Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I frequently write about women in science and the unique challenges for female science bloggers. And there have been many moments over the past four years when I’ve felt as if I was shouting into the wind.
I “Came Out” in 2007, was “Singled Out” in 2009, and went “Under The Microscope” in 2010, with lots of related posts in between. Each piece initially garnered an enormous response, high blog traffic, and echoed across the blogosphere–until a few days later when everyone seemed to forget and move on. The Internet has no memory after all.
So I can’t say I expected things would be any different when I proposed a panel entitled “Perils of blogging as a woman under a real name” for Science Online 2011. But two weeks later I’m wondering if maybe we’re reaching critical mass as attitudes are beginning to shift. As more of us stand up and speak out, transgressions become harder to ignore. If we raise awareness collectively, we shift cultural mores. And I’m encouraged that we’re moving in that direction.
After the panel, a chorus emerged that has been rising in pitch. Posts have been composed about the challenges we face, highlighting womens’ accomplishments, acknowledging sexism, and more. Despite smaller ripples of the past, something feels different this time. More men and women are joining the conversation fostering a thoughtful dialog. Ed Yong has composed a list of women bloggers to read, with specific reasons why and links to some of his favorite posts. In other words, he’s not promoting them because they are women, but rather because they are talented writers and scientists. (I’m humbled and honored to be namhttp://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/wp-admin/post.php?post=15486&action=edit&message=1ed. Thanks Ed).
Suddenly I feel as if I’m not shouting against the wind alone anymore. Sure, this week’s enthusiasm will ebb at some point, but times are assuredly changing. Along with the blogosphere. We still have a long way to go, but I’m optimistic at how far we’ve already come…