Tag: capitol hill

For Women in Science: 21st Century Policy & Politics

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | November 10, 2010 11:38 am

Video is now available from the L’Oreal USA/Discover Magazine Congressional briefing I moderated in September. I’ve posted part 1 of 4 below and you can watch the entire event here.

Participants:

  • Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
  • Dr. Shirley Malcom, Head of Education and Human Resources, American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Pr. Joan Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
  • Pr. Sara Seager, Ellen Swallow Richards, Professor of Planetary Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sheril Kirshenbaum, Research Associate at University of Texas at Austin’s Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, Author, and Blogger for Discovermagazine.com (Moderator)

Congressional Briefing on Issues Affecting Women in Science

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | September 9, 2010 11:39 am

As I announced last week, I’ll be moderating a Congressional briefing co-organized by Discover Magazine and L’Oréal USA on Women in Science. Here’s a glimpse at the press release out today:

L’Oréal USA Convenes Congressional Briefing on Issues Affecting Women in Science

New Research Reveals Gender-Based Barriers Driving Female Scientists from the Field

Congressional briefing explores the issues and opportunities

The congressional briefing, For Women in Science: 21st Century Policy & Politics, sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, will be held on Sept. 23, 2010, in Washington, D.C. A panel of distinguished experts will explore whether state and federal public policy are promoting or hindering the advancement of female scientists; how the broader application of Title IX has influenced women pursuing science education and careers; and whether the emphasis on gender diversity in the workplace has become mainstream in scientific disciplines. The briefing will also consider the opportunities for government, the private sector and academia to address the barriers facing women in scientific disciplines.

“The contributions of female scientists are critical to U.S. advancements in science and economic growth,” said Frédéric Rozé, President and Chief Executive Officer of L’Oréal USA. “By convening this congressional briefing, L’Oréal USA hopes to renew national dialogue about breaking barriers and forging new paths for women in science.”

The congressional briefing will feature the following panelists:

  • Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
  • Dr. Shirley Malcom, Head of Education and Human Resources, American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Pr. Joan Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
  • Pr. Sara Seager, Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Planetary Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sheril Kirshenbaum, Author of Unscientific America and Science Blogger for Discovermagazine.com (Moderator)

New research offers compelling insights

The panel will also address results from the newly-released survey of 1,300 female and male scientists, conducted by AAAS and commissioned by L’Oréal USA, on the barriers women encounter in pursuit of scientific careers. Survey respondents included male and female scientists who hold doctoral degrees and are registered users of Science online, including members of AAAS. The national research revealed significant new insights on the extent to which barriers affect men and women differently and the best means to overcome these obstacles.

  • Female scientists face unique, gender-based barriers in career advancement
  • 61 percent of female scientists who participated in the study have personally struggled balancing life and career
  • More than half of female respondents (52 percent) have experienced gender bias
  • More than one in three female scientists who participated in the survey (37 percent) faced barriers in having/raising children
  • Half of all female respondents (50 percent) cited challenges with child care support as a major barrier for individuals working in the science field

Read more at Forbes

L'Oreal USA & Discover on Capitol Hill! Women in Science Congressional Briefing

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | September 1, 2010 11:55 am

loreal_unesco_01I’m delighted to announce a Congressional briefing I’ll be moderating in three weeks that’s been co-organized by Discover Magazine and L’Oréal USA on a topic I care deeply about: Women in Science

For Women in Science: 21st Century Policy & Politics will explore issues and opportunities for the advancement of women in science, as well as the public policies that work to address them. Our panel is sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) will take place Sept. 23 on Capitol Hill. Look at the speakers:

  • Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
  • Dr. Shirley Malcom, Head of Education and Human Resources, American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Pr. Joan Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
  • Pr. Sara Seager, Ellen Swallow Richards, Professor of Planetary Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sheril Kirshenbaum, Research Associate at University of Texas at Austin’s Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, Author, and Blogger for Discovermagazine.com (Moderator)

We’ll discuss state and federal public policies that may be promoting or hindering the advancement of female scientists, Title IX and how it has influenced women pursuing science education and careers, and gender diversity in the workplace. We will also explore opportunities for government, the private sector and academia to address the barriers facing women in scientific disciplines.

You can bet I’ll have a lot more to say as the date approaches and will share further details soon. In the mean time, I encourage those interested in the DC area to mark your calendars for this timely event!

Mike The Mad Biologist: 'the gloves are coming off'

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 19, 2010 12:49 pm

Last week I posted an invitation that arrived from the Heritage Foundation for an anti-science briefing that was about to take place directed at Capitol Hill staffers. My purpose was simple:

I’ve reposted the text because I don’t think most scientists understand the way policy decisions are influenced. We may have a more scientific Washington than when I worked in DC, but science and its allies must fight harder than ever before. Some groups are already effective. Some of us are trying new initiatives. I’m optimistic and realize that change happens slowly, but I hope those working in policy-related areas will take note and become more involved making sure that sound science moves beyond the lab. Because when we’re not explaining what we do and why it matters, someone else is telling the story for us. And we often won’t like the result.

An interesting dialog followed in comments and around the internet. It also seems to have struck a nerve with Mike The Mad Biologist, although I’m not clear why. He accuses me of ‘blaming the scientists’ as ‘a professional science communicator.’ Thing is, I never signed up to be a ‘professional science communicator.’ Or at least no more so than the rest of the science bloggers (like Mike) and writers who happened upon this trajectory. I’ve never taken a journalism course in my life. Mike writes:

I do research, others do research and teaching, others primarily teach. Regardless, we’re in the game. We’re doing our part. We’re doing science. But carping on other people’s supposed failures is not doing science.

Apparently Mike doesn’t seem to think I’m part of the science community even though I’ve just left one of the most effective conservation groups in the nation. In fact, my incredible mentor and dear colleague Stuart Pimm receives the Tyler Prize this week (Go Stuart!).  Mike continues:

Worse, by blaming generic ‘scientists’, as opposed to specific scientists or science-based groups, Kirshenbaum simutaneously misidentifies the problem, while reinforcing negative stereotypes. Win! FAIL.

Mike, since you addressed me in your post, I’ll respond to you directly here: Science, policy, and our collective future are all connected. It’s critically important that everyone recognizes what’s happening in the legislative realm. So when I get invited to an anti-science event, I’m going to post it publicly to demonstrate what we’re up against. You suggest I:

go fucking forth and do some science.

And stop blaming the victim.

Your anger is misdirected and in-fighting gets us nowhere. So put those gloves back on, we’re sitting at laptops. Furthermore, I’m doing some pretty cool science. (More details on that coming soon…)

Is Our Scientists Learning?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 15, 2010 11:37 am

In my talks, I often discuss the different groups who came to meet with me when I worked on Capitol Hill with regard to who was most effective. On science related issues, the general breakdown fell into two categories (with exceptions):

  1. Scientists from universities or NGO’s would usually show up in my office with a briefing binder as thick as a phone book. There would be a lot of charts, p-values, figures, and complicated concepts. Most didn’t talk to me, but at me. And the take home message would be different than that of the other scientists I met the previous hour on the same subject.
  2. Special interest groups were frequently very well organized. They spoke with a common theme and brought articulate speakers. Rather than stop in our office, they usually hosted large and well attended briefings, supplying easy to digest hardcover books with titles like ‘climate change conspiracy.’ Typically they were funny and made references to Michael Crichton’s science fiction. Perhaps most importantly, they provided a free boxed lunches and held long Q&As to engage the audience.

Both types introduced themselves as the “honest broker” of scientific information, but the latter often made the stronger impression with staffers. Now removed from the Hill for several years, this invitation recently landed in my inbox:

Read More

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