Tag: women

Lego Releases Figurines Celebrating The Women Of NASA, And They’re Awesome

Earlier this year, Lego asked for suggestions from fans. Science writer Maia Weinstock came up with an awesome idea – a range of figurines celebrating women who have played critical roles in the US space program.

Writing at the time she pointed out how certain women have been critical to NASA missions throughout the space program’s history.

“Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated – especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).”
 

“This proposed set celebrates five notable NASA pioneers and provides an educational building experience to help young ones and adults alike learn about the history of women in STEM.”

Well, Lego loved the idea, and has now released the set for children to play with. They’ve named the set “Women of NASA”. They’re pretty awesome, and everyone from children to current NASA astronauts are loving them.

Retired NASA astronaut Wendy B. Lawrence is considering buying the set. She is NOT too old to buy it – no one is.

The set includes Margaret Hamilton, who developed the onboard flight software for Apollo missions to the moon in the 1960s. She is known for popularizing the modern concept of software, and last year was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Next up is Nancy Grace Roman. Nancy was one of the first female executives at NASA. She’s often called the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. As an aside, the astronomer also developed NASA’s astronomy research program.
 

Nancy in real life. NASA / Wikimedia Commons

The set also includes Sally Ride. You probably already know of Sally, the first American woman in space. A physicist by training, she launched into space in 1983. After retiring from being an astronaut, she focussed on educating children and encouraging them – especially girls – to pursue science as a career, through a foundation she set up.

Joining Sally is fellow astronaut Mae Jemison. Mae trained as a medical doctor, before becoming an astronaut. In 1992 she became the first African-American woman in space. She too developed a company after retiring from NASA. Hers develops new technologies whilst encouraging students in science.

The two are celebrated in a joint figurine, where they have their own space shuttle to fly around in.

The initially proposed set included Katherine Johnson, a mathematician and space scientist. Some of her greatest achievements include calculating trajectories for the Apollo programs, including Apollo 11, which got the first humans on the moon.

Katherine chose not to be a part of the completed set.

Katherine Johnson’s life was recently brought to the big screen in the Oscar-winning Hidden Figures. NASA / Wikimedia Commons
The figurines are going down extremely well with fans, who love the idea as well as the awesome little details.

The set also includes instruments used to calculate and verify trajectories for the Apollo missions (something very important before you send your Lego figurines into space) and a microscale Hubble Space Telescope. The space shuttle even has an external tank and rocket boosters.

NASA themselves are fans.

As is everyone else.

The creator of the set put out a note to thank Lego for doing the set, which she hopes will help children and adults around the world learn about these pioneering scientists.

The figurines will be on sale from November 1.

 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/lego-releases-figurines-celebrating-the-women-of-nasa-and-theyre-awesome/

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You are your looks: thats what society tells girls. No wonder theyre depressed | Natasha Devon

Children as young as seven believe that they are valued more for their appearance than for their character. Its time to break down these stereotypes, says author and childrens campaigner Natasha Devon

A study published by Girlguiding this week has revealed that half of girls feel stifled by gender stereotyping, with children as young as seven believing they are valued more for their appearance than for their achievements or character. It is not, I believe, a coincidence that in the same week a government-funded study has shown a quarter of girls exhibit symptoms of depression by the age of 14.

Neurobiologists now know there is no discernible difference between male and female brains at the point of birth. By the time humans reach adolescence, there will usually be significant divergence. Traditionally, psychologists have tended to assume this is because men and women are naturally and inherently different. This has led to a widespread and largely unquestioned cultural belief that, left to their own devices, girls would instinctively gravitate towards dollies, pink things, sparkles and baking, eschewing masculine activities such as sport and science.

What this assumption fails to take into account is the phenomenon of neuroplasticity, combined with gender bias. Brain development is determined by what we do, and therefore if, unconsciously, adults steer children towards certain activities based on their gender, they influence how their minds grow on a physiological level. Thus gender bias becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Im not for one second suggesting that, if all things were equal, there isnt a chance there would be a natural discrepancy in the interests and activities that people of different genders are drawn to. But things are not equal, so we cant know definitively either way. Furthermore, constraining stereotypes have a negative impact on girls mental health, convincing them first that an ever more demanding paradigm of physical perfection must be met with apparent effortlessness and then that being popular meek yet sociable sexy but not slutty, sporty in a narrow, feminine parameter (not too muscular) are imperatives. This, combined with the ever-spiralling academic pressure experienced by all young people, understandably causes high levels of anxiety, which, when sustained over time, can lead to feelings of depression.

Never is this more pronounced than when one observes the difference in culture between co-ed and single-sex schools. As someone who visits more than 150 schools throughout the UK annually, Ive noticed that girls in a single-sex environment tend to be more confident, more willing to share their opinions and more likely to develop a passion for Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). I put this down in no small measure to the fact that, in a single-sex school, there can be no such thing as girl and boy subjects. It gives us a glimpse into what society might be like if we levelled the playing field.

In the words of Jean Kilbourne, global expert on the relationship between media narratives and gender inequality, the first step is to become aware. I endeavour not to use gendered terms such as girls, boys or ladies when delivering classes in schools, not only because they fail to acknowledge the potential presence of transgender people, but because I dont believe its helpful for humans to be constantly reminded of their gender (and all the social expectations attached).

I also challenge parents and teachers to spend a week engaging in a compliments swap challenge. This involves replacing praise focused on appearance with praise relating to character. For example, instead of commenting on a persons shoes or hair, the emphasis is moved to remarking on astute observations, acts of bravery or kindness. Even the most enlightened people are usually surprised when they begin noticing how often they unconsciously reinforce the notion that a womans worth is nothing more than the sum of her parts. This is something that can be replicated on social media.

Education policymakers need also to acknowledge that, rather than spending every waking moment engaged in parrot-style, exam-centric, fact-based learning, children need the time and space to develop critical thinking skills. Teachers can only give young people the tools they need to question aggressive self-esteem- and mental-health-destroying cultural narratives if there is sufficient space within the school week to encourage discussion and debate.

The mainstream media can assist in this endeavour. After all, while a girl growing up in 2017 may have imbibed the message that it is possible for her to become prime minister, she will also have learned that what will matter most is how her legs look in a pencil skirt.

Natasha Devon is an author and campaigner who works in schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK. She was previously the governments mental health champion for schools

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/22/girls-looks-teach-children-appearance-stereotypes

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Edith Windsor, plaintiff in landmark gay marriage case, dies at 88

Edith Windsor, a widow who brought a Supreme Court case that that struck down parts of a federal law that banned same-sex marriage and led to federal recognition for gay spouses, died Tuesday. She was 88.

Windsor died in New York, said her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan. The cause of death wasn’t given, but Windsor had struggled with heart issues for years. In 2009, she had an attack of stress cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome, that was so bad that her heart stopped.

“The world lost a tiny but tough-as-nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality,” said her current spouse, Judith Kasen-Windsor.

Windsor’s first spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. The women had married legally in Canada in 2007 after spending more than 40 years together.

Windsor sued the federal government after Spyer’s death, saying its definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman prevented her from getting a marital deduction on Spyer’s estate. That meant she faced a huge tax bill that heterosexual couples would not have.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June 2013 that the provision in the law was unconstitutional, and that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive. The opinion became the basis for the wave of federal court rulings that struck down state marriage bans and led to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry.

“She will go down in the history books as a true American hero,” Kaplan said. Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, called Windsor “one of this country’s great civil rights pioneers.”

“One simply cannot write the history of the gay rights movement without reserving immense credit and gratitude for Edie Windsor,” Romero said.

At the time, Windsor said she was “honored,” “humbled” and “overjoyed” when the decision came down.

Windsor was born in Philadelphia and moved to Manhattan in the early 1950s after a brief marriage to a man that ended after she told him she was gay.

She received a master’s degree in mathematics from New York University in 1957 and went to work for IBM in senior technical and management positions.

Spyer came into her life in 1963, and they became a couple two years later.

In court documents, Windsor said she told Spyer, “`If it still feels this goofy joyous, I’d like us to spend the rest of our lives together.’ And we did.”‘

Concerned that an engagement ring would bring unwanted attention to her sexual orientation from colleagues at IBM, Spyer gave Windsor a diamond brooch.

“Our choice not to wear traditional engagement rings was just one of many ways in which Thea and I had to mold our lives to make our relationship invisible,” Windsor said in court documents.

“We both faced pressures not only in the workplace and in society at large, but also from family and friends,” she added. “Like countless other same-sex couples, we engaged in a constant struggle to balance our love for one another and our desire to live openly and with dignity, on the one hand, with our fear of disapproval and discrimination from others on the other.”

Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1977, and her physical condition deteriorated over the decades. The women married in Canada when they realized they might not be living when New York state legalized same-sex marriage, which it did in 2011.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/12/edith-windsor-plaintiff-in-landmark-gay-marriage-case-dies-at-88.html

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Breaking the code: how women in Nigeria are changing the face of tech

Female developers are emerging as influential forces in the countrys booming technology sector but the stigma persists that computing is a male industry

The Nigerian tech scene is booming. Last year, Lagos-based startup Andela received $24m (18.5m) in funding from Mark Zuckerberg. In 2015, financial technology startup Paystack one of the first Nigerian tech companies to be accepted into renowned California-based startup accelerator Y Combinator secured approximately $1.3m in seed investment from international investors.

Within this growth, women are emerging as influential forces, and changing the face of technology in Africa, especially in the fields of agricultural and financial tech. This is despite the fact that, as recently as a decade ago, women were grossly underrepresented in and excluded from the industries they are now helping to shape.

I think those who are joining the tech world today have an easier path to tread, says Nnenna Nwakanma, a Nigerian activist for accessible internet. There were situations where people would refuse to recognise my authority, but would patronise or objectify me, or refuse to fulfil contracts they had willingly entered into all because of my gender. Despite this, Nwakanma co-founded the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and is now a senior policy manager for the World Wide Web Foundation, where she supports digital equality and promotes the rights of Nigerian women online.

The negative attitude towards womens involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) is starting to change, thanks partly to initiatives such as the Stem outreach and mentoring programmes established by the Working to Advance Science and Technology Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation, which operates in 11 countries. There is also Intels programme She Will Connect Africa, which has trained more than 150,000 women in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya in digital literacy since it launched in 2013.

The demand for tech talent is now such that it cannot be met by men alone. Rapid digitalisation in Nigeria is heavily concentrated in the countrys metropolitan megacity, Lagos. Here, the startup culture flourishes, while big business have moved in: in 2015, global tech supplier Bosch opened a subsidiary in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos region, and Microsoft has an office in the affluent Lagos neighbourhood of Ikoyi.

Ire Aderinokun the author of web development blog bitsofco.de, a front-end developer and Nigerias first female Google Developer Expert says her love of tech started as a hobby. I used to play an online game called Neopets, which had some HTML capabilities. From there, I got really interested and continued to learn more. But, despite Aderinokuns enthusiasm, her interest was not always encouraged. Its definitely not what society expected of me. I studied psychology for my undergraduate and law for my masters. When I said I wanted to pursue this, there were many people who told me not to.

Rukayat Sadiq, a software engineer and a technical team leader at Andela, also faced opposition. She chose to study electrical engineering a subject in which a class of 150 students might include only 15 women to the surprise of friends and family, who had expected her to become a doctor.

While women entering and participating equally in the labour market is commonplace in Nigeria, computing and engineering are still industries dominated heavily by men. But many women who work in the tech industry are keen to offer support to those coming up. Aderinokun, for example, is funding full scholarships to five women for online programming nanodegrees. These qualifications do not guarantee employment, but they give those who have earned them a distinct advantage in the workplace and are endorsed by top employers, including Google, AT&T and Amazon. Sadiq also spends time teaching and mentoring newbies.

Removing the stigma and assumption that tech is only supposed to be for men is necessary, and I think we need to start from as early in childrens lives as possible, says Aderinokun. We should work towards eliminating negative statements and mindsets that perpetuate the myth that women cant be involved in Stem.

It is hopeful that we will one day get to a point where tech-related fields are level playing grounds for both sexes.

It is a challenge that continues around the globe, but it is one Nigeria is well equipped to handle.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/14/breaking-the-code-how-women-in-nigeria-are-changing-the-face-of-tech

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Symptoms Of Legalism: It Irritates Me When Others Get Grace

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “legalism”?

The Pharisees? Those old folks in your church who hate rock n’ roll and cards? Your weird, Fundamentalist uncle? Westboro Baptist Church?

I tend to think of legalism in pretty black and white terms: Legalism is trying to earn God’s forgiveness and acceptance through my obedience rather than through the finished work of Christ.

Bam. Problem solved, legalism identified, on to the next.

And while that may be the technical, dictionary definition, I’m beginning to learn that legalism is much slimier and more slippery. It shows up in odd places, unexpected and unwelcome. It slides into the nooks and crannies of my heart. It’s an expert con man, pretending to be my friend and convincing me to give up the free grace of God for a much heavier burden.

But legalism always carries with it certain symptoms. It’s like a disease. It may not be easily detectable, but if you know what to look for, you can usually spot it and root it out.

One of those primary symptoms? Becoming irritable and frustrated at God’s grace poured out to others.

Legalism In The Vineyard

Remember the story Jesus told of the workers in the vineyard? Some worked all day, busting their backs in the hot sun after being told they would receive a day’s wages. Others worked half a day, some worked a quarter day, and a few only worked an hour.

At the end of the day, they all received the same wages. The men who worked all day were seriously ticked off:

Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house… (Matthew 20:10-11)

The workers thought they deserved more because they worked more. It was simple mathematics and economics to them.

They were angry at the master for being gracious to those who worked for only an hour. Even though they got a completely fair wage, they were furious that those who worked less got more than a fair share.

When they saw grace, it grated against them.

Legalism At The Party

After the Prodigal Son came home, his father threw a massive party to celebrate his return. A fattened calf was slaughtered, a ring was given, and everyone danced for joy. I like to imagine some karaoke as well.

Everyone was ecstatic except the elder brother (typical first born).

He griped at his dad:

Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ (Lk 15:29–30)

The older brother was angry because the younger brother didn’t get what he deserved. He got grace. He got mercy. He got a party. He got a happy reception and a calf and a ring, even though he had wasted his entire inheritance on loose women, booze, and being the life of the party.

The older, obedient brother had never gotten a party, and that really bugged him. He had always followed his father’s commands to the letter, and yet here was his dad running to celebrate the younger brother.

Something was backward about that.

Legalism Turns Us Into Terrible Accountants

The weird thing about legalism is that it tends to make us really bad at math.

What do I mean by that?

Legalism turns us into blessing accountants. We see the blessings God has given others, and we feel that an accounting mistake has been made by God. That somehow God has forgotten to give us the wages we deserve. That our obedience has earned a specific amount from God and that God hasn’t delivered on that amount.

We weigh our obedience against our blessings and come to the conclusion that our obedience outweighs what we’ve received.

God! I’ve done the obeying, yet they’ve received the children/ministry/house/spouse/any other blessing! This is patently UNFAIR! Where is my blessing? Where is my reward?

This is the insanity of legalism. It leads me to forget absolutely everything God has done for me and given me and instead obsess over what God has given someone else.

Legalism springs out of gospel forgetfulness.

Gospel math says I deserve nothing yet have received everything.

Legalist math says I deserve everything yet have received nothing.

I can’t think of anything more insulting to God. Essentially we’re saying, “God you’ve screwed me! You haven’t given me what I deserve!”

To which God gently replies, “You’re right. I haven’t given you what you deserve. I gave my Son what you deserve and I’ve given you what he deserves.”

Being Continually Astonished

The Valley of Vision puts things in a helpful perspective:

O Lord, I am astonished at the difference
between my receivings and my deservings,
between the state I am now in and my past
gracelessness,
between the heaven I am bound for and
the hell I merit.

I fight against legalism by constantly remembering the difference between my “receivings” and my “deservings”.

When I remember the heaven I’m bound for and the hell I merit, legalism is astonished out of me.

Read more: http://faithit.com/symptoms-legalism-irritates-others-get-grace-stephen-altrogge/

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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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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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