Tag Archives: science

Re-post: Transgender experiences of gender bias

The following is an excerpt from Jessica Nordell’s article “Why Aren’t Women Advancing at Work?: Ask a Transgender Person.”

Ben Barres is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Barbara Barres until he was in his forties. For most of his career, he experienced bias, but didn’t give much weight to itseeing incidents as discrete events. (When he solved a tough math problem, for example, a professor said, “You must have had your boyfriend solve it.”) When he became Ben, however, he immediately noticed a difference in his everyday experience: “People who don’t know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect,” he says. He was more carefully listened to and his authority less frequently questioned. He stopped being interrupted in meetings. At one conference, another scientist said, “Ben gave a great seminar todaybut then his work is so much better than his sister’s.” (The scientist didn’t know Ben and Barbara were the same person.) “This is why women are not breaking into academic jobs at any appreciable rate,” he wrote in response to Larry Summers’s famous gaffe implying women were less innately capable at the hard sciences. “Not childcare. Not family responsibilities,” he says. “I have had the thought a million times: I am taken more seriously.”

Read the whole article.



Making science less wrong

The National Institutes of Health have recently come out with a statement saying that too many scientific articles relate experiments that are not reproducible. As Forbes puts it, the NIH is now seeking to “make scientific studies less wrong.”

To do this, the NIH is focusing on beefing up the requirements for research design, reviewing/enforcing solid design, paying attention to the history of a project, and emphasizing being able to replicate results. None of these tasks sound ground-breaking to me, but re-focusing is often a smart move. I rather like the NIH’s apparent dedication to community responsibility here, and I hope that some of this attention to research design and history might consider perspectives/designs/ideas that traditional scientific approaches tend to ignore. (Ever read about how patents get granted and to whom? Lots of good stuff there.) Read the whole Nature article here: http://www.nature.com/news/policy-nih-plans-to-enhance-reproducibility-1.14586