A post I co-authored with Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe and Professor Rajini Rao has just been published on the science website, Nature.com. We address the false idea that girls are fundamentally inferior to boys at science due to our biological capabilities. We examine how gender stereotypes negatively impact women’s careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Gender stereotypes are perpetuated through the stories we tell children as soon as they’re born. We show how children in Prep and Grade 1 tend to draw scientists in gender-neutral ways, but by Grade 2 onwards, they start drawing White men in lab coats. By Grade 5 the stereotype that only White men are scientists has taken hold. The stereotype is both gendered and racial, as research shows that even minorities tend to draw White men, thus affecting diversity in science on multiple levels.
This stereotype is used in other ways by teachers, parents, the media and by other figures of authority to force girls to consider that maybe they’re not fit to do science. This is known as the “leaky pipeline,” with studies showing how girls and women leave STEM at various stages of their education and careers due to the cultural pressures and institutional obstacles they face.
It is imperative that those of us committed to equality and diversity collaborate with scientists from other fields in order to make progress. We can’t take for granted that our colleagues will eventually come to see the damage done by biological arguments. We can’t simply leave girls to navigate gender stereotypes on their own. We can’t rely on women being “more confident” and assertive when faced with discrimination, as research shows these individual approaches don’t work.
Read our article including the empirical evidence on the Nature website: http://blogs.nature.com/soapboxscience/2014/09/04/nature-vs-nurture-girls-and-stem High-res

A post I co-authored with Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe and Professor Rajini Rao has just been published on the science website, Nature.com. We address the false idea that girls are fundamentally inferior to boys at science due to our biological capabilities. We examine how gender stereotypes negatively impact women’s careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Gender stereotypes are perpetuated through the stories we tell children as soon as they’re born. We show how children in Prep and Grade 1 tend to draw scientists in gender-neutral ways, but by Grade 2 onwards, they start drawing White men in lab coats. By Grade 5 the stereotype that only White men are scientists has taken hold. The stereotype is both gendered and racial, as research shows that even minorities tend to draw White men, thus affecting diversity in science on multiple levels.

This stereotype is used in other ways by teachers, parents, the media and by other figures of authority to force girls to consider that maybe they’re not fit to do science. This is known as the “leaky pipeline,” with studies showing how girls and women leave STEM at various stages of their education and careers due to the cultural pressures and institutional obstacles they face.

It is imperative that those of us committed to equality and diversity collaborate with scientists from other fields in order to make progress. We can’t take for granted that our colleagues will eventually come to see the damage done by biological arguments. We can’t simply leave girls to navigate gender stereotypes on their own. We can’t rely on women being “more confident” and assertive when faced with discrimination, as research shows these individual approaches don’t work.

Read our article including the empirical evidence on the Nature website: http://blogs.nature.com/soapboxscience/2014/09/04/nature-vs-nurture-girls-and-stem

I’ll be co-hosting this STEM Women event with Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe where we’ll speak to Annika O’Brien on her career as a roboticist. Annika is an engineer who works on robotics and also a passionate STEM educator, teaching kids how to program and build robots through STEAMtrax. She will talk to us about her exciting career path as a woman in STEM, what inspires her, and why supporting women in STEM is important. 
Join us live on Sunday 13th April at 4.30 PM Central/ Monday 14th of April 7.30AM AUS. The interview will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel after the event. High-res

I’ll be co-hosting this STEM Women event with Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe where we’ll speak to Annika O’Brien on her career as a roboticist. Annika is an engineer who works on robotics and also a passionate STEM educator, teaching kids how to program and build robots through STEAMtrax. She will talk to us about her exciting career path as a woman in STEM, what inspires her, and why supporting women in STEM is important. 

Join us live on Sunday 13th April at 4.30 PM Central/ Monday 14th of April 7.30AM AUS. The interview will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel after the event.

I’ll be co-hosting #ScienceChat on Twitter on the 9th of April, 2pm PDT USA/ Thursday 10th April, 7am Aussie time. Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe and I will be tweeting from our account @STEMWomen and our amazing colleague Profesor Rajini Rao will be one of our distinguished guests. We’ll discuss how we can improve women’s participation in Science Technology Engineering & Math. We’ll also talk about how we can address intersections of discrimination in STEM. 
The discussion includes 10 scientists from various fields, including sociologist Jessie Daniels, science presenter Julia Wilde (thatssoscience) Modzilla Science Lab Director Kaitlin Thaney, academic blogger Dr Isis, amongst other guests.
Join us using #sciencechat High-res

I’ll be co-hosting #ScienceChat on Twitter on the 9th of April, 2pm PDT USA/ Thursday 10th April, 7am Aussie time. Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe and I will be tweeting from our account @STEMWomen and our amazing colleague Profesor Rajini Rao will be one of our distinguished guests. We’ll discuss how we can improve women’s participation in Science Technology Engineering & Math. We’ll also talk about how we can address intersections of discrimination in STEM. 

The discussion includes 10 scientists from various fields, including sociologist Jessie Daniels, science presenter Julia Wilde (thatssoscience) Modzilla Science Lab Director Kaitlin Thaney, academic blogger Dr Isis, amongst other guests.

Join us using #sciencechat

Over Half of Native Trans People Have Attempted Suicide

technoccult:

Klint Finley

Depressing: The Advocate reports on a survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality. Among the findings: “Fifty-six percent (56%) of American Indian and Alaskan Native transgender respondents reported having attempted suicide compared to 41% of all study respondents.”

Full Story: The Advocate: Over Half of Native Trans People Have Attempted Suicide

(via socialworky-deactivated20131001)

This post first appeared in my blog, “The Other Sociologist.” 
 
imageOne of the most frustrating and circular arguments in the history of modern families rears its ugly head yet again in Australia.The Australian Senate has received a submission by 150 medical professionals. These medical doctors have misused scientific studies to argue that children raised in same-sex families are worse-off than kids who are raised by heterosexual parents. This argument has been refuted by robust empirical studies within sociology and other social sciences for the past couple of decades.

The Australian Psychological Association has refuted the claims made in the Senate submission, arguing that the most comprehensive, longitudinal data show that children raised in same-sex families are not disadvantaged due to their parents’ sexual orientation. In some cases, the data show the opposite - and it all goes back to the economic and social resources available to parents. This includes emotional support from supportive networks. The biggest disadvantage to children raised in lesbian, gay, transsexual, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) families relates to how societies or communities fail to accept and integrate the diverse reality of modern families.

Much the same as the tired old argument on kids raised in single-parent families, it is not the type of family that children belong to that affects their life chances, but rather the socio-economic conditions and stigma to which families and children are exposed. Another important distinction on the outcomes of children is how parents interact with one another and with their children.

imageAmerican sociologist Judith Stacy, has devoted a large part of her career on the topic of LGBTQI families. Her research in the past decade suggests that children raised by same-gender parents sometimes exhibit different behavioural attributes than children in heterosexual households. This again is not specifically due to the parents’ sexuality. Instead it is more due to whether or not parents adhere to traditional gender roles. Stacy notes:

A difference is not necessarily a deficit.

Children raised in LGBTQI households are less likely to stick to traditional gender scripts, with daughters more likely to express a desire to enter professional fields traditionally dominated by men, such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and astronauts. Sons are less likely to be aggressive. While heterosexual parents are more likely to reinforce stereotypical feminine and masculine activities for their children, gay and lesbian parents are more likely to allow their children to play in gender-neutral ways. Stacy’s colleague Timothy Biblarz notes: ‘Lesbian and gay parent families offer a unique opportunity to examine ways in which gender differences affect parenting practices and outcomes’. Despite some differences in their gendered behaviour, experiences of psychological and social distress are similar amongst kids who come from queer families and kids raised in two-parent heterosexual households. Biblarz observes:

While all children probably get teased for one thing or another, children with gay parents may experience a higher degree of teasing and ridicule. It is impressive then that their psychological well-being and social adjustment does not significantly differ, on average, from that of children in comparable heterosexual-parent families. Exploring how lesbian and gay parent families help children cope with stigma could prove helpful to all kinds of families.

Today’s story about the Australian Senate submission represents a nasty example of scientists misusing their social authority. Medical professionals have misrepresented data to suit their narrow conception of what constitutes a “good” family environment. Misquoting statistics to incite a moral panic is nothing new. This tactic has been used over and over, but there is simply no empirical scientific evidence to back up this tired, antiquated view of families. This argument that LGBTQI families were somehow morally corrupt was around when I first studied sociology in the early 1990s, but it seemed almost passé when I was teaching the sociology of the family a decade later.

Scaremongering must be cyclical, particularly as “gay marriage” is an on-again-off-again political topic in Australia and elsewhere. The evidence is overwhelming - there are no social disadvantages to children of LGBTQI families, except those societies create for them.

Images credit: Top image by Drab Makyo. Via Flickr. Second image via USC.

 

undercoverterrorist:

osobigbear:

http://unfaircampaign.org

Is white skin really fair skin?
Something as basic as the color of our skin has shaped our lives, opened doors, put us at the head of the line.
Granted us privileges we don’t even realize.
We don’t experience the daily disadvantages - the looks, the fear, the hassles - that thrive in the unspoken world of white entitlement.
And that’s unfair.

undercoverterrorist:

osobigbear:

http://unfaircampaign.org

Is white skin really fair skin?

Something as basic as the color of our skin has shaped our lives, opened doors, put us at the head of the line.

Granted us privileges we don’t even realize.

We don’t experience the daily disadvantages - the looks, the fear, the hassles - that thrive in the unspoken world of white entitlement.

And that’s unfair.

(via sociolab)

We’re not really equal when we’re STILL supposed to uncritically and obediently cheer when white women are praised for winning “women’s rights,” and to painfully forget the Indigenous women and women of colour who were hurt in that same process. We are not equal when in the name of “feminism”, so-called “women’s only” spaces are created and get to police and regulate who is and isn’t a “woman” based on their interpretation of your body parts and gender presentation, not your own. We are not equal when initiatives to achieve gender equity have reverted yet again to “saving” people and making decisions for them, rather than supporting their right to self-determination, whether it’s engaging in sex work, or wearing a niqab. So when feminism itself has become its own form of oppression, what do we have to say about it? Western notions of polite discourse are not the norm for all of us, and just because we’ve got some new and hot language like “intersectionality” to use in our talk, it doesn’t necessarily make things change in our walk (i.e., actually being anti-racist). And I have to say that these uncomfortable processes have been worth the many paths that brought the different contributors of the book together to tell their sometimes uncomfortable truths — not just about feminism, but about themselves and where they are coming from.


But now I’m going to take a stand and say that I’m constantly questioning what feminism even is, and I’m increasingly disturbed every day by the gate-keeping of who and what gets to decide the answer to that question.

Jessica Yee - Feminism For Real. (via mehreenkasana)

Another video on LGBT rights, from Argentina. On a positive note on the transformative power of social activism, this video was posted by Blabbeando, who writes:

A year ago, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to grant same-sex couples full marriage rights. Before this year is over, the Argentinean congress might very well pass a groundbreaking transgender-rights law extending health care protections to transgender individuals and making it easier for trans folk to change their ID’s to better reflect their gender identity without requiring proof of gender reassignment surgery.

Getting to this point has certainly taken years of work by Argentinean LGBT organizations, activists, advocates and allies.  It has also inspired some pretty amazing television and online video ads.

Stay inspired sociologists! To view the other ads, click here.

(Thanks again Google+ friend!)

'It's Time': a Get Up campaign video from Australia on the need to legalise marriage for LGBT couples. This video is beautifully shot and, like my previous post, the clip celebrates love and commitment.

It is most certainly time to give all people access to equal rights - regardless of their sexuality, so please share this with friends and loved ones.

Music by Oliver Tank - Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion.

(Thanks to my new Google+ Friend for sharing this!)