Engineering Diversity

Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations
National Academies

People from minoritized racial and ethnic groups continue to face numerous systemic barriers that impede their ability to access, persist, and thrive in STEMM higher education and the workforce.

To promote a culture of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in STEMM, organizations must actively work to dismantle policies and practices that disadvantage people from minoritized groups.

What Can We Do to Combat Anti-Black Racism in the Biomedical Research Enterprise?

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, in addition to the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on African Americans, are wrenching reminders of the many harms that societal racism, inequality, and injustice inflict on the Black community. These injustices are rooted in centuries of oppression—including slavery and Jim Crow, redlining, school segregation, and mass incarceration—that continue to influence American life, including the biomedical research enterprise. Despite leading an NIH Institute whose mission includes building a diverse scientific workforce, at NIGMS we’ve struggled with what an adequate response to this moment would be, knowing that the systems that mediate the distinct and disparate burdens Black students, postdocs, and scientists face are complex and often aren’t easily moved with the urgency that they demand. With that in mind, below we share thoughts on what each of us who is in the majority or in a position of power can do to help break the cycles of racial disparities that are woven into the fabric of the biomedical research enterprise and that limit opportunities Link to external web site for Black scientists Link to external web site.

Institutional structures, policies, and cultures Link to external web site, including those in the biomedical research enterprise, all contribute to racial inequality and injustice. This fact was laid bare for us by the responses to the request for information (RFI) we issued in 2018 on strategies to enhance successful postdoctoral career transitions to promote faculty diversity. Respondents cited bias and discrimination—including racism—most frequently as a key barrier to postdoctoral researchers attaining independent faculty positions.

Combating sexual harassment

Sexual harassment, including gender harassment, presents an unacceptable barrier that prevents women from achieving their rightful place in science, and robs society and the scientific enterprise of diverse and critical talent. As the largest single funder of biomedical research in the world, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) bears a responsibility to take action to put an end to this behavior. In 2019, the NIH began to bolster its policies and practices to address and prevent sexual harassment. This included new communication channels to inform the agency of instances of sexual harassment related to NIH-funded research. This week, the NIH announces a change that will hold grantee institutions and investigators accountable for this misconduct, to further foster a culture whereby sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviors are not tolerated in the research and training environment.

Last year, an Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of the NIH presented a report and recommendations to end sexual harassment. A major theme of this report was the need for increased transparency and accountability in the reporting of professional misconduct, especially sexual harassment. The cases of sexual harassment that surfaced in the wake of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) 2018 report highlighted a substantial gap in the NIH’s oversight of the research enterprise: There was no straightforward mechanism for the agency to learn of sexual harassment or other misconduct taking place at grantee institutions in the context of NIH-funded research. It was not uncommon for the NIH to discover such cases through the media, amid rightful public outcry. Holding institutions and investigators accountable for this behavior was challenging.

White Academia: Do Better.

Over the past couple of weeks, our nation has been confronted with ugly truths and hard history revealing how systemic racism rears its head in almost every space. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down our typical lifestyles, people seem to be listening.

This moment feels very different from other situations when we had to address human rights in the context of race relations in the United States. With that comes a host of emotions that White people have rarely had to deal with because of their racial privilege, and this includes White people working in academia.

Like many Black faculty, and Black people in general, I have received messages and texts from White colleagues apologizing, expressing their guilt and remorse, and asking what they can do to support their Black colleagues and friends.

Guidelines for Diversity & Inclusion in Crisis
Juan E. Gilbert, PhD

I am writing these guidelines in response to the recent events that have impacted the Black community, specifically, the Black computing community. As the Department Chair of the Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) Department at the University of Florida, I lead, one of, if not, the nation’s most diverse computing sciences (CS) department. We have the nation’s most Black CS faculty and PhD students. We are one of the top CS departments for the number of female faculty. As a researcher, I have had the honor of producing the nation’s most Black/African-American CS PhDs. I have also had the honor of hiring and promoting the most Black faculty in CS. My experiences span more than 20 years and those experiences are the foundation for these guidelines.

Scientists around the world are striking against racism in academia
New Scientist

Scientists around the world are striking to raise awareness of institutional and systemic racism against Black academics. This event comes in conjunction with widespread protests against police violence after the killing of George Floyd, who died on 25 May after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground by his neck.

The strike was organised by a group of academics, many of them physicists and astronomers based in the US, and promoted on social media with the hashtags #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM and #Strike4BlackLives. The organisers are encouraging academics across STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields to take the day away from their normal research and instead spend it educating themselves on racial disparities in their field and taking action against racial violence and discrimination. At least 5000 academics based at universities from around the world have joined the course.

“As academics, we do not exist in a vacuum and it is important to recognise the current events: Black members of our communities are being harassed and lynched with little to no consequence, as well as being disproportionately affected by the current pandemic,” says Tien-Tien Yu, a particle physicist at the University of Oregon who has helped organise the event through the Particles for Justice group. “We need to acknowledge that this takes a toll on the well-being of Black academics and that Black Lives Matter.

Grieving and frustrated: Black scientists call out racism in the wake of police killings

As marchers in the United States and around the world filled the streets this past week to protest against police brutality and racial injustice, Black scientists grieved openly on social media, calling for action on racism in society and in science.

Many stated ways in which institutions and colleagues, from collaborators to meeting organizers, could support Black scientists. Some pushed universities and scientific societies to release statements against racism. And several tweeted that the weight of the current events made it even harder for them to do their jobs in a profession that already marginalizes women and people of colour — and Black scientists in particular.

“I’m not there yet,” wrote Desmond Upton Patton, a professor of social work at Columbia University, in New York City. “I’m struggling with kindness, forgiveness, empathy. I feel pushed to make decisions, go to meetings, and to ‘show up.’ I’m just not ready.

4 Ways That Scientists And Academics Can Effectively Combat Racism

It could be your colleague, your coworker, your staff member, or your student. As the world mourns the violent and unnecessary death of yet another black man — George Floyd — at the hands of police officers, many well-meaning people of all races are struggling with how to take effective action. While attending protests, protecting and standing in solidarity with black Americans, and donating to various causes are positive actions in the immediate term, these actions alone will not address the systemic problems of inequality inherent in the system.

These persistent inequalities play out in some extremely unpleasant ways even in the relatively sheltered environments of science and academia. However, we can all take important steps towards being part of the solution, even as individuals. These four steps, as limited as they are, can play a major role in transforming science and academia into a safer, more inclusive environment. It’s on each of us to choose to take them.

Not One More Generation: Women in Science Take on Sexual Harassment

I was driven out of science by a harasser in the 1980s.”

Coming from a woman who has since helped to found a scientific society, served as director of the Genetics Society of America and presented her research on sexual harassment to a 2018 National Academies panel, it is a surprising statement. But Sherry Marts left academia after finishing her Ph.D. at Duke and never went back.

2018 has been a banner year for confronting sexual harassment in science. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a report on the high prevalence of harassment of women in science, and the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation are updating their sexual harassment policies. It appears that science might be catching up with the #MeToo movement, which has raised awareness of workplace sexual harassment. However, critics say that large institutions are moving too incrementally and could do much more.

Why we’re editing women scientists onto Wikipedia

Marie Curie is one of the most famous women in science. But her first page on Wikipedia was shared with her husband — until someone pointed out that, perhaps, her scientific contributions were notable enough to warrant her own biography.

That’s the beauty of Wikipedia. It is the fifth most popular website in the world and notches up more than 32 million views a day. A community of volunteer editors collaboratively edit, update and add content to democratize access to a common and constantly updating collection of knowledge. But as with any democracy, results are determined by those who choose to participate. Who edits Wikipedia — and the biases they carry with them — matters.

Closing diversity gaps in patenting is essential to innovation economy
The Hill

In 1871, Margaret Knight earned a patent for inventing a brown paper bag with a flat bottom, the same model that is used in most grocery stores across the country today. More than a century later, African American inventor Lonnie Johnson received a patent for his Super Soaker water gun, a toy that has generated more than $1 billion in sales and has been among the top 20 best selling toys in the world every year since 1991.

The commercial success these inventors enjoyed was based on a strong and open patent system. Except for individuals held in slavery, the U.S. patent system has always welcomed all inventors by awarding patents regardless of race, gender, or economic status. It is an essential engine of innovation. Economic activity from patents in the United States is estimated at more than $8 trillion and intellectual property industries directly and indirectly support 30 percent of all U.S. employment.

New analysis of funding trends offers encouraging news for female investigators—with caveats

Once female scientists receive a major research project grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), their funding futures are quite similar to those of their male peers, a new study reports. That suggests gender represents a small, and shrinking, barrier to success in a biomedical science career, the authors argue, and it emphasizes the importance of encouraging women to apply for grants in the first place. Yet these statistics belie the significant systemic hurdles that persist for many women, others say.

The study helps illustrate where work remains to be done to truly make opportunities in science equal for men and women, says Donna Ginther, a professor of economics at the University of Kansas in Lawrence who studies the scientific workforce, and who wasn’t involved with the study. “The more evidence we have about where [bias] is happening and where it’s not happening in the pipeline, the better we’ll be able to address those problems.”

Bias, Diversity, Backlash, Manifestos, and Rebuttals
Code Like A Girl

Have you ever been in a meeting where a colleague says “I’m a great supporter of gender equality, but I’m totally opposed to quotas!” Or, “I believe in diversity, but I won’t stand for positive discrimination.” Maybe you felt a bit troubled by such statements, thinking: that sounds fair, but somehow I don’t think it is… how do I rebut this?

Bias is omnipresent in our society, and some of us are keenly aware of rampant bias in sectors like technology, engineering and politics. Efforts to thwart the effects of bias in communities and institutions prompt a spectrum of diversity initiatives. Many times these lead to backlash. It’s been just a year since the memo “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” spread through the company’s internal channels, then became public. Yet, another wrangle is already blasting online with the article “Why Women Don’t Code,” by a university lecturer. What do we do when privileged individuals continue to turn a blind eye on the injustices around them? They insist on points like “women are less likely to choose computer science,” and that it’s just due to natural differences.

What you should know about race-based affirmative action and diversity in schools
The Washington Post

It’s no surprise that the Trump administration is pressing its efforts to quash affirmative action in admissions, rescinding Obama-era policy aimed at promoting diversity in education and instead bolstering race-blind admissions in schools at all levels.

After all, Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year took aim at affirmative action, announcing that the Department of Justice would investigate and sue institutions of higher education that it determined had discriminated against white applicants in admissions decisions. And President Trump seems obsessed with undoing just about every single thing Barack Obama did when he was president.

Male scientists are far more likely to be referred to by their last names, impacting status and awards

Darwin, Newton, Einstein. When scientists reach a certain level of fame, first names need not apply. That’s especially true if the scientist is a man, according to a new study. And it doesn’t just go for scientists: Politicians, athletes, and other high-profile figures are more likely to be referred to by their last names alone if they’re a man.

Study Finds Recommendation Letters Inadvertently Signals Doubt About Female Job Applicants
Inside Higher Ed

Some scholars have questioned academe’s reliance on letters of recommendation, saying they’re onerous for the professors writing them or speak more about connections to “big-name” scholars than substance, or both.

A recent study explores another concern about letters of recommendation: whether they’re biased against the women they’re supposed to help. The short answer is yes.

The longer answer — and the study’s obvious takeaway for recommendation-letter writers and readers — is that letters about women include more doubt-raising phrases than those about men, and that even one such phrase can make a difference in a job search.

My career seemed to hit a wall. Now I see that it was discrimination

I landed my dream job: a tenure-track position at a primarily undergraduate institution near my hometown where I would develop a new neuroscience major. I entered that position the way one enters a marriage: expecting it to last forever, assuming I would give it everything I had, hoping that—while it would not always be easy—it would be worth it. Soon, though, something seemed amiss. It felt kind of like sexism—but not exactly. Whatever it was, I experienced it from both women and men, from the department chair to the administrative assistant. It was only after many years and a career upheaval that I learned there was a legal term to describe it.

Women of Color in Academe Make 67 Cents for Every Dollar Paid to White Men
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Women of color earn only 67 cents on the dollar compared with white men in the higher-education work force, according to a recently released research brief from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, or CUPA-HR.

Specifically, the brief found that women of color are underrepresented in academe, compared with their representation in the U.S. population at large — especially in more lucrative faculty, professional, and administrative roles, versus lower-paying staff positions. And in three out of four job types (professional, staff, and faculty) women of color are paid less than white men, men of color, and white women.

What does it take to make an institution more diverse?

Many research institutions have made efforts to increase diversity among their administrations, faculty and staff members and student bodies. But research shows there is work to be done — and that the pay-off is immense. A 2017 study of 40 US public universities, for example, found that black, Hispanic and female science-faculty members continue to be under-represented relative to the US population (D. Li and C. Koedel Educ. Res. 46, 343–354; 2017).

Besides honing their strategies to draw more women and people of ethnic-minority groups, some organizations are also expanding opportunities for people from economically disadvantaged areas and those with physical disabilities, as well as trying to better represent people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Nature spoke to six people on the front lines of diversity efforts for insights into what works.

Hiring a Diversity Officer Is Only the First Step. Here Are the Next 7.
The Chronicle of Higher Education

In today’s season of #MeToo, Dreamers, Black Lives Matter movements, and radical-right backlash, colleges are adding chief diversity officers to the list of essential employees. However, hiring a skilled diversity professional is just the first step. To be most effective, chancellors, presidents, and provosts must join with diversity officers to build campus environments where equity, inclusion, and diversity become a part of everyday campus life. Otherwise, they are only setting up their chief diversity officers — and their institutions — for failure.

I hope the following strategies will help college leaders better position their diversity officers for success:

Go first. It’s unreasonable to hold others accountable for diversity when your own staffers look just like you. So if you want more diversity on your campus, start by diversifying your own staff at the highest levels and treating its members with respect. If you do that, others are more likely to follow, and your campus will be better for it.

Want to Debias Hiring? Change What Hiring Managers Focus On
Behavioral Scientist

Take a look at the two orange dots below. Which one is bigger? If you’re like most people, you can’t help but see the orange dot on the right as larger. However, when the blue dots disappear, removing the “context,” it’s clear that the orange dots are the same size. This is known as the Ebbinghaus illusion, and it illustrates a fundamental principle of our psychology: context matters. This is true for judgments of all kinds, ranging from how we see the world to how we make choices in our everyday lives.

Imagine that it’s the late afternoon and you’re craving a snack. You reach into your stash of snacks and pull out two options: a granola bar and a chocolate bar. How do you decide which snack to have? The granola is healthier than the chocolate, but the chocolate is tastier. Now imagine that instead of just these two snacks, you have a third: a gross but extremely healthy protein bar. Rationally, the protein bar shouldn’t affect how you feel about the two original options, and yet it makes the granola bar more attractive, because the granola bar now seems like a compromise on both health and taste. This well-documented shifting-of-preference phenomenon is known as the decoy effect.

Go beyond bias training

One morning in February 1934, the police showed up at J. Robert Oppenheimer’s home in Berkeley, California, to ask why he had left his date in a car by herself all night. Oppenheimer explained that he had gone for a stroll, got lost in his thoughts and walked home, forgetting his car and companion.

Newspapers reporting this story for Valentine’s Day revelled in tales of the absent-minded professor, an archetype that most of us recognize. Brilliant, but short on social graces, such thinkers are assumed to be too busy pondering the deepest questions of the Universe to be bothered with the quotidian.

Why it’s hard to prove gender discrimination in science

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, asked a judge on 11 May to dismiss portions of three gender-discrimination lawsuits filed by senior female scientists there in July 2017. To prove their cases, the plaintiffs are seeking to compel the Salk — a private research institution — to disclose information about how funds and laboratory space are allocated, as well as about complaints concerning sexual harassment and the unfair treatment of women.

Rethinking the Narrative of Diversity in Science
Scientific American

Esteban Burchard is Latino. He grew up in poverty, raised by a single mother, and has faced discrimination all of his life. He is now a world-renowned researcher and tenured professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). His “underdog story” reads like so many others told about scientists from underrepresented backgrounds. However, these narratives have become stale, overused and devoid of important context and depth.

How a Common Interview Question Fuels the Gender Pay Gap (and How to Stop It)
The New York Times

Aileen Rizo was training math teachers in the public schools in Fresno, Calif., when she discovered that her male colleagues with comparable jobs were being paid significantly more.

She was told there was a justifiable reason: Employees’ pay was based on their salaries at previous jobs, and she had been paid less than they had earlier in their careers.

6 Things Successful Women in STEM Have in Common
Harvard Business Review

For years, companies, universities and nonprofits have researched the reasons why women are less likely to enter STEM fields — and why, once they enter, they face challenges that frequently push them out. In prior research, we at the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) found that women leave STEM fields in droves: 52% of highly qualified women working for science, technology, or engineering companies leave their jobs. We, and others, have found that the cultures surrounding women in STEM have been shown, time and again, to be particularly challenging.

The Value of Collaborations for Diversity and Inclusion in Biomedicine
National Institutes of Health

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford

As has been articulated by many, team performance transcends individual strength. Certainly, this is the case for biomedical research, especially in the modern era. Team science draws together novel ideas and approaches, undergirding the value of workforce diversity for solving complex health challenges. Collaborations—across sectors and organizations—extend the concept even further. Such alliances are essential for achieving lasting health and economic impact from biomedical research, and for sustaining scientific workforce diversity, the engine that drives innovation from discovery to application.

Researchers to examine what attracts, discourages Black students in engineering education
Clemson University

A team of Clemson researchers is using a $398,263 award from the National Science Foundation’s Broadening Participation in Engineering program to examine factors that both encourage and discourage Black students from pursuing education in engineering fields. Researchers will also examine how different academic pathways in engineering vary by gender and institution type for Black students.

1+ 1 = 3 (or More): The Value of Collaborations for Diversity and Inclusion in Biomedicine
NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Blog

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford

As has been articulated by many, team performance transcends individual strength. Certainly, this is the case for biomedical research, especially in the modern era. Team science draws together novel ideas and approaches, undergirding the value of workforce diversity for solving complex health challenges. Collaborations—across sectors and organizations—extend the concept even further. Such alliances are essential for achieving lasting health and economic impact from biomedical research, and for sustaining scientific workforce diversity, the engine that drives innovation from discovery to application.

CEO’s with Diverse Networks Create Higher Firm Value
Harvard Business Review

Leaders today hear a lot about the importance of having good networks. For example, firms with better-connected CEOs can obtain cheaper financing, and firms with well-connected board directors see better performance. We wanted to explore whether the diversity of CEOs’ networks might affect their firms.

Our study, published in the Journal of Corporate Finance, found that CEOs with strong connections to people of different demographic backgrounds and skill sets create higher firm value. We also found that this greater firm value comes from better corporate innovations and successful diversified M&As. Our work suggests that the diversity of leaders’ social networks is a key ingredient in how they grow their companies.

For women in science, busting barriers is just part of the job
The Christian Science Monitor

Once, when Alison Coil was on a grant review panel, an unusual situation arose: Applications had come in from two people at similar points in their career on similar topics. One was from a white male, the other from a woman of color.

Dr. Coil, an astrophysicist at the University of California in San Diego, remembers the reaction as being mixed. While the women on the panel generally liked the female applicant’s proposal, one white man called it “too ambitious.” The woman didn’t get the funding.

New NSF rules on sexual harassment leave many questions unanswered

The National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia, hopes that its new policy on sexual harassment will spur universities to deal more aggressively with the pervasive problem. But the additional reporting requirements, which will be officially published Monday in the Federal Register, are far from a definitive statement about how NSF plans to deal with this complex and sensitive subject.

The carefully worded notice, for example, doesn’t address whether a scientist found guilty of sexual harassment should automatically be removed from a grant. And it would not require universities to tell NSF when they launch investigations into allegations of harassment.

Why aren’t there more women in science and technology?
The Wall Street Journal

March 1, 2018

A key tenet of modern feminism is that women will have achieved equity only when they fill at least 50% of the positions once filled by men. In some fields, women have already surpassed that target—now comprising, for example, 50.7% of new American medical students, up from just 9% in 1965, and 80% of veterinary students. But the needle has hardly moved in many STEM fields—such as the physical sciences, technology, engineering and math, in which barely 20% of the students are female.

Gender Matters
Physics Today

Evidence shows that patterns of inequity in physics drive talented women out of the field. Here’s what physicists can do to overcome them. (perspective by Jennifer Blue, et al.)

In a seminar for teaching assistants, one male and one female TA stand up; the professor in charge tells the room that the male TA will get more respect from students. A woman talks to her undergraduate adviser about her desire for a PhD in physics; he replies, “You know physics is hard. Are you sure you want to try to do that?” A physics major asks a senior male professor for advice on getting into a good doctoral program; he suggests that she flirt more at conferences. In his letters of recommendation for students applying to graduate school, a professor consistently describes his male students as “brilliant” and “outstanding” while praising the women for being “conscientious” and “hardworking”; his male students are accepted to more competitive doctoral programs.

Investors Chasing Stable Returns Should Buy Firms Run by Women

When it comes to gender diversity, it’s hard to compete with the Nordics.

The region is home to the world’s three most gender-equal nations: Iceland, Norway and Finland, according to the World Economic Forum. (Sweden places 5th out of 144 while the U.S. ranks 49th.) So Nordic findings in how gender equality affects areas such as corporate life and investing may offer a glimpse of things to come for other corners of the globe.

With that in mind, the region’s biggest bank, Nordea, says a key contribution that women make to the companies they run is stable returns.

The continuing challenges for women in STEMM

Senior levels of science are male dominated, but work is underway to restore the balance. Fiona McMillan reports.

International Women’s Day, on March 8, is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s also an annual call to action on gender parity.

In light of this, what does the future look like for women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine, or STEMM for short?

After all, quite a lot is riding on the answer. Our ability to address a wide range of current and future challenges — in climate, resource sustainability, food security, and health to name a few — will require advances in STEMM fields, as well as the insight and strategies to effectively use that new knowledge.

Sexual harassment pervades science. This scientist is talking to Congress about how to change that (interview with Kathryn Clancy)
Stat News

Kathryn Clancy has spent years studying the many ways sexual harassment pervades science, from university research labs to field biology sites. This week, she’s taking those findings to Congress.

The University of Illinois anthropology professor has found that harassment against women — and in particular, women of color — runs rampant in the space sciences. She’s surveyed researchers about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and assault during scientific field work. She’s called out universities — which she says haven’t done enough to create change in research labs — to her thousands of Twitter followers.

Gender Analysis Of Invention Disclosures And Companies Founded By Stanford University Faculty From 2000-2014

This study examined gender differences in entrepreneurship by faculty at a major U.S. research university using data from the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing from 2000-2014 and relevant public data. Differences in participation by men and women faculty in reporting inventions were observed based on the total number of invention disclosures and the number of faculty who disclosed during the study period. As demonstrated through invention disclosures, women faculty increasingly engaged in offering their discoveries for possible commercial development to benefit the public. However, they remain much less likely than their men counterparts to be involved with start-up companies and in leadership roles among companies licensing university-generated intellectual property. Universities can track these activities through their licensing offices to devise strategies that encourage and facilitate the engagement of women faculty with technology transfer and formation of new companies.

Keywords: gender analysis, invention disclosures, companies founded by stanford University, stanford university, technology licensing, 2000-2014

The Future Of Women Engineers

Women only make up 24% of the computing workforce – and that number is declining. In fact, four out of ten women are leaving STEM careers despite engineering and computer science jobs being some of the fastest growing and highest paying around the world.

With computer science and engineering fields having the highest return on investment compared to any other field of study, these jobs play an important role in the future of women and our world. Not only will bringing more women into these jobs stimulate innovation but it’s one of the best ways to help women and girls break the cycle of poverty in developing nations in regions like Southeast Asia.

Focus on Faculty: The time is now
NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Blog

As NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, my main goal is to promote scientific workforce diversity as a means to institutional excellence as I have described in previous blogs. To accomplish this, I must maintain a pulse on what is happening at NIH, in our own labs, as well as at NIH-funded institutions around the country. For academia in particular, what do we see when we track the demographics across the career path from training to independent faculty positions?

What we see is promising, but only partial success. Indeed, we have enhanced the diversity among biomedical research trainees considerably (strengthened the STEM pipeline), but with little impact further up the career ladder. Diversifying academic faculty and leadership remains an unsolved challenge and a missed opportunity for bringing diverse thought and experience to biomedical research. Doing so will not only assure that our research priorities address the full range of biomedical research challenges facing our nation, but it will also catalyze excellence in research quality. It is essential that we establish a diverse population of faculty and leaders as role models for the next generation of scientists.

How Women Mentors Make a Difference in Engineering
The Atlantic

For some women, enrolling in an engineering course is like running a psychological gauntlet. If they dodge overt problems like sexual harassment, sexist jokes, or poor treatment from professors, they often still have to evade subtler obstacles like the implicit tendency to see engineering as a male discipline. It’s no wonder women in the U.S. hold just 13 to 22 percent of the doctorates in engineering, compared to an already-low 33 percent in the sciences as a whole.

Diversity for the Future: Accelerating Change and Sustainability
NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Blog

As I’ve noted in previous blogs and elsewhere, I see enhancing workforce diversity as an opportunity and an imperative for maintaining our nation’s biomedical research preeminence in an increasingly competitive global environment. But to grasp this opportunity, we as a biomedical community face a set of cross-cutting challenges ripe for innovative, evidence-based solutions. In an article I co-authored with NIH Director Francis Collins, we proposed that sustainability of efforts to enhance diversity in the scientific workforce will unleash boundless opportunities to benefit the full ecosystem of biomedical research spanning discovery to application. In this blog, I expand on how we might address sustainability with the goal of accelerating diversity and inclusion in the scientific workforce. But let me first draw your attention to some relevant facts regarding NIH’s diversity efforts in the training phase of the biomedical research career path, and how the data allows us to set the stage for sustainable and rapid change.

Science remains male-dominated
The Economist

MARCH 8th was International Women’s Day. That seemed to Elsevier, an academic publisher, a good occasion to publish a report looking at the numbers and performance of female scientists around the world. The report, “Gender in the Global Research Landscape”, analysed the authorship of more than 62m peer-reviewed papers published in 27 subject areas over the past 20 years, in 11 mostly rich countries and in the European Union as a whole. The papers and their citations are indexed in Scopus, a database that is run by Elsevier.

Opinion: five ways to guarantee women can speak up and speak out
Financial Times

Over years of working in government and in academia, I have been able to study the practical ways in which the most effective male leaders value, praise, and advance women every day in their professional lives. Here are the five outstanding techniques I have seen deployed:

1. Always give a woman credit when she deserves it. In any meeting or discussion involving men and women, whenever a man makes a point ask yourself if he is repeating something a woman has already said. If so, simply say, “Yes, that’s the point that Jennifer made earlier; it’s an important contribution.” Or, “Thanks for bringing Jennifer’s point back to our attention.”

Black Students at Top Colleges: Exceptions, Not the Rule

A generation has been lost in the journey towards race equality in terms of income. The income gap between blacks and whites has been stuck since 1980. Why? Dozens of factors count, of course, but one in particular is worth further exploration: the underrepresentation of black students in elite colleges. As I noted in a previous blog, this could help to explain why blacks earn less than whites, even in the same occupation and with the same level of education.

Beyond “The Pipeline”: Reframing Science’s Diversity Challenge
Scientific American

One of the most commonly used metaphors for describing the solution for growing and diversifying America’s scientific talent pool is the “STEM pipeline.” Major policy reports have called on the U.S. to enlarge it so it does not fall behind other nations. Scholars and the popular press have highlighted the need to fix pipeline “leaks” that result in the disproportionate losses of women and minorities. While this metaphor has been helpful in focusing attention on careers in science, I am increasingly convinced that it fails us because it limits our view of the problems and their solutions. Further, these failures are actually hindering efforts to enhance scientific diversity–that is, cultivating talent, and promoting the full inclusion of excellence across the social spectrum.