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Science

A Plan On How To Stop Sexism In Science 613

StartsWithABang writes: If there's nothing else that science has to offer, it's this elegant notion: that anyone, anywhere, at anytime, can investigate and uncover the mysteries and workings of the Universe simply by asking it the right questions in the right ways, listening to its answers, and putting the pieces together for themselves. Anyone can do it. Only, for various and sundry reasons, not everyone gets to do it. Some people don't have the economic ability, some don't have the sustained drive or interest, and some simply can't cut the mustard. But some people — some really, really good people — are driven from their passions for a sad, simple and completely unnecessary fact: that they were treated in unacceptable ways that they refused to just accept. And in a great many cases, that unacceptable treatment came simply because of their gender. Sexism sometimes looks like what you expect, and sometimes not. Here's one opinion on what we can all do about it to create the world we really want: where science really is for everyone.
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A Plan On How To Stop Sexism In Science

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  • Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @07:30AM (#49696629)

    For gods sake, this again!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is a good thing!

      The more that people get subjected to this social justice nonsense, the more they see it for the junk that it is, and the more they dislike it.

      So I'm all for social justice articles all over the place. The harder the social justice crowd pushes their shit on everyday people, the quicker those people will come to resent social justice and those pushing it.

      The social justice crowd will cause more harm to themselves and their cause just by being themselves and promoting their idiocy. We sh

      • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:36AM (#49696905)

        http://www.ashedryden.com/blog... [ashedryden.com]

        Meritocracy is the belief that those with merit float to the top - that they should be given more opportunities and be paid higher.

        We prize the idea of meritocracy and weigh merit on contribution to OSS. Those who contribute the most, goes the general belief, have the most merit and are deemed the most deserving. Those who contribute less or who don't at all contribute to OSS are judged to be without merit, regardless of the fact that they have less access to opportunity, time, and money to allow them to freely contribute.

        As the people who exist within this supposed meritocracy don't exist within a vacuum, we also have to realize how our actions affect others. Meritocracy creates a hierarchy amongst the people within it. Some of those at the top or striving to at least be above other people have been guilty of using their power for bullying, harassment, and sexist/racist/*ist language that they use against others directly and indirectly. This creates an atmosphere where people who would otherwise be deemed meritorious within this system choose not to participate because of a hostile, unrewarding environment.

        Yes if you contribute to OSS projects don't you dare think that's merit.

      • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @10:10AM (#49697459) Homepage Journal

        So I'm all for social justice articles all over the place. The harder the social justice crowd pushes their shit on everyday people, the quicker those people will come to resent social justice and those pushing it.

        Absolutely.

        For goodness sake people. Grow a bit thicker skin and get on with life. Why would you let what someone says or how they act around you affect what YOU like to do or want to do? This world isn't about acceptance by everyone.

        Sure, if someone is going out of their way to discriminate and keep you from employment or getting a job that's against the law.

        But not playing nice with you is not the end of the world.

        IN the real world, Mommy doesn't catch you when you fall and makes the boo-boo go away. Not everyone gets a trophy for just showing up. And no, not everyone is going to be nice to you and "friend" you on FB or whatever. There are idiots and jerks aplenty in this world, and you really don't have time in this short lifespan to waste effort on them...so, grow some thicker skin and learn to ignore someone that isn't nice or even taunting you. Move on and get things done.

        This is nothing new....pretty much human behavior since the dawn of time.

    • Re:Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:48AM (#49696973)

      I love how the headline and summary just unquestioningly accepts the premise that there is sexism in science and that something MUST be done about it--all based on the single data point that there are more men in STEM than women.

      If an unbalanced gender ratio is all you need to prove sexism, then doesn't it follow that the Nursing and Elementary Education fields are even MORE sexist than STEM (and even more in need of attention)?

      • Re:Again? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by penandpaper ( 2463226 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @10:15AM (#49697487) Journal

        Indeed, with statements like:

        Most authority figures in my field aren’t sexist, aren’t sexually harassing anybody, and treat everyone based on their own merits as people.

        How do we get "institutionalized sexism" from this?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Rockoon ( 1252108 )

          How do we get "institutionalized sexism" from this?

          Feminist Handbook, page 1: "Its always institutional sexism."

      • Re:Again? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @10:55AM (#49697773)

        I am willing to bet that the level of Sexism for Male Elementary School teachers, Male Nurses, and other Historically Female dominated positions, is much worse than when a Woman goes into a Male dominated position.

        Ok, you get a job and you are the only Female worker there, you feel uncomfortable, I get that, but the same thing will happen if you are the only person of your particular Race, or Ethnicity.

        When you are the minority you feel more threatened than what is actually happening. The problem of why it is hard to fix, is because for the larger part it isn't an external issue, but an internal issue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @07:37AM (#49696645)

    Seriously, what is this trash and why is it on slashdot?

    And in a great many cases, that unacceptable treatment came simply because of their gender. [...] Here's one opinion on what we can all do about it to create the world we really want

    You haven't proven there's a sexism problem, you simply dictated it like some kind of god. Where's the evidence? If it's there, link to it. If not, shut your hole and go find some before you come back.

    Enough of this radfem nonsense.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @07:52AM (#49696707)

      The problem is, nerds don't know what it's like being judged based on your interests, or how you look, or how you talk!

      They are the most popular kids on campus, and always have been!

      The other fact in this matter is that nerdy guys have always harshly judged women, but not the other way around. All women have ever had for nerdy men is love, and affection, and understanding. By contrast, nerdy guys have always been well known to be violent brutes to women. The phrase "white knight" refers to a nerdy guy who wants to kill all women (referring to the pale skin of a lovely woman, of course).

    • by Gramie2 ( 411713 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @09:14AM (#49697111)

      I would have thought the same too, not long ago. I don't think I've ever seen a woman being cat-called or made to feel uncomfortable by men simply because she's a woman. After all, I live in decent parts of Ontario.

      Then a thread on Reddit [reddit.com] asked women when they became aware that they were being seen/treated sexually. Most of them were 10-14 years old, and they were being verbally and physically harassed by much older men (sometimes 4-5 times older). Someone compiled the women's ages [reddit.com].

      I asked my SO about it. She also grew up in a quiet, relatively safe Ontario town. She confirmed that the same thing happened to her starting around age 12. When she was working in a market, around age 15, middle-aged men would wait until she was walking with big trays of food (and therefore couldn't protect herself) and grope her breasts and ass. This was common, and none of the other people around would say or do anything to help.

      So just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it's not happening. It usually happens specifically when the girls have no one around to stand up for them. Talk to some of the women around you, and get their stories. Maybe things have changed, but I thought they had already changed in the '70s and '80s and I was wrong.

  • by Charcharodon ( 611187 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @07:38AM (#49696651)
    Don't let feminists in?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      The perpetually offended are a cancer to the STEM master race.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @07:49AM (#49696699)

      Might be a good start. Women with actual skills and insights have no problems in the sciences and, no surprise, usually do not identify with what currently passes as "feminism". This whole thing is just an attempt to get women preferential treatment. That is as sexist as it sounds.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        > Women with actual skills and insights have no problems in the sciences

        Nonsense. There is a constant undercurrent in the hiring process of "what if she gets pregnant", even if such bias is outlawed in many states and even if it is never written into candidate review, much as "don't hire Americans, they cost too much" is not explicitly written into hiring policies. The bias is also demonstrated both statistically in overall hiring, and by numerous repetitions of the double blind experiment on scientific

        • While I agree that this type of discrimination exists, you have to admit, it many STEM jobs, having somebody leave for a few months would be a pretty big concern. For many other jobs, it's not a huge problem to replace somebody when they need to take time off. For science and engineering, you are paying somebody for their knowledge. And in particular, you want to keep people around because they have gained a lot of specific knowledge about what goes on at your company. You can't just bring somebody in a

    • Can't do it as long as test tubes are shaped the way they are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @07:43AM (#49696677)

    That feminism is still all about equality of opportunity, and acknowledge that it in fact about equality of outcome, regardless of merit or ability.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:13AM (#49696801)

      More and more I suspect feminism is a hate movement, eager to destroy all things masculine.

    • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @09:05AM (#49697059)
      People tend to overlook that in attacking this, one is also saying that women simply do not have as much merit and ability as men. And then people are surprised when they are called sexist for it.. it shows just how deeply ingrained the idea of female inferiority is in their minds... that the natural order, which just happens to disproportionately benefit them, is simply the way nature intended and any attempt to question that is somehow hurting them.
      • by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @10:28AM (#49697567) Homepage

        People tend to overlook that in attacking this, one is also saying that women simply do not have as much merit and ability as men. And then people are surprised when they are called sexist for it.. it shows just how deeply ingrained the idea of female inferiority is in their minds... that the natural order, which just happens to disproportionately benefit them, is simply the way nature intended and any attempt to question that is somehow hurting them.

        Not necessarily. My personal opinion is that the skills and thought processes needed in some disciplines simply might not be interesting to people who have more estrogen than testosterone in their blood.

        It is curious that this kind of movement always seems to be only interested in obtaining safe, high-paying, white-collar jobs for women. If there is any hint that a job might be Difficult, Dangerous, or Dirty, there is no real push to put women in those roles, even when the pay is high. I have never met a single female welder, for example. A good welder is patient, deliberate, and if the directions don't line up with the situation, they need to ask for further directions. If you wanted to pick a gender most suited for that, would you pick a man? I wouldn't. Yet because it is (very mildly) dangerous, often dirty, and sometimes difficult, most women don't seem to be interested.

        • by sfcat ( 872532 )

          It is curious that this kind of movement always seems to be only interested in obtaining safe, high-paying, white-collar jobs for women. If there is any hint that a job might be Difficult, Dangerous, or Dirty, there is no real push to put women in those roles, even when the pay is high. I have never met a single female welder, for example. A good welder is patient, deliberate, and if the directions don't line up with the situation, they need to ask for further directions. If you wanted to pick a gender most suited for that, would you pick a man? I wouldn't. Yet because it is (very mildly) dangerous, often dirty, and sometimes difficult, most women don't seem to be interested.

          Women in fact are better welders on average than men. They just don't want those jobs for some reason, even though they are often high paying.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @07:48AM (#49696689) Journal

    TSIA. It's meaningless pap.
    "I am saying that you have a responsibility to treat every person that comes throughâSâ"âSnot only your work life but your life in generalâSâ"âSwith kindness and respect."
    No, REALLY?

    A PLAN would be something like:
    1) "De-program the mating instinct from humanity"
    2) Now watch men treat women more like each other.* ....because until you extract one of the fundamental drives from our cells (in fact, one might say it is THE drive, as reproduction is the sole reason that there exists a male gender in the first place), men are not going to stop noticing - and reacting - to women.

    *personally, I believe what women are objecting to is, in a way, men treating them like each other. Obviously, not superficially; but men are competitive as hell, I daresay it's almost instinctive. And the guy who would actively demean or denigrate a woman because of her gender is the same sort of personality that would do the same thing to another man if he's brown, or from Minnesota, or had anything that could be used as such leverage.
    Simultaneously, we all can easily trot out examples of women getting special treatment because they're female. Wearing a little lower-cut shirt than they needed to in that tough interview? A little eye contact gets her a free drink? Men will generally stop treating women as sex objects when they - throughout their lives - stop encountering women acting like that.

  • This is going to go well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:05AM (#49696757)

    There is only one way to stop sexism in science. Nerds must be shamed, harshly and often.

    Nerd must be shamed:
    - for being male;
    - for being white;
    - for being cisgendered;
    - for being american;
    - for being educated;
    - for being tech saavy;
    - for playing video games;
    - for playing tabletop games;
    - for reading sci-fi;
    - for being sighted;
    - for having two hands;
    - for not getting out enough;
    - for getting out enough;
    - for having parents;
    - for not posting trigger warnings;
    - for voting Republican;
    - for voting Democrat;
    - for voting;
    - for not voting;
    - etc

    Nerds must be shamed for all these and more. Constantly. It is only by breaking the collective morale and free spirit of the Internet generation that we can hope to instill the true sense of camaraderie and globalism that the tech industry needs to grow and profit in the post-digital age. Positive change is only possible through negative reinforcement. You can lead a horse to water, but he must be beaten into drinking it.

    Nerds will never become tolerant or accepting on their own. They cannot be saved, and their zealous adherence to outdated concepts of equality, meritocracy, and free speech are holding tech companies back. Shaming is best way of gentling this disgusting race of geeks who currently dominate tech. We must rip open their cozy-caves of childish solice, their fortresses of nerdy solitude, and all their conventions and creative workplaces, and there smear the disinfecting lights of inter-sectionalism, sexual politics, and identity politics all over their protesting bodies, minds, and souls until they have no more energy to resist. Only then will tech be finally free from rape culture.

  • by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:11AM (#49696783)

    It's evolution in action. Men who don't "chase skirt" are not as likely to produce offspring, so that group has the tendency to stay small.

  • Woman in Tech Here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LaurenCates ( 3410445 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:20AM (#49696821)

    Apologies for length but this issue is sorely getting on my nerves.

    I realize that the goal of a lot of these campaigns and whatnot is so that we develop gender-blindness so that women can succeed, yada-yada, but when was the last time that the submitters actually asked any women who frequent this site how they feel.

    The alarming frequency of how much I hear about how women in tech need to be helped because OMG sexism!!! is really standing on my very last nerve (and this isn't just in tech, it's in a lot of areas...in the past two weeks, on my Facebook feed alone, I saw a semi-famous internet guy shilling the "poverty is sexist" hashtag and coordinating charity because "women are affected more by poverty than men", the church I just quit put out a fact sheet that men were 95% of perpetrators of domestic abuse, and in addition to Hack Reactor's generous need-blind deferment of tuition, they're now offering scholarships to women...all of which I find to be dubious, or at best moderately short-sighted, to say nothing of the fact that anyone who would question the goodness and purity of the intentions behind any of these MUST be an MRA, which is a group I find to be wildly misunderstood anyway). Never mind all the pro-woman people I know who aren't even in tech pushing the wage gap myth.

    It's almost like there's a concerted campaign out there to get people tilting at windmills or something.

    Okay, I'm not a typical woman, bear in mind - a number of my "guy friends" like to point out I come across as more male than female, sometimes even more they themselves do. But hear me out for a little bit.

    The issue as I see it is not that there isn't sexism - there most certainly is, and yes, I've experienced it. The issue is that all of this fear-mongering is wildly and substantially overblown.

    I will say it again. YES, there are sexist men out there. YES, not enough people call it out. YES, there is real injustice out there.

    BUT:

    YES, women can be sexist too, and I find all of these alarmist cries of sexism to be making it all worse, not better. Women become suspicious of men, and start to believe that 10% of M&Ms are poisonous garbage. Suddenly all men are suspect, and what's that called? SEXISM. But either way, there isn't nearly as much sexism or even as many bad-actors as you might think out there, and if you think so, stop watching so much television.

    YES, not enough people call it out, but what do you really think people are supposed to do about it? Most people don't want to get caught up in other people's drama, because if they do, they don't know how to handle it. If we all knew how to tackle all the world's problems, we wouldn't HAVE problems.

    YES, there is plenty of injustice in the world, but if we keep drawing arbitrary lines, like male vs. female, then what's going to happen is we're always going to look for those dividing lines everywhere. If all you're looking for is faults, eventually that's all you're EVER going to see. More than that, it doesn't help with equality or gender-blindness. It fact, it's counter-productive. It makes one side suspicious of the other. It creates warring factions.

    You can have equality - a notion that assumes women are capable of all the things that men are, including handling their own problems - or you can have the notion that women are somehow handicapped and need gentler handling. Pick one. Pick only one. You can't have both. Not yours.

    Women, if you want to be respected in tech, show up, do good work, be reliable and dependable, and for the love of Christ, stop pointing out that you're a woman. Far fewer people care that you're a woman than you think, they just want to make sure deadlines are met and profits are made. Making it about sexism doesn't make a conducive working environment and you're not helping ANY other women at all. And if sexism is so pervasive that you can't succeed, leave. Sometimes the best thing you can do is admit that the problem is much bigger than you. There ar

    • Wow, thank you (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:45AM (#49696953) Homepage

      Thank you for your comment. I've been saying much the same thing for - it seems like - forever. But it's one thing coming from a guy (even though my wife is in tech, and agrees with all of this), and entirely another coming from a woman.

      "there are sexist men out there"

      I would put it even more generally: There are jerks out there. Men and women both. That is, unfortunately, just the way life is...

      "You can have equality - a notion that assumes women are capable of all the things that men are, including handling their own problems - or you can have the notion that women are somehow handicapped and need gentler handling. Pick one."

      This. Exactly this.

    • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @09:29AM (#49697195)
      It's pretty obvious: They use the bottom 5% of all men to generalize and demand laws to reduce things like male violence and rape--for the other 95%.

      They use the top 5% of men to generalize, campaign, and demand laws about reducing men's success--for the other 95%.

      If you did that with the genders reversed, it'd be called sexist as hell.

      There are strong men, there are weak men, and to assume that every man somehow knows how to negotiate, step up for himself, and get a wall street job is insane. At the same time these feminists are arguing that gender is a spectrum, except when it's "evil men who control everything." It's laughable.
    • It manifests differently, but it is sexism all the same. Many of the "defender of women" types really do see women as weaker, inferior. These poor little flowers just can't, CAN'T stand up for themselves. They need guys to help them out so that things can be fair! So don't worry, fair lady, they'll protect you from the evil men... unless of course you disagree with them in which case they'll attack your fiercely for having "internalized misogyny" or some such. After all, you can't be strong enough to have y

  • Is this sexism? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Posting anon because I'm in a STEM academic field.

    First off I don't know what kind of places the author worked at. I saw that kind of behavior when I was a young TA, where the age differences between "teacher" and "student" were very small, but in my professional life I see my fellow professionals acting...well, professionally. I of course may have internal biases and filters that may prevent me from seeing everything like this, but without hard evidence of these scenarios either way, that's all we have.

    The

  • by quintessencesluglord ( 652360 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:28AM (#49696853)

    What an antithetical beginning to scientific thinking.

    The proof thus far of rampart sexism in science is at best contradictory, and especially now, this push seems to have the flavor of if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes fact.

    Also, I see no reason why women should be singled out in this regard with a myriad of social injustices that take place. By the HDI, they are a privileged class.

    Right now there is a Supreme Court case pending of how affirmative action ends up being discriminatory to Asians, similar in effect to quota systems to keep Jews from higher education.

    I caution attempts at social engineering result in greater injustices than those they seek to fight against.

  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:33AM (#49696873)
    I'm getting really tired of such sexism-rerated blurbs. I'm tired of hearing and reading about some people's ideas about how to force an increase in the number of women in politics, in academia, wherever. I'm tired of these ideas mostly because most of them feel themselves forced, and very often drop over to the other side of overly positive discrimination horse. I'm tired of them, because most of them don't contribute and are worthless, or simply disregard the real world, trying to envision some half-assed gender-neutral utopia. All stupid crap.

    I've spent now more than a decade in academia, and I've always had women colleagues, during msc, during phd, after phd. Not many, naturally (fairly typical CS/IT ratios), and even today from the 9 senior (young postdocs and "older" postdocs) in our lab onyl 2 are women - which I think is a fairly average ratio in our field. None of my earlier or current female colleaues/coworkers had such negative experiences as the blog post is about. That doesn't mean others didn't, but sometimes I have the feeling such stories are a bit overreacting and over-generalizing.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind to see more women in scientific fields, but I couldn't care less if there weren't any either. I just never thought about such numbers as ratios as being an issue. It certainly never occurred to me - or anyone I've ever spoke about such topics - that women couldn't perform in our field, since I know from experience that they can, furthermore, most women I know - personally or because of their results and publications - in our field are really exceptional in their areas, very many of them are much better than me or some of my colleagues :)) And the ones I do know personally always seemed to be really motivated, since they want to show they can do more and better. Which, while is nice, it's really unnecessary, nobody I know would think they are inferior. Also, performance&results are important, gender is not.

    So, tl;dr, sexism and gender issues: don't care.
  • When I read that story [wikipedia.org] as a kid, it seemed absolutely absurd to me. How could such a society ever even come to be?

    Now I understand. God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

  • by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @08:55AM (#49697005)
    How to stop sexism on slashdot articles?
  • by mrex ( 25183 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @09:02AM (#49697049)

    The professor who’d talk to a student professionally and politely, then stare at her rear end while she walked away.

    Oh yes, how terrible. Great think piece, Sir Galahad.

    If people looking at your ass makes you uncomfortable, wear clothes that obscure your ass. That's what clothes are for, covering the parts of your body that you don't want others to see.

  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @10:31AM (#49697587) Homepage Journal

    Is it possible to find a woman both attractive and intelligent at the same time? I certainly believe so. The author makes it sound like the moment you pay any attention to a woman's physico-social attractiveness, you automatically disregard her academic abilities.

    IMHO, it's basically the same thing that happens between any people in a professional setting, with or without sexual compatibility. You get along better with some people than others, and this has an effect on your professional collaborations. We don't simply treat other people as computers or data stores for the professional stuff - is this what the author wants?

  • Discussions like this always center on the need to make science less 'male' in the sense of getting rid of locker-room humor or, once the academic battleaxes really get going, humor of any kind.

    But if women are going to meet us halfway and make the most of their talents in STEM, they too need to make one change..
    Stop being afraid of everything!/b

  • by jbssm ( 961115 ) on Friday May 15, 2015 @12:19PM (#49698379)
    It's getting absurd that lower qualified women get positions in science just because they are of the right gender. Stop discrimination in science.

A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms. -- George Wald

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