Sexism in STEM

 

red code for a computer that says end patriarchy.
A sign written in code.

By Kali Nelson

I am learning. I am not an expert in where and how sexism exists. And I am trying to understand one of the fields that I study. While I focus on a gender binary, that does not mean that non-binary and trans men and women do not face discrimination, that means that there may not be information, or that I was unable to find it. Please note that this only covers sexism, women of color do face racism on top of sexism. This is not something that I do not had to experience.

Sexism is a problem that almost every woman has or will face in her life. She can face it at school, at work, and in everyday life. It may not be as prevalent as it was in the past, but it is still there. I was part of a discussion about sexism in STEM fields a week or so ago in which everyone who had a story to tell about sexism, could or if they had a problem, they could share to see if anyone had a solution. This discussion opened my eyes because even though I know it’s real, it doesn’t quite hit me that it really happens. My brain knows but my body doesn’t, does that make sense? Continue reading “Sexism in STEM”

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We need to talk about Earth

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By Kali Nelson

Let’s take a moment to think about all the problems the US is facing today. We have wildfires consuming the Pacific Northwest, Montana, and California. Hurricane Harvey is flooding Texas and Hurricane Irma nearing Florida. The whole country either needs water or it has too much, and that’s only in the US. Here in Moscow, where I live, there’s so much smoke in the air that we are now at a hazardous air quality. The world has become a gray haze outside my windows. I can’t enjoy the breeze at night or else I risk waking up in a cloud of smoke and hurting my cat’s lungs.

I can’t help but wonder if  we need to take a step back and think about the impact we have on our planet. Maybe we need to have a serious and grown up conversation about climate change. Continue reading “We need to talk about Earth”

Conservation and Feminism: Not Mutually Exclusive?

A photo of the Earth from space, a large blue marble on a black background
                      A picture of the Earth from Apollo 17

By Kali Nelson

Last semester I wrote a post about Ecofeminism. It was tied to the idea that women and nature are linked and that for women to be free, nature must also be free. Today I wantto go more in depth with that idea.

Where did Ecofeminism come from?

Ecofeminism came into its modern state in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in an academic setting. Ecofeminism could be found mostly in the academic world for most of the seventies and then in the eighties, ecofeminism became for prevalent outside of the academic world. It is very popular in India, where the Chipko movement exists, this movement was for the protection of forests against deforestation. The term was coined in 1974 by French feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne and combines the ideas of gender equality, of nonpatriarchal and nonlinear structures, and of the world that respects organic processes.

The main book that I used as a base for much of my last post was called Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism which is a collection of essays edited by Judith Plant. It was published in 1989. There are more recently published books on this subject, the most recent one I can find being published in 2014. Although I am very certain that there are more recent books.

Continue reading “Conservation and Feminism: Not Mutually Exclusive?”

A Day In The Life Of A Married College Girl

By: Madelyn Starritt

I am a busy girl, I go to school full time, have a job and a husband. I have a routine, a set schedule for what I do most days of the week but it is almost always go, go, go, rush on to the next thing I have to do and then go home and take a nap. I never actually take a minute and think about the things I get to experience in a day or how it makes me feel, so welcome to my journey! I have decided to document a day in my week to actually think about the things I do and feel and I’m bringing you all with me. Welcome to my Thursday complete with pictures and descriptions.

Continue reading “A Day In The Life Of A Married College Girl”

Girlfriends

By Kali Nelson

A woman with a big piece of cardboard.
My friend with a piece of cardboard.

As my time here on the blog dwindles down, I would like to write once again about a topic near and dear to my heart. Girl friendships. This post may sound a lot like a post I wrote earlier about Galantine’s day. But it is not, this time I want to focus on how sometimes the media does not know how to get a girl friendship right.

Three friends standing on a dock looking at the camera. There is a lake behind them.
My friends Brooke and Sierra and I.

The friendship between women is something else. I cannot quite encapsulate the feelings that I have for my friends, or how they have helped me in more ways than I can even count. But my girlfriends are my rocks, they are my best friends, I cannot think of life without them.  While there can be bad friendships that cause more harm than good, there are also friendships that enrich lives and make life so much better.

Continue reading “Girlfriends”

Walking the Line: Religion and Feminism

           By Kali Nelson

Religious themed necklaces sitting on a white background.
Some of the religious necklaces I have received.

Easter has almost come and gone and I am once again reminded that I walk a thin line between my religion and my feminism. For the last month, I have been doing a lot more thinking about how sometimes my religion and my feminist beliefs conflict. I find it hard to believe that my God loves me but also doesn’t believe that I am a second-class citizen.  Feminism and Religion have long been on separate paths but it time to see that the two can and should work together.

I would like to note that I don’t have many experiences with other religions besides the one I was raised in, which is Catholicism. I will try my best to bring in other religions and if I get something wrong please let me know.

Continue reading “Walking the Line: Religion and Feminism”

Sexism in the Academic World

By Kali Nelson

 I have always been told that I would one day go on to school after high school whether it be trade school, community college, or a 4-year school, it was always in my sight. I know my parents are setting me up to succeed, but college alone will not help me. I need to put in 110% to whatever it is I plan to do because if not I may be stuck somewhere I don’t want to be. My parents expect all three of their kids to get to college. Maybe they know, maybe they don’t, but the academic world is sexist.

 Throughout this post I will talk a lot about how women face sexism but this does apply to all minorities in the academic life. The main reason for this is because there haven’t been many studies done to see this aspect.

 Higher education has this illusion of being a white boys club. But women have been flooding the ranks of academic life for years now. In 2015, Time magazine reported that 37.5% of women between the ages of 25 to 34 had a bachelor’s degree, while only 29.5% of men did.  Despite these great numbers, women still face sexism in higher education. Let’s look at how many men compared to women get tenure in 2012. According to the American Association of University Professors, 62% were male and 44% of women. This is only startling if you look at what many universities base tenure on: reviews and publications. Reviews are left by students, mostly as the semester has ended, but can also be left on other websites like “Rate Your Professor”. These reviews usually are harsher on the women professors than they are on men. While this is not the students complete fault it has to do with society.

 Women in academia also have to handle the citation gap. This means that articles written by women received fewer citations then articles written by men. While the article I linked to says that the gap may be small it is detrimental to women because if their article is not cited, the women who wrote it cannot get credit for what they have contributed. Another thing that affects women negatively is the baby penalty. The women who want to get to the top of academic life usually must choose between having a family or having a high position. Women who want a family usually become a second tier faculty member. They fill part time positions or adjunct faculty spots. This hurts women but not men, men having a family actually helps their career.

 Women also have the problem of fighting the idea that sexism is dead in academia. It isn’t, women feel they have to work twice as hard to get the same position. While academia is lightening its attitude towards women it is still a hostile environment or them, some women may some of the only ones in their field. This causes a problem because how can women have equality if there are only a few in a huge field then how do they rise up to be equals.

 There is also the imposter syndrome. This is the feeling that no matter how qualified you are at what you’re doing, your colleges will find out that you shouldn’t be there. I suffer from this a lot. I recently got a job this summer and when I got to the meeting and I met everyone else, I felt that there had been a mistake. I couldn’t be qualified for this, I had so little experience, I felt that I had taken someone way more qualified for the job. This also happened when I got the ok for this position on this blog.  I thought that there were so many more qualified people to do this job, who was I a fairly well off, white girl to tell people what I thought about feminism. I know in my head that I am qualified to talk about feminism because I am a woman. Feminism is not just for one group but I still doubted myself about if I could do it. This is the impostor syndrome, now no matter how qualified I am for a position I still doubt. I had so little confidence in myself, I still think that sometimes I must work twice as hard to even compare with my male counterparts. This problem is not just me, it applies to every woman. This is not helpful to women, trust me, it has led to worry and stress and no sleep because anything less than perfect in anything I do is seen as a failure. People think I act like I’m smart because I like to, no I do it because I’m afraid that people will realize I shouldn’t be here. It’s terrifying. It has taken me a semester to get over the feeling that has plagued me for over a year, and I’m still not even close to over it. Every time I apply for something I trick myself to believe that I am not qualified for it, even if I am more than qualified.

 This is not something to be proud of, I work myself to the bone so that I may feel that I am adequate enough for a job. Women do not need all this extra pressure. We have so many other pressures to escape. I cannot speak for my counterparts but I continued on with school to escape this hell. I came to college to get away from the fear that the world put in me and I have found all new problems to face and one of them is sexism in college.