ALD News: Fieldwork update, women not cited as often as men, Inspiring Women event
Plus help us make some plans for 2024 and find out more about Ada Lovelace's Culbone Woods.
Well, here we are in 2024 with a shiny new year laid out ahead of us! I hope that your festive season was everything you wanted it to be, and more.
Over the next few months I’ll be sinking my teeth into the search for sponsors, which will include completely revamping sponsor rewards as well as the sponsorship levels. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the cost of everything has gone up, but I haven’t changed my pricing structure for a long time, so I am going to have to raise prices in order to keep Ada Lovelace Day viable.
I’ll also be writing a lot more about why Ada Lovelace Day is important and what companies can get out of becoming an Ada Lovelace Day sponsor. Do keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, Bluesky, LinkedIn or Substack Notes for links!
If you’d like to help us keep ALD going, please do consider becoming a paid subscriber to this newsletter. We have a variety of discount codes to make sure that supporting us is affordable for everyone. Just click a link below at your chosen level:
If hundred of you lovely people could subscribe for just £4 a month, that would cover the cost of livestreaming and speaker fees and expenses.
Will you join our ALD livestream in 2024?
It’s never too early to start planning your celebrations for Ada Lovelace Day, which this year will take place on Tuesday 8 October. So, in that spirit, I’m already thinking ahead to how we can encourage more companies to buy livestream tickets for their staff or wider communities.
Last year, Docker.com bought a ticket for every single employee, and we’d like to encourage more companies to follow their lead. Buying livestream tickets and organising watch-parties is a great way for companies to support both the day and their female staff. Bulk purchases will be discounted, so if your company would like to join us, please let me know roughly how many tickets you would be interested in:
I’ll share more information about livestream ticket pricing and bulk purchases as soon as I can, but feel free to get in touch if you’d like to be put on my priority contact list.
Fieldwork short film project
I’m making good progress on the Fieldwork short film script about the experiences of ecologists working in the field, which is the final part of the Covid-disrupted i-COMET project. Last year was largely preparation and research and I have had some fabulous conversations with a wide variety of researchers. This year is going to be all about writing, and you can find out more about that plan in this post!
Women still not cited as often as men
New research shows that in the life sciences, and even in areas where there is ‘relatively equitable gender representation’, papers led by women still get fewer citations than those with male lead authors.
The study’s authors say that the imbalance is caused in part by gender specialization in certain research areas. But there’s another factor at play — a researcher’s mentors, co-authors and conference buddies are likely to share their gender identity.
Life science is often held up as a great example of a scientific field with good gender balance. Indeed, women ‘now earn the majority of life-science PhDs’, but it looks like women’s and men’s networks are dominated by people of their own gender.
Efforts to increase gender equity in sciences have generally focused on increasing the number of women in the sciences, and on recruiting female mentors for female scientists. But the analysis suggests that the latter practice creates gender silos in fields. “We need to go kind of one step further and really getting these two networks to integrate,” Chai says.
There is still so much more work to do to develop true gender equity in STEM, and we may have to examine some of our assumptions about how best to support women, and I suspect it’s actually a bit more complicated than just integrating male and female networks. More work is definitely needed!
Rosalind Franklin Society Inspiring Women event
The Rosalind Franklin Society is hosting a free online event, Inspiring Women Transforming Science, on 24-25 January, from 11:00 to 15:00 EST.
We will again present an impressive panel of prestigious leaders in science, and a panel to highlight the unique path of scientists from PhD to CEO. As in the past, you will also want to hear first-hand from major new appointments in the Federal government and university leadership.
With speakers from American universities such as NYU, MIT and Princeton, government institutions including the Department of Energy, NASA and the CDC, plus businesses such as GSK, Smart Immune and Genentech/Roche, this is promising to be a fascinating event.
Featured posts on Substack
Take a look a few of the profiles and book posts that went out via our weekly email over the last month:
The Secret Perfume of Birds: Uncovering the Science of Avian Scent, Danielle J Whittaker: Evolutionary science has defined the history of biology, providing the foundation for modern biology and opening the doors to novel types of research.
Dr Leone Norwood Farrell, Biochemist & microbiologist: Leone Norwood Farrell was a Canadian biochemist and microbiologist whose inventions enabled the large-scale production of the polio vaccine in the 1950s.
Annie Easley, Computer scientist, mathematician and rocket scientist: As one of NASA’s first African-American employees, Annie Easley helped develop software for the Centaur rocket stage, which enabled several landmark spaceflights in the later 20th century.
If you’d like to receive more emails like those, check your notifications settings on Substack and make sure that all the sub-newsletters are turned on and show green.
Around the web
Here is our round up of links and reading that we’ve found this month!
Ada Lovelace featured: If you are in the Somerset area, why not take a walk around Culbone Woods, built by Ada Lovelace and her husband.
Women of colour: The Indian Women Scientists’ Association was created in 1972 to help support women in STEM careers, and Vogue India talks to the founders about their work. Aditya L-1 is an Indian space mission to observe the sun, and its project director is female aerospace engineer Nigar Shaji.
Overlooked women: Atlas Obscura writes about the women of the Yerkes Observatory, whose work as astronomers was forgotten, but has come to light recently from a photo of an Einstein visit. A scientific team has identified plants named after women, and tried to investigate the work those women contributed. The result is a dataset featuring over 700 names, which you can read about here. Astronomy writes about the life and career of Vera Rubin, including her advocacy for women in STEM.
News: Read the biggest science stories of 2023, chosen by scientists, including Prof Haley Gomez, Prof Hannah Cloke OBE and Prof Ijeoma F Uchegbu. Psychology Today has some tips on achieving gender inclusion from Dr Jenna Carpenter, Dean of Engineering at Campbell University School of Engineering, which has 60% female staff.
Videos and podcasts: Paleontologist Annie Montague Alexander is the subject of the latest Lost Women of Science episode. Listen to find out more about her work, including the expeditions she herself funded.
That’s it for this month! See you again in a few weeks!
All the best,
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