Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Imposter WISE women (Part 1 of 2)

“It seems that you have the imposter syndrome” told me a good friend of mine when I was talking about my new job, which I didn’t think I would get. I had never heard about it before, and it was until Grace Hopper 2008 that I heard about it again.

I was very surprised to see the room full, even with people standing for the Imposter Panel. My initial thought was: Do all of these women share my feelings? And it was confirmed when the moderator started the panel with the question: “Who has felt as an impostor in her life?” And everyone raised their hands. I was even more surprised to hear that these feelings were very common in WISE women.

The panellist were successful, recognized women in industry and academia. One by one, the panellists completed the sentence: “I feel an imposter when...”

These are some of their answers:

  • I am in new situations (new school, new job, etc.).
  • I don’t understand what people are talking about.
  • I get asked to do things I don’t feel qualified for.
  • I do something that successful people do.
  • I do something that women don’t often do.

One of the panellists shared that she used to feel an impostor attending a math conference (1975), giving a talk (1980) or meeting Nobel laureates (2000) but she does not feel like that anymore in those circumstances. However, has attended lots of conferences and given many talks without that feeling. However, she still feels and impostor meeting philanthropists and asking for large amounts of funding for her University.

If you have ever felt as an imposter, you know by now that you’re not the only one. Is there a “cure” for this syndrome? In the next post I will tell you what the panellists have done to deal with it.

Keep tuned and share your “imposter” stories!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why write about portrayals of women?

My friend Katie writes frequently about how women are represented in media, books, games, and recently she took some time to write a little bit about why she feels it's worth talking about portrayals of women:

This affects more than just me. If I’m the only one complaining, I’m the crazy feminist. If other people are noticing and pointing it out too, then they stop to think about it.

If you've ever wondered why we write what we do for this blog, you might want to go take a look at her post and see how her words can also be applied to the material we write here about women in science and engineering. And while you're there, check out the rest of her blog for all sorts of interesting book reviews, thoughts on gaming, and lots of other insightful stuff. I know many of you involved with WISE will find it fascinating!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yet Another Inappropriate Conference Talk

Remember that Rails CouchDB debacle a couple of months back? Wouldn't you believe it, but yet another clueless presenter has gone and upped the ante at Flashbelt.

Read about it here, and see my reaction here.

Feel free to light up the blogosphere on this one. If a big stink is made every time someone tries to get away with this, they'll eventually learn. I hope.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Women Faring Well in Hiring and Tenure Processes

From the Butler University Computer Science and Software Engineering "women-in-it announcement" list server.

Women Faring Well in Hiring and Tenure Processes for Science and Engineering Jobs at Research Universities, But Still Underrepresented in Applicant Pools

National Academy of Sciences (06/02/09) Frueh, Sara; Yeibio, Luwam

Women are still underrepresented in the applicant pool for faculty positions in math, science, and engineering at major research institutions, but those who do apply are interviewed and hired at rates equal to or higher than those for men, concludes a new National Research Council report. The study also found that although women are underrepresented among those considered for tenure, those who are considered get tenure at the same or higher rates than men. Females who applied for tenure-track positions in each of six disciplines--biology, chemistry, mathematics, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and physics--had better odds of being interviewed and receiving job offers than males. But the report sees a gap between the rate of women applying for tenure-track jobs at research-intensive universities and the rate of women earning Ph.D.s, and this gap is widest in disciplines with larger portions of women receiving Ph.D.s. "Our data suggest that, on average, institutions have become more effective in using the means under their direct control to promote faculty diversity, including hiring and promoting women and providing resources," notes Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Claude Canizares. "Nevertheless, we also find evidence for stubborn and persistent underrepresentation of women at all faculty ranks." Further research on unresolved issues, such as why more women are not applying for tenure-track positions, why female faculty continue to experience a sense of isolation, and how nonacademic issues impact women's and men's career choices at critical points, has been urged by the study committee. "Overall the newly released data indicate important progress, and signal to both young men and especially to young women that what had been the status quo at research-intensive universities is changing," says Yale University School of Medicine professor and committee co-chair Sally Shaywitz.