Why This Matters: Women in STEM

When it comes to “women in STEM,” there are many conversations to have. Maddy McKeague’s piece alone touches on multiple studies and multiple aspects from pipeline issues to intersectionality. “Anonymous in Biotech” shared a personal perspective for how her pursuit of science, driven by interest as much as a desire for financial independence, affected her marriage over the years.

There are almost as many things to talk about under the umbrella of “women in STEM” as there are clever signs at the various March for Science events that happened around the nation on April 22. In fact, scientists all around the world were ready to make a statement, as Science Magazine discovered before the march. Their reasons range from inclusion and diversity to immigration and calling for evidence-based decision making.

Joining such a multifaceted conversation inevitably involves critical thinking about what the media is saying and how they’re saying it. Celebration? Trivializing? Ignoring it? Here’s a quick - yet thoughtful - review of coverage around the world.

It's a reminder that sometimes one may have more in common with someone on the other side of the world than just 50 miles from our hometown. How do we pursue understanding in that context? Exercising empathy skills and listening as much - if not more - than talking will help us find our way.

Ruth Howell had that in mind and more when she shared her reasons for not participating in her local Science March, despite the fact that her job is to communicate the value of science for NOAA. Sharing a Slate op-ed that pointed to reasons why scientists are struggling to communicate and connect, she said this:

“This is one of the reasons I didn't march with 'my people' on Saturday. While I firmly know (note: not 'believe'!) science is central to a free and healthy society, and to solving the myriad modern problems we face, today science is being cast as just "another form of elitism" and I worry marches and other politically-associated ilk will further erode public perception of science as a trusted source of truth. I personally *loved* all the nerdy clever signs, but think about it from the perspective of someone who hasn't been exposed to the joy of college-level science and who doesn't get to attend science lectures at the local university or science museum. It's actually off-putting and divisive. We need to start talking shared community values and consequences. And not from our own perspectives, but from our audiences'.”

Among all the conversations that matter to women, maybe these points will help us find the humanity we can all get behind. After all, as many Science March signs reminded us, there’s no “Planet B,” so we’re all in this together.

This Liability

This Liability

The Uphill Battle for Representation in STEM

The Uphill Battle for Representation in STEM