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Of men, women and chimpanzees June 14, 2009

Posted by Sarah in politics, science, women.
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Holy bananas I got a Hubble fellowship!

Dr. Smith was ectstatic he'd been shortlisted for a fellowship

Last week I listened to an excellent podcast at Slate.com on how to get more women into science. I can’t find the podcast anymore but the transcript is here, with lots of interesting links. In it, Ray Fisman reports results of a study into academic achievement in maths and science at the US Air Force Academy. The study found that replacing male instructors with a female one has a dramatic impact on the performance of the female students in the class, bringing it level with that of the men. Specifically,

women on average obtain scores that are 0.15 grade points lower (half the difference between an A and an A-) than their male classmates, even after accounting for students’ SAT scores. The gap in performance was widest for women taught by men. When a female instructor was put at the front of the classroom, nearly two-thirds of the grade point gender gap evaporated.

Bottom line: hire more women. (more…)

On Sarah Palin September 9, 2008

Posted by Sarah in random.
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The media frenzy over Sarah Palin’s nomination for John McCain’s vice presidency is quite astonishing. Here in Europe too she’s been a big topic of conversation. Although she’s obviously a formidable woman with lots of charisma, good looks, and a brain to boot, I can’t really muster much support for her as a woman or a politician.


Are you a doctor or a woman? July 28, 2008

Posted by Sarah in random, women.
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In today’s Guardian, Anna Tims talks about the most extreme stories of bad customer service that she’s heard of in her column Dear Anna. I love stories like this, and writing angry letters to companies that provided me with bad service is one of my favourite pastimes. And this story here combines two of my pet annoyances, bad service and disrespect to women:

Or Airtours, which gave Dr Joanna Smith a sex change on her travel documents because its computers would only recognise a doctor as male. If she wanted to return to her usual gender, she would have to travel as Mrs.

Wonderful! I would have had a field day taking them on if this had happened to me. Some airlines have come up with very awkward solutions – I’ve noticed that I’m sometimes listed as MsDr on plane tickets. Can they not come up with something more elegant?

I shouldn’t really be reproducing it but….. July 21, 2008

Posted by Sarah in women.
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… this is hilarious/tragic/horrible/shocking/totally irrelevant (delete as appropriate)