Call for Interviewees: Women in STEMM
The mountains are still there, and still made of rocks, hoorah! But more on that later. Right now, a science and tech writer in my extended social network just landed a book deal on women’s experiences in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM). She’s looking to interview women and girls from all walks of sciencehood; if this sounds interesting to you, details are below the fold.
The book is called Where the Girls Aren’t; here’s her description of the project:
Women may not be as innately gifted in scientific and mathematical ability as men-or so Larry Summers, former president of Harvard, suggested in a 2005 speech. His comments brought the issue of women’s lack of participation in science and engineering outside academic circles and into the public eye, at least for a few months. But now that the fervor has died down, it’s time to take a step back and consider what it is actually like to be a woman in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). Where the Girls Aren’t does precisely this.
While the status of women in STEMM has improved in the past few decades, it has been a slow process with many ups and downs. Programs aimed at girls interested in science and Title IX, which prohibits discrimination in universities, have helped increase the number of STEMM degrees awarded to women. But the number of women is still shockingly low in some disciplines, such as physics and computer science, and at the highest ranks in all fields. Where the Girls Aren’t explores the many factors contributing to this, including subtle and not-so-subtle gender bias that begins in childhood and continues throughout a STEMM career; the isolation of women in fields full of men; and the challenges of balancing marriage and a family with a career in STEMM. The book also looks at what the studies of gender and intelligence really say about possible genetic influences on scientific and mathematical ability.
While the overall picture of women in STEMM may look negative, some women have overcome obstacles and thrived. Women have won Nobel Prizes, invented lifesaving drugs and other products, and helped institute policies and programs that have encouraged more women to enter STEMM. Where the Girls Aren’t describes the successes along with the challenges to give a balanced view of life in the lab. It also explores what can and should be done on individual, institutional and political levels to make STEMM careers more welcoming for women.
Written in accessible language rather than scholarly jargon, Where the Girls Aren’t will present a real picture of women in STEMM. The author will combine information gathered from research studies with actual women’s experiences. Interviewees will include both women who have become frustrated and left STEMM, as well as women who have made significant contributions to it. The author will also interview students of all ages, from elementary to graduate school, to learn what inspires and encourages them in STEMM–or why they would rather do anything else.
And about interviewing:
- female undergrads
- female graduate students
- female professors
- female doctors
- women doing STEMM research in industry, at museums, at nonprofits, and in government labs
- women who are using their STEMM background in non-research careers, such as science/technical writing, K-12 and community college teaching, scientific sales, science policy, IP law, etc
- women who started out interested in STEMM, perhaps even received a degree in it, but are now working on a degree or pursuing a career in an unrelated field
- women who started out interested in STEMM and are now in the social sciences
- women in all stages of their careers
- women who are having lots of success and women who are struggling
- women who attended small colleges, large universities, sci/tech schools, and all-female institutions
- women who live and study and work all over the country
- women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds
- women who are single, married, and divorced, with kids and without
- foreign women who have studied or worked in the United States for at least five years
I also need:
- K-12 girls who are interested in STEMM
- K-12 girls who dislike STEMM
- Parents of K-12 girls
- K-12 teachers who will allow me to observe their science/math classes
I expect interviews to run 1-2 hours, depending on age and life experience. They will be tape recorded so that I can quote with accuracy. In the book I’ll refer to people by first names only and change identifying details if requested. Interviews with out-of-towners will mostly take place via phone because Seal is a small press and my advance is tiny. I’m hoping to catch some out-of-town interviewees when they’re in the [San Francisco] Bay Area for conferences (e.g., Moscone Center is hosting the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Microbiology, and the American Geophysical Union in the next few months). Trips to Baltimore/DC, Phoenix/Tucson, LA, Boston and Seattle might happen. And if you know anyone in NYC who wants to be interviewed July 22/23, or anyone in Chicago available July 24/25 or 29, I’ll be in those cities on those dates.
Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your colleagues. Anyone who’s interested in being interviewed can email me at linleywriter at mac dot com or call me at [phone number omitted for now, if you want it, let me know –yami] for more information or to set up a time. Or you can give me their contact information, and I’ll get in touch.
I’d be happy to pass on contact information for anyone interested. And all you bloggers, spread the word!