This week, I attended the webinar “Women Communicating Arctic Science | Gender in Transdisciplinary Research” with Dr. Amy Lauren Lovecraft and Dr. Alexandra Middleton.
Essentially, it was an open discussion on the role that women have in science — particularly Arctic science. It was a discussion concerning the existing gender biases in research, and how women struggle to defend their expertise in the fields that they have been studying for years.
This webinar was very eye-opening and focused on the open discussion of the emotional impact of being a woman in the field of science, and particularly of Arctic studies.
While there is not much to report on in terms of hard data or information, the consensus was that there is definitely a kind of bias in science that makes it more difficult for women to move up in comparison to men in science. There is a kind of pressure to avoid taking on roles with more responsibility, assuming the women have children, or a hesitancy to give women more responsibility based on their parental status.
Dr. Alexandra Middleton spoke and referenced several organizations that aid women in science/Arctic studies. I have added the organizations here in addition to the site descriptions I found online:
Supera (Supporting the Promotion of Equality in Research and Academia — The main aim is to implement Gender Equality Plans to articulate a structural understanding of gender inequalities, stereotypes and biases in research to better understand the gender perspective of research and academia.)
Gender Action (First and lead organization holding the world’s largest development banks accountable for gender and climate impacts of their investments across sectors. Established in 2002.)
Efforti (Evaluation Framework for Promoting Gender Equality in R&I — Seeks to analyse and model the influence of measures to promote gender equality on research and innovation outputs and on establishing more responsible and responsive RTDI systems.)
Gearing Roles (A strong multidisciplinary consortium of 10 European academic and non-academic partners that will design, implement and evaluate 6 Gender Equality Plans with the firm objective of challenging and transforming gender roles and identities linked to professional careers, and work towards real institutional change.)
GEECCO (Gender Equality in Engineering through Communication and Commitment — It aims to establish tailor-made Gender Equality Plans in 4 European universities and to implement the gender dimension in 2 researching funding organizations in funding schemes, programs, and review processes. The participating universities are located in the STEM field, where gender equality is still a serious problem.)
Overall, there is a lot of effort being made to ensure that women are being heard and given a chance in the field of science — but we still have a long way to go!