Tag: women

Congress Passes Bill To Recruit More Women Into STEM Careers

Update: We mistakenly reported that the pro-STEM bills signed by Trump were Executive Orders. In fact, they were Congressional bills, and this has now been corrected.

President Trump is infamous for his treatment of women, and we at IFLScience have made it no secret we find his administrations attitude towards science is one of near-total disdain. Thats why, when the Commander-in-Chief recently added his signature to two bills in the Oval Office bills designed to recruit more women into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs it came as quite a welcome surprise.

As per the first bill, HR 321, NASA must actively ramp up its attempts to recruit and encourage more young women into taking up STEM careers. NASA will also be required to report to Congressional committees with regards to how much progress it is making on this issue.

The second bill, HR 255, authorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF), the source of nearly a quarter of all federally supported scientific research, to boost its recruitment efforts. Women graduating in STEM subjects will be aided in taking up STEM careers in the worlds of both academia and industry.

Although the fine details of the bills are somewhat lacking its not clear what encouraging means in practical terms its hard to disagree with the President signing off on these, which were given bipartisan support in Congress. However, things are not as benevolent as they seem.

During the signing ceremony at the Oval Office Trump said it was unfair that only 1 in 4 women with a degree in one of these fields ends up working in them.

This likely refers to the results of a US census back in 2012, which notes that just 25 percent of both men and women with a bachelor’s in a STEM subject find work in a STEM field, a problem linked to the lack of funding and career support for science in general. The figure for women alone was actually closer to 1 in 7 far worse than Trumps team have made out.

Just 1 in 7 women with STEM degrees go into STEM fields. US Census

This depressing statistic isnt just down to the well-documented recruiting bias against women in STEM fields it goes back to education, and how, from a very young age, most girls arent raised to think that they are just as able to become scientists as men are. Its not clear that the new Education Secretary, someone who has no experience working in schools whatsoever, has any plans to address this issue.

Mind you, its not ever been clear that Trump himself knows much about women in STEM. Back in 2016, when questioned on the subject, he dismissively said: there are a host of STEM programs already in existence.

And then, of course, theres the Trump administrations anti-science agenda. From a Cabinet stuffed with climate change deniers to enormous budget cuts to federal science research programs including a 24 percent cut to the beleaguered Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) budget these Congressional bills have cropped up at a strange time in the American political discourse.

Theres something decidedly paradoxical about encouraging women to take up STEM careers when it looks like there wont be many left by the time they graduate. Science needs funding, plain and simple, but every action taken by the resurgent Republican Party in 2017 amounts to nothing less than trampling on so much of Americas scientific legacy.

With this in mind, its worth pointing out that as the pro-STEM bills were signed, Trump also added his signature to one of his own Executive Orders, one that aims to review the way public waterways are protected from pollution under the EPAs Clean Water Rule.

This act essentially ensures over 110 million Americans have safe drinking water, and its backed by hard-and-fast science. This order seeks to weaken it just so fossil fuel companies can get away with a little more fracking and a little less regulation.

So yes, the signing of the STEM bills are a good thing but the wider picture confirms that Trump is far more of a threat to science than he is a friend to it.

[H/T: Chicago Tribune]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/president-trump-signs-executive-orders-to-help-women-take-up-stem-careers/

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The female gaze through 70 years of Magnum | Giles Tremlett

As Magnum celebrates its 70th anniversary, Giles Tremlett looks at the role women have played in the agencys story

In 1960, the Magnum photographer Eve Arnold spent a year following Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam movement around the United States. The white, female photographer and the leader of black Americas radical movement found they both understood the power of images. Malcolm X helped Arnold, though his followers were not always happy to see her and after one rally she found the back of her jersey riddled with holes left by the cigarettes people had been jabbing into her back. The result of Arnolds work was a series of pictures that included an iconic image with the sharp and handsome Malcolm X sitting in profile, his hat tilted forward and a ring on his finger bearing the star and crescent moon.

Arnold was a talented photographer from a legendary agency. Magnum was set up 70 years ago this year by a small group of photojournalists led by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and Chim Seymour. The agency was not just a leader in providing the definitive and often first images of mid-20th century history, it also recognised that women belonged to what Cartier-Bresson called its community of thought. By 1957, two of its 15 owner-members were women including Arnold and Inge Morath. Some of their pictures still lurk in our collective subconsciousness as categorical representations of certain people, places or moments in history. It would take the New York Times, by comparison, two more decades to hire its first female photographer.

For several decades, women were a small but core part of Magnums operation. Marilyn Silverstone, Susan Meiselas, Mary Ellen Mark and Martine Franck also joined. But between 1983 and 2009, only one Lise Sarfati was admitted as a full member, and she later resigned. It is only in the last dozen years that Magnum where nominee members take four or more years to make it full membership has begun to redress the imbalance.

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Iconic image: Nation of Islams Malcolm X photographed by Eve Arnold in 1962 during his visit to businesses owned by black Muslims in Chicago. Photograph: Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

Arnold and Morath joined during the 1950s around the time early members, such as Capa, Seymour and Werner Bischof died. All had followed Capas rule that if your pictures arent good enough, youre not close enough and were killed, respectively, after stepping on a landmine in Indochina, being machine-gunned in Suez and driving off an Andean mountain road. Their deaths were a sign of the dedication Magnum expected of its members who considered themselves a hybrid of photojournalist and artist. They still do. That makes the agency notoriously anarchic. Magnums biographer Russell Miller describes meetings marked by tantrums and slammed doors. Magnum isnt a democracy, its anarchy, he says. A former employee was even more candid. Its like the inmates taking over the asylum, he said. Its mob rule.

Morath was a Magnum editor before starting to take her own photos in 1951. She became, among other things, a photographer of Hollywood stars and even saved the life of the Second World War hero, the actor Audie Murphy, after he injured himself during one of director John Hustons duck shoots. Morath pulled his boat back to shore by swimming in front of it and using her bra strap as a tow rope. In one of her best-known images, an off-guard Marilyn Monroe raises her eyes to Moraths camera, warmth shining through the glamour during a break in the filming of The Misfits.

Both Morath and Arnold befriended Monroe, and their photographs of her reveal their ability to build intimacy and trust. She doted on the pictures Inge Morath had taken of her, sensing real affection, Monroes then husband, playwright Arthur Miller, later recalled. Marilyn liked her at once, appreciating her considerate kindness and the absence remarkable in a photographer of aggression. Morath went on to marry Miller after he separated from Monroe. Their daughter, Rebecca Miller, is the film director and partner of Daniel Day-Lewis.

Katayoun
Heads up: Katayoun Khosrowyar, Irans national under-14 football team coach, practices her skills in Tehran, shot by Newsha Tavakolian, 2015. Photograph: Newsha Tavakolian/Magnum Photos

Much has changed since the glory days. Internet and digital phone cameras are bringing more radical change but, as a new generation of women builds a presence at Magnum, some things remain the same. People often dont see beyond you as a person with a camera; they dont think of you as a professional and they let their guard down, says Olivia Arthur, an Oxford mathematics graduate who was an early recruit to the new wave of Magnum women.

Arthurs Jeddah Diary series, an intimate portrait of young women in Saudi Arabia, is a prime example of this unsought advantage. Her pictures speak of secret partying, alcohol, lesbians and hook-ups. Its an extreme example. But I had so much access to a world that couldnt even have been seen by a man, she explains. Arthur provides not just photographs but also text. She finds a festive atmosphere among women in a theme park, for example, where the only photograph she can publish is of an empty fairground ride. The lesbian crowd is at the bowling alley, hanging out, flirting, kissing, Arthur writes. Walking around with a girl dressed like a man, security approaches. Im getting complaints, she says. Women are afraid, they think there is a man here Cant you be more feminine? Some of Arthurs pictures were tantalisingly held below a bright light and photographed again to hide the subjects face. I had access to something that couldnt all be shared.

The industry is very male dominated, but when you make your work, personally I think its easier to be a woman, says Susan Meiselas, who joined in 1976 and links the generation of Arnold and Morath with the newcomers. Her entry into Magnum was an example of just how willing members are to take apparently risky bets on new talent, despite the famously rigorous selection process which now sees aspirants present three different portfolios over four years. Meiselas had made her name taking pictures of itinerant strippers in New England fairgrounds. These hung on the walls of the Whitney Museum in New York, but she had little experience of photojournalism. When in 1978 she set out for Nicaragua a country in open rebellion against strongman Anastasio Somoza she did not even know how many rolls of replacement film she could request (she asked for 10 and Magnum sent 100). Her enthusiasm was such that experienced hands soon warned she was taking the get close philosophy too literally. She turned into a much-praised conflict photographer. Her Molotov Man picture of a beret-clad Sandinista fighter with Mick Jagger looks captured both the bravado and, for some, the romance of battling US-backed regimes in central America during the 1980s.

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Sleepy princess: a young girl yawns during the annual Fiesta de las Cruces (Festival of the Crosses) in Abern, captured by Cristina Garcia Rodero, Spain, 1993. Photograph: Cristina Garcia Rodero/Magnum Photos

There has always been a tension at Magnum between art and reportage. Even stronger has been the tension between art and money. For years the agency struggled to make a decent profit. In 2010 Magnum sold much of its New York archive of press prints to billionaire Michael Dell who then gifted them to the University of Texas with an insurance value reported at more than $100m. The market is now pushing photographers towards the art side of the balance. Photographers like Arnold were given months to carry out magazine commissions, while todays Magnum members are more likely to be given days. As a result much of the agencys best photography is to be found in limited-edition books.

For some, this is a return to their roots. Cristina Garca Rodero, a Spanish member, had been taking photographs for decades before joining in 2005. Her first project had been an epic journey taking pictures of Spanish fiestas which took 15 years to complete and became a book. When we meet in Madrid she has just returned from India, and is considering setting out for Brazil to photograph Easter rituals. Her festival obsession means she now also travels to the Nevada desert for Burning Man, to Berlins Love Parade and to other erotic festivals. I guess I probably look at those in a different way to a male photographer, she says.

The degree of ambition and amount of work – required to be a Magnum photographer has been one of the blocks to women. Men do not always have the same impediments. I remember war photographers who were back in the field a few days after a child had been born, said Meiselas, who recalls at least one talented female nominee leaving Magnum because it did not fit with her family life. Arthur, who I catch in jet-lagged mode in London between trips to India and New York, shares her life and small daughter with a fellow photographer. Hes very supportive, and we are able to juggle, she says.

Marilyn
A simple smile: Marilyn Monroe during a break in filming The Misfits, New York, 1960. Later Arthur Miller revealed how much she liked the Inge Morath shot. Photograph: The Inge Morath Foundation/Magnum Photos

Magnum photographers have, in terms of nationality, always been a diverse group. So what happened to women during that 26-year lull? Meiselas believes that, in part, the agencys history of incorporating women mirrors that of society and feminism with women photographers joining during the militant 70s and the bold early 21st century, but not during the low days of the late 20th century. Three of the nine photographers now going through the process of acquiring membership are women and Magnums foundation gives an annual Inge Morath Award to young female photographers wanting to complete a long-term project. One of the current Magnum nominees, Newsha Tavakolian, is the subject of a picture by another of the agencys photographers, her fellow Iranian Abbas. It shows her at work in a press pack among a bunch of short-sleeved, bare-headed cameramen. Tavakolian is the only one obliged to cover her head and arms. It is a reminder that in some places women struggle just to become professional photographers, making the idea of joining Magnum an almost impossible dream.

Magnums 70th anniversary is being celebrated throughout 2017 (magnumphotos.com/magnum-photos-70; #MagnumPhotos70). To order a copy of the anniversary book, Magnum Manifesto (Thames & Hudson, 45) for 38.25, go to bookshop.theguardian.com

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/30/the-female-gaze-through-70-years-of-magnum

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Stephen Hawking Teaches Piers Morgan A Valuable Lesson In Gender Equality

Stephen Hawking may be a distinguished professor of mathematics, but he just schooled Piers Morgan on gender equality.

During an interview with the legendary British scientist on Monday, Morgan posited that the U.K.s roster of high-profile women in politics points to scientific evidence of gender equality.

But Hawkings response suggested the controversial TV host was overlooking a more important factor in the fight for womens empowerment.

It is not scientific proof of gender equality that is required, but general acceptance that women are at least the equals of men or better, Hawking told Morgan on Good Morning Britain.

If we factor in high-power women in Europe as well, such as [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel, it seems we are witnessing a seismic shift for women to accede to high-level positions in politics and society, he added. I welcome these signs of womens liberation. But there may still be a gap between those women achieving high public status and those in the private sector.

Morgan has faced harsh criticism in recent months for his vitriolic comments about women.He frequently engages in Twitter tirades against what he calls the feminazis and the creeping global emasculation of [his] gender. In January, he railed against the historic Womens March on Washington, deeming the event absurd and attacking its participants as rabid feminists.

Hawking offered a stark contrast to the controversial TV hosts views. When Morgan asked Hawking if he is a feminist, his response was resolute.

Yes, Hawking said. I have always supported womens rights.

I moved the admission of women to my college, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, he added. The results were wholly good.

Watch the full interview below:

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stephen-hawking-piers-morgans-gender-equality_us_58cfc7afe4b0ec9d29dd537b?mm&ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

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Congress Passes Bill To Recruit More Women Into STEM Careers

Update: We mistakenly reported that the pro-STEM bills signed by Trump were Executive Orders. In fact, they were Congressional bills, and this has now been corrected.

President Trump is infamous for his treatment of women, and we at IFLScience have made it no secret we find his administrations attitude towards science is one of near-total disdain. Thats why, when the Commander-in-Chief recently added his signature to two bills in the Oval Office bills designed to recruit more women into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs it came as quite a welcome surprise.

As per the first bill, HR 321, NASA must actively ramp up its attempts to recruit and encourage more young women into taking up STEM careers. NASA will also be required to report to Congressional committees with regards to how much progress it is making on this issue.

The second bill, HR 255, authorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF), the source of nearly a quarter of all federally supported scientific research, to boost its recruitment efforts. Women graduating in STEM subjects will be aided in taking up STEM careers in the worlds of both academia and industry.

Although the fine details of the bills are somewhat lacking its not clear what encouraging means in practical terms its hard to disagree with the President signing off on these, which were given bipartisan support in Congress. However, things are not as benevolent as they seem.

During the signing ceremony at the Oval Office Trump said it was unfair that only 1 in 4 women with a degree in one of these fields ends up working in them.

This likely refers to the results of a US census back in 2012, which notes that just 25 percent of both men and women with a bachelor’s in a STEM subject find work in a STEM field, a problem linked to the lack of funding and career support for science in general. The figure for women alone was actually closer to 1 in 7 far worse than Trumps team have made out.

Just 1 in 7 women with STEM degrees go into STEM fields. US Census

This depressing statistic isnt just down to the well-documented recruiting bias against women in STEM fields it goes back to education, and how, from a very young age, most girls arent raised to think that they are just as able to become scientists as men are. Its not clear that the new Education Secretary, someone who has no experience working in schools whatsoever, has any plans to address this issue.

Mind you, its not ever been clear that Trump himself knows much about women in STEM. Back in 2016, when questioned on the subject, he dismissively said: there are a host of STEM programs already in existence.

And then, of course, theres the Trump administrations anti-science agenda. From a Cabinet stuffed with climate change deniers to enormous budget cuts to federal science research programs including a 24 percent cut to the beleaguered Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) budget these Congressional bills have cropped up at a strange time in the American political discourse.

Theres something decidedly paradoxical about encouraging women to take up STEM careers when it looks like there wont be many left by the time they graduate. Science needs funding, plain and simple, but every action taken by the resurgent Republican Party in 2017 amounts to nothing less than trampling on so much of Americas scientific legacy.

With this in mind, its worth pointing out that as the pro-STEM bills were signed, Trump also added his signature to one of his own Executive Orders, one that aims to review the way public waterways are protected from pollution under the EPAs Clean Water Rule.

This act essentially ensures over 110 million Americans have safe drinking water, and its backed by hard-and-fast science. This order seeks to weaken it just so fossil fuel companies can get away with a little more fracking and a little less regulation.

So yes, the signing of the STEM bills are a good thing but the wider picture confirms that Trump is far more of a threat to science than he is a friend to it.

[H/T: Chicago Tribune]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/president-trump-signs-executive-orders-to-help-women-take-up-stem-careers/

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By Age 6 Girls Are More Likely To Think “Genius” And “Brilliance” Are Male Traits, Not Female

In a heartbreaking new study, scientists have discovered that gender stereotypes can start affecting children from as young assix, the age when girls start thinking of traits like intelligence, brilliance, and genius, as distinctly male.

Its no secret that there is an imbalance of women and men working in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In fact, in the US, where this study was conducted, only 30 percent of people employed in STEM positions are women.

Hoping to find out why this is, researchers from New York University, University of Illinois, and Princeton decided to investigate several possible factors, including whether societal gender stereotypes such as associating intellectual talent with males affected girls choices from a young age.

Their study found that girls as young as six believed that exceptional talent was a boys trait, and their male counterparts are more likely to exhibit “brilliance”. Its also the age they began steering themselves away from activities aimed at the really, really smart, choosing ones aimed at children who try really, really hard instead.

“Not only do we see thatgirlsjust starting out in school are absorbing some of society’s stereotyped notions of brilliance, but these younggirlsare also choosing activities based on these stereotypes, said senior author Andrei Cimpian from NYU in a statement. This is heartbreaking.”

The study looked at 400 children, half of whom were girls, between the ages of five and seven years old to evaluate their opinions and attitudes towards the notions of intelligence and ability.

Our society tends to associate brilliance with men more than with women, and this notion pushes women away from jobs that are perceived to require brilliance, said co-author Lin Bian. We wanted to know whether young children also endorse these stereotypes.

Using the phrase really, really smart as a childs way of understanding the adult concept of brilliance, they carried out several tests to probe the influence of gender stereotypes.

In one example the children were read a story about a really, really smart protagonist that was not revealed to be male or female. Afterwards they were then asked to select the most likely protagonist from among pictures of men and women. At age five, most of the children picked their own gender, proving they viewed their own gender positively, however the sixand seven-year olds mostly picked the male.

Another experiment had the children express their preference for two games they played, one described as for children who are really, really smart and the other for children who try really, really hard. Their findings showed that both genders were interested in the hard game but the sixand seven-year old girls shied away from the smart one.

Already by this young age girls are discounting the evidence that is in front of their eyes and basing their ideas about who is really, really smart on other things, said Cimpian.

Overall, their study highlights how even young children can absorb and be influenced by gender stereotypes that still exist in today’s society, such as that of brilliance or giftedness being more common in men, and this is having a detrimental effect on girls futures.

Because these ideas are present at such an early age, they have so much time to affect the educational trajectories of boys and girls, Cimpian explained.

The authors concluded in their paper, published in the journal Science, that women are underrepresented in fields whose members cherish brilliance (such as physics and philosophy) because societys gender stereotypes harbored from a young age are likely to discourage womens pursuit of many prestigious careers.

The present results suggest a sobering conclusion: many children assimilate the idea that brilliance is a male quality at a young age,” the study states. “This stereotype begins to shape children’s interests as soon as it is acquired and is thus likely to narrow the range of careers they will one day contemplate.”

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/by-age-6-girls-are-more-likely-to-think-genius-and-brilliance-are-male-traits-not-female/

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People Across The U.S. Are Raising Money For Girls To See ‘Hidden Figures’

Hidden Figures, the hit film that tells the story of three black women who helped NASA send a man into orbit, has been praised for putting women of color in the spotlight.

Thats why people across the country teens, teachers and community leaders are raising money through GoFundMe to ensure young girls can see the movie.

One of those people is Taylor Richardson, a 13-year-old aspiring astronaut from Florida, who wants to send 100 girls to see Hidden Figures at a theater in Jacksonville, Florida. She also wants to raise money on GoFundMe for the girls to have snacks and get a copy of the Hidden Figures book.

Richardson first saw the movie at a screening at the White House and has since seen it three more times. She said the film was amazing.

Taylor Richardson
Taylor Richardson, a 13-year-old from Florida, wants to raise money for 100 girls to see “Hidden Figures” and get a copy of the book that inspired the movie.

I cried, I laughed, I got angry and then got determined to not let others impressions of me because of the color of my skin impact how my life will be, she told The Huffington Post. These black women did something I never knew about, and its not in any history books that Ive studied thus far.

As of Friday, Richardson has raised $2,540 of her $2,600 goal. She found the girls she plans to take to see the film from organizations that have impacted her life like the YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, See The Girl and Journey Into Womanhood. She wants them to go home after the movie feeling as inspired as she did.

This movie instills that us girls can dream big and make it even when odds are against us, she said. Most importantly I want girls to know that, like boys, they too can excel in STEM with hard work.

Several teachers across the country have also started GoFundMe campaigns to help send their students to see the influential film. After reaching his goal of $1,000, Peter Modlin will be taking girls in second, third, fourth and fifth grade who attend the Baltimore elementary school where he teaches. Modlin told HuffPost he hopes the students learn to dream big after watching the movie.

I want the girls to see this movie in hopes that a lightbulb might go off, he said. A lightbulb that signifies a belief in the opportunity to do or be anything they want to be, if they work hard to achieve that goal.

Peter Modlin
Second-grade language teacher Peter Modlin is excited to take students to see the film after reaching his $1,000 goal.

Like Richardson and Modlin, Phyllis Marshall raised money on GoFundMe so local girls could see Hidden Figures, and has since taken them to see it.

On Jan. 7, she took 50 girls from Roberts Family Development Center in Sacramento, California, to the theater.Shes worked with the center, which is in a low-income community and provides after-school care, for years.Through GoFundMe she raised more than her $1,500 goal, which provided transportation, snacks and tickets to the movie. Marshall said they loved it.

Phyllis Marshall
Phyllis Marshall took 50 girls from the Roberts Family Development Center, with whom she’s worked for years, to see the movie. She said “they loved it.”

Marshall was glad to be able to show the girls that women can succeed in science, technology and mathematics. She was especially thrilled to show them that women of color and their success deserve a place on the big screen.

I certainly hope as many young girls get to see that movie as possible.

Other teachers and community leaders are raising money for kids to see Hidden Figures, too.Check out their campaigns below.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/people-across-the-us-are-raising-money-for-girls-to-see-hidden-figures_us_5877d3aae4b0c42cb17597de?

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