Presentations and other resources addressing gender equity

Spring 2016 HRA Members’ Meeting
Co-Hosted by
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, New York Stem Cell Foundation
Meeting Agenda

One session at the members meeting in NYC focused on approaches to achieve gender equity in STEM faculty; highlighting successes, hurdles, and opportunities for collaborations. Slides from our presenters can be found by clicking on the presenter names.

Stephanie Abbuhl, Professor at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Executive Director at FOCUS.   Dr. Abbuhl walked us through:

  • disturbing data that showed “it’s not a waiting problem it’s an advancement problem”
  • described the 5 Main Causal Factors (that put women at a disadvantage)
  • presented many actionable steps funders can take to ensure gender equity. These included having reviewers take unconscious bias training, asking institutions for proof of fair salary, requiring mentorship plans, and many others.

Dr. Abbuhl’s recommendations and other resources can be found here.

Moses Chao, Professor at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine in New York, noted that isolation and intimidation block the academic career path for women and suggested and highlighted the importance of documenting female representation at each institutional level and requiring grant-giving organizations to base funding opportunities upon gender equality.

Eric Nestler, Professor and Chair for Neuroscience at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, suggested tangible steps that include increasing the transparency of resources, salaries, promotions, etc., and actively focusing on diversity and inclusion for every symposium, panel, dinner guest list, speaker itinerary, awards & honors, etc.

Suggestions for action:
Incorporate “Affirmative Attention.”  Be intentional about inclusion/diversity for every symposium, panel, dinner guest, Etc.  If we don’t, inherent bias in all of us will prevent diversity.
Alter peer review system – require a report card (see NYSCF presentation below).  Be transparent and think about blinded review.  Blinded review is the standard in other fields but not standard in biological sciences.

HRA Member presentations

  • Louise Perkins, Chief Science Officer at the Melanoma Research Alliance, reported on a collaboration with L’Oréal Paris to offer a Team Science Award for a woman-led team with the goal of attracting and supporting women who are conducting field-leading melanoma research.
  • Susan Solomon, Chief Executive Officer at the New York Stem Cell Foundation, presented NYSCF’s effort to support the IWISE working group who developed Seven Actionable Strategies for advancing women in science, engineering, and medicine.

Other HRA-member efforts include:

AAAS Annual Meeting 2018

  • AAAS had many special sessions on diversity and the importance of inclusion at their annual meeting highlighting the importance of increasing the representation, acceptance, and equality of all people in science. Scientific sessions ranged from communication barriers to sexual harassment topics. With a focus on communication barriers, participants discussed common communication issues, their prevalence, overtness, and impacts, through interactive exercises and facilitated breakout sessions. A special workshop for women focused on overcoming imposter syndrome, which included real-life examples and exercises to increase confidence and clarity when speaking.

More Resources:
And of course, don’t forget to check out SLACK for more information.  In the workforce channel DDCF and MRA noted they both have looked at success of grant applicants by gender and are trying to make changes to decrease the role of unconscious bias in their grant review. There is also a conversation about maternity leave policy, a post about NSF’s new requirement to report sexual harassment, and an article about Max Plank’s and the Austrian government’s move to correct gender disparities in academic science.

February 8, 2018 blog post by our friends at Grants Solutions:


What has YOUR organization done to address gender inequity and increase diversity?  Was it successful?  How can HRA increase the rate of change?