishments are undermined or ignored, and women are excluded.”-Adrienne LaFrance

You might argue that more women scientists do not exist or are less qualified to be quoted. Yong found this was not the case he just needed to look in the right places.

“It is getting increasingly easy to find such people. The journalist Christina Selby, writing at the Open Notebook, compiled a list of tips for diversifying sources. The journalist Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato created Diverse Sources, a searchable database of underrepresented experts in science. 500 Women Scientists, a nonprofit, created Request a Woman Scientist, a similar (and larger) database. Both can be filtered by country, specialty, and more. Several scientists have compiled lists of women in microbiology, astronomy, physics, evolution, political science, neuroscience, and more. I keep a personal list of women and people of color who work in the beats that I usually cover. And if these all fail, the most basic journalistic method always works: Ask someone. Get people in the field to suggest names.”-Yong

Women in STEM sciences at NASA, web site has profiles and links to resources for girls and boys.

Women at JPL

And you may have heard some buzz about how women don’t belong in Tech or do well in Tech. Here is a bit about that:

GE announced the goal of having 20,000 women in STEM jobs by 2020.

This video is so inspiring, it made me cry. It is about a Pakistani girl who excelled in STEM and wanted to be an engineer:

And TED Talk by Kimberly Bryant founder of Black Girls Code. Ms. Bryant wants to encourage women and girls of color to pursue careers in tech and is helping with her nonprofit:

And what if a female scientist was treated like a superhero?


We Are The World Blogfest, #WATWB, hosted by Belinda Witzenhausen, Emerald Barnes, Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Simon Falk, Susan Scott, Sylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein. We Are The World Blogfest is a monthly blog occurring the last Friday of each month dedicated to sharing positive news of the world “stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.”

*Featured Image at top of page: “Mary Van Rensselaer Buell (1893-1969), sitting in lab with microscope, reading paper” from Smithsonian Institute via Flickr. Creator/Photographer: Julian Scott Description: In 1919, Mary Van Rensselaer Buell (1893-1969) became the first woman to earn Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. She carried on her extensive research on nutrition and physiological chemistry at University of Iowa, Johns Hopkins University, Washington University, and the University of Chicago.

 

We Are the World Blogfest

 

Quality Food For All

Trader Joe’s is a well-known and popular market in California and other parts of the US. Doug Rauch retired from Trader Joe’s after 33 years, 14 of them as president. He might have decided to enjoy his leisure time but he says he “failed at retirement.” It is good news for a poor area of Boston that he failed because he has succeeded in bringing quality foods to low-income people with his market the Daily Table.

“Since it opened two years ago, Daily Table has been a pioneer in its approach to food waste, food deserts, hunger, and obesity. It’s a nonprofit grocery store, selling healthy food at bargain prices.”-Christian Science Monitor

According to their website, Daily Table works to bring quality foods to people by working with  “a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and other suppliers who donate their excess, healthy food to us, or provide us with special buying opportunities.” Learn more about Daily Table here.


We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB is a monthly blog hop where we share the good news stories from around the world. The co-hosts this month are: Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein, Susan Scott, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas . You can check out We Are The World Blogfest site to see the rules for participation.

Information and quotes on my post are from The Christian Science Monitor article by Kathy Shiels Tully “A former exec at Trader Joe’s grows another kind of grocery store,” and from dailytable.org. Featured image from the Daily Table website.

We Are the World Blogfest

 

Hope For Some Homeless Girls

“As the first Girl Scout troop in New York designed specifically for homeless girls, Troop 6000 began in February as a modest effort to help bring a sense of community, if not normalcy, to the 100 families with children who lived in a Queens shelter…”-The Christian Science Monitor

Girls living in a homeless shelter in New York City have found hope and friendship through the creation of their own Girl Scouts Troop. It all started with one homeless mother, Giselle Burgess,wanting to create something positive for her girls and others living in a homeless shelter and now there is funding for Girl Scout Troops to be established in an additional 14 homeless shelters in NYC.

Troop 6000 appeared on The View and received some special support:


Featured Image of Girl Scout Troop 6000 via Council Member Jerry Van Bramer’s office from Christian Science Monitor Post by Harry Bruinius.

#WATWB We Are The World Blogfest co-hosted this month by Shilpa Garg, Sylvia McGrath, Mary Giese, Belinda Witzenhausen and Guilie Castillo

Homeless in Pacific Palisades

A recent count revealed 58,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County. Of those there are 17,000 who are chronically homeless.

“The chronic homeless population — defined as those who have been on the streets at least a year or multiple times and suffering mental illness, addiction or physical disability — increased 20% to more than 17,000, despite increasing numbers placed into housing.”-LA Times

The problem of the homeless with severe mental illness seems almost insurmountable because this population often resists offers of assistance and current laws which prevent forced hospitalization state that a person must be a threat to themselves or others and unable to provide for their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.

This is a positive story about the efforts of a small Southern California community, how they were able to bring a homeless woman, known as Pretty Blonde, to the mental health care she needed and reunite her with family. I read about her in the LA Times article by Steve Lopez, The Mystery Homeless Woman of Pacific Palisades and the village that helped her home.

LA Time video about this story.

Featured image ‘Almond Blossoms’ by Vincent Van Gogh via wikimedia.

 


We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB is a monthly blogging group, hosted by Damyanti Biswas, that have come together to post news stories “that show love, brotherhood and humanity.” You can click on the link above if you would like to join in. WATWB is co-hosted this month by Michelle Wallace , Shilpa GargAndrea MichaelsPeter NenaEmerald Barnes. 

We Are the World Blogfest

 

 

AARP Will Match Donations For Harvey Victims Up To $1 Million

Great way to double your donation.

Posted about this yesterday. So glad to hear confirmation the Nursing Home residents were rescued!

Hawk Seeks Shelter In Hurricane

 

 

Reminds us that there are other living things that are threatened by this severe weather and there are people there to lend a helping hand. Great story in The New Yorker about people coming to the rescue of stranded people with private boats, The Cajun Navy. In this New Yorker post there was a story about “nursing home residents in chest high water,” that was very upsetting. I saw today that there was a group of Assisted Living Residents who were rescued and I am thinking it was them. Let everyone be rescued.

AARP will match donations for victims of Hurricane Harvey up to $1 million.