May 19, 2014

A recent Nature issue exposed the dismaying fact that many women are deterred from pursuing a career in science, especially at the highest levels (postdoctoral positions, faculty position, scientific advisory boards to start up companies, etc). To talk about this significant gender gap in science and the issues female scientists face, IPD and Baker lab members participated in an informal lunch discussion to determine what specific steps could be taken as a group to encourage and promote women in our own scientific community.

Women in Science lunchSome specific action items included:

Using gender-neutral pronouns – To be inclusive of all lab members, in hypothetical cases, we will use gender-neutral pronouns (i.e. “they” instead of “he” or “she”) to refer to an individual. If you catch someone in lab using a non gender-neutral pronoun, please let them know so that they can be aware of what they are saying and correct their language in the future.

Bi-weekly lunches as a support system for women scientists, younger lab members (undergraduates and graduate students) and new lab members. The goal with these lunches is to provide mentorship and encouragement to new and young lab members so that they feel supported to stay in science.

Lunch or coffee sessions will be organized to discuss the issues of being in a new lab environment. All senior lab members, particularly women, are encouraged to attend. A schedule of these lunches will be posted on the website soon!

IPD and Baker lab members also discussed various community outreach opportunities to actively engage and recruit new scientists to the lab, particularly underrepresented minority groups and women. We will use UW clubs and organizations already in place here as a resource for this outreach effort.

This is an ongoing discussion but with these goals in mind, everyone can make the lab an even better and more collaborative environment than it already is! Stay tuned for the first bi-weekly lunch to be scheduled soon.

Women in Science lunch 2Women in Science lunch 3