Helping Women Achieve in Academic Science

Award Season!

Yellow Ribbon Award isolated on white backgroundDear All,

Just a reminder that it is awards season – time to be nominating your woman and under-representented minority friends, colleagues, peers for awards, fellowship, etc. Please see this recent OpEd in the APS News: Back Page to see some numbers on the problem with the supplement on another blog in case you think that a bunch of women can’t possibly have done the statistics correctly. Please read before you ask. Seriously.

Please do:

  • nominate deserving women and minorities. Do you realize the crap we go through just to get here. We are super qualified. Nominate us.
  • ask people to nominate you and help them put together your nomination.

Please don’t:

  • pre-judge yourself and decide not to do it based on your self-doubt. Let them tell you know, and it is an honor to be nominated at all (link). There is no perfect time when you are “ready” and if the committee things you are not ready, then fine – let them decide for themselves. Yes, they are likely to have biases, but a lot of times they are looking for qualified women to award things to, and there are zero women in the pool. Further, having multiple women in a pool is important for getting any other woman to win (see this cool article). So, consider that your nomination might help yourself, and it might help someone else!!
  • only nominate women and minorities for women and minority awards! This is infuriating. I have been told from my department that I shouldn’t try for a general award, but should wait and only apply for women-only awards. I do think these awards are important (link), but I certainly don’t think it helps to only allow women or minorities to those awards! Duh.
  • pre-judge people who ask to be nominated. If you are an ally who is looking to help women, please don’t discourage. I know it is tempting to think, “why should they get an award, and not me?” or even, “well, they aren’t *that* good,” but don’t. Even if you genuinely think someone asking or someone you are considering is “not ready,” remember it is an honor to be nominated. It will make your friend, colleague, department, field of study, etc look good – just to be nominated (link). One of the biggest issues is that women are not nominated, so obviously cannot win awards, fellowships, etc. Please turn down your criticism knob. Please turn up your optimism knob. And help!

OK, so I hope you get out there, put in some hard work, and help your fellow scientist or engineer to get nominated for any and all awards.

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