Be Aware of Implicit Bias: Take the Harvard Implicit Bias test to be aware of how subconscious bias can affect judgment.
How you can make your lab more female friendly:
- Make sure the surrounding environment is respectful of women. For example, pin-ups and misogynistic cartoons are unprofessional and should not be present in the lab.
- The university has several policies regarding parental and family leave for graduate students, post-docs, faculty, and staff. The University affords these benefits for the well being of the members of our community, and no penalty should be given to those who invoke them.
- Interactions among faculty, students and other colleagues in social events are invaluable opportunities for informal mentoring. Professional behavior extends to social settings. Be respectful of your female colleagues even if you are not at work or if you've had a few drinks, and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Watch for inappropriate language and possibly intrusive physical contact or behavior in all settings and inform colleagues when they are being disrespectful.
- Become aware of implicit bias and its role in influencing the evaluation of female or minority scientists. This study by Yale (2012) shows that individuals who claim to be objective and fair are more likely to unintentionally discriminate because of these culturally pervasive biases, but that individuals who are aware of their implicit biases can mitigate these effects somewhat. If you are the manager of your lab, make your employees and students aware of implicit bias.
- This AAUW report on women in science states that women are generally seen as likeable or competent but not both. Because competence and perceived likeability are both important for success in the workplace, make sure that the women in your lab are not met with unreasonable expectations of warmth and friendliness, and that they are not disproportionately relegated to care-giving roles (such as arranging social events, obtaining food for group lunches, etc.).
Volunteering or Suggestions
To volunteer for the Women in Physics group or if you have suggestions for the group, please contact Emily Shields (firstname.lastname@example.org).