Looking at the numbers can be really discouraging as a woman in STEM. It often seems like the cards are stacked against us and I must be very crazy to think that I am the exception to all of it. That is probably another discussion for another time. This post for The Lab and Field got me thinking about my own work and how I can help change those statistics myself, more then just being a female in STEM. That post references an article in nature that encourages us each to calculate our own gender gap. Or the ratio of Females to Males in our own work. It’s easy to talk about these gaps as national wide, or international problems and brush them off, but when you look at your own numbers, it’s pretty sobering.

I originally looked at these numbers two days ago and then sat down tonight to write this and double checked them and reached back a bit farther into my undergrad. So if you follow me on twitter, these numbers are a little different then what I tweeted before.

Supervisors/Committee Members (undergrad to now)

3 F : 8 M (0.375)

Co-Authors (My 1 pub and assorted posters)

2 F : 6 M (0.33)

Technicians (My legacy)

1 F : 4 M (0.25)

Now granted I haven’t published much, but as I look ahead at what I hope to publish as a part of my PhD, how many female coauthors do I forsee? Well I’ve got a female PI on my grant right now, and two other female collaborators. So that is good, but there are a lot more male collaborators on our various side projects.

I find these numbers really sobering, especially my own technician legacy. Last year I had very few qualified females apply to be my tech. Maybe I need to find a better way to advertise and find the girls who have the skills I need (ATV driving, extensive field experience, bird ID). I’m not sure, but I know that the female supervisors I’ve had, and the female scientists I’ve gotten to know outside of work have greatly inspried me, just like some of the men have, and I want to help change the tide and close the gender gap.

Food for thought for sure, I’m open to any suggestions on ways to recruit more women into my technician ranks. And as always I’m looking for collaborators who love rails and wetlands!

Written on December 14, 2013