Best Directors Who Were Not White Men

From 1928, the year of the first Academy Awards, to 2019, there have been 455 nominations for Best Director. Of those, 18 of them went to non-white men. Read More

School diversity visualized with moving bubbles

The Washington Post visualized 13,000 school districts to show the change in diversity between 1995 and 2017. Each bubble represents a district and the size represents number of students. The bubbles transition to diverse, undiverse, and extremely undiverse. It’s an important topic and worth the read.

But right now, all I can think about is that I need to up my moving bubble game.

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Faces of diverse midterms

As one might expect, many women, people of color, and L.G.B.T. candidates are running in this year’s midterms. It’ll be one of the most diverse elections in U.S. history. The New York Times provides a scrolly breakdown with 410 cutout faces floating around on your screen.

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An Author Rights Perspective on Scientific Editors

  By Hilda Bastian   What should scientific editors be able to do well? We would all be able to agree easily on some basics. Last year, a group led by David Moher and colleagues

Mapping a diverse but segregated America

Aaron Williams and Armand Emamdjomeh for The Washington Post delve into diversity and segregation in the United States. The boiling pot continues to get more ingredients, but they’re not mixing evenly.

Some 50 years ago, policies like the Fair Housing Act and Voting Rights Act were enacted to increase integration, promote equity, combat discrimination and dismantle the lingering legacy of Jim Crow laws. But a Post analysis shows that some cities remain deeply segregated — even as the country itself becomes more diverse.

I like how you can easily toggle between diversity and segregation. It allows for a quick comparison of metrics that aren’t always clear-cut.

Scroll to the end to see how diversity and segregation compare in your area.

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Black History Month: Mathematicians’ Powerful Stories

0000-0002-8715-2896     It was a turning point. The previous year, the US Civil Rights Act had passed. On 26 January 1969 in New Orleans, 17 African-American mathematicians gathered at the annual national mathematical meeting.

FEBS Letters Blames Society and History for their Sexist Meeting … #Boycott

What a joke.

I was pointed on Twitter to a meeting run by FEBS Letters to "celebrate" their 50th Anniversary.  The meeting has some 20 speakers highlighted of which only one is a woman.

See for example
and

And I guess in response to criticism they now write

We acknowledge that it is disappointing that there is currently only one female speaker in our line up. The FEBS Letters editorial team based its speaker selection on authors of some of the best papers published in FEBS Letters over the past 50 years, based on citations and downloads. Unfortunately, women are strongly underrepresented in this list, as a result of the fact that women in science were few over the last century. In addition, other women invited to speak at the event were not able to accept the invitation. The result below is thus currently a historical and social reflection of the past 50 years. FEBS Letters is looking at ways to address this.
That is right - for their own meeting they are blaming history and society.  How about this.  How about you take some $#$*()!@#()$!@ responsibility for the meeting you are running rather than blaming society and history for your lack of diversity?  And how about this - I call for a boycott of this meeting. Nobody should help them celebrate when this is their approach.




UPDATE - made a Twitter Moment with various Tweets on the topic



Statistical diversity in US newsrooms

If a news organization wants to talk about the world in a fair way, it needs points of view from a group of people who are representative of said world. Otherwise, bias comes to play no matter how hard you try. Google Trends looks at the how different groups are represented in major news organizations across the country.

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Another white men’s microbiome meeting from Kisaco #YAMMM #manel #STEMDiversity

Well, this is really unpleasant.

Last year I blogged about a what I called "The White Men's Microbiome Congress." The gender balance of the meeting was so bad I called for a boycott. And my call seemed to have some impact as many people refused to participate and then the meeting organizers from Kisaco Research responded, apologized for the gender bias, and made some attempts to at least try to fix things. For example they posted on my blog:
We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that the speaker faculty reflect the diversity and culture of the field and science as a whole. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Kisaco Research is deeply committed to producing events that represent the diversity of the scientific fields we work with. We are embarrassed that this has been previously overlooked and are currently working to make this, and all other programmes, ones that the top scientists are proud to be a part of. 
And they did seem to try to make the meeting I critiqued less biased.

And thus it was really disturbing to me when someone sent me the invite they received to a microbiome meeting organized by this group and pointed out that it had the same issue. I went to the web site for this new meeting - the "3rd annual European microbiome congress (see The Microbiome Congress – Europe – Kisaco Research). And it confirmed my fears.



95% of the highlighted speakers are male (as always, I note, assessing the gender balance of a meeting is not always straight forward.  In this case I looked at the web sites of the speakers and other descriptions of them to see what pronouns were used to describe them.  I think my assessment is accurate but I apologize if I made mistakes). And all of them appear to be white.  It is a meeting for white men to speak at.  The field of microbiome studies is rich and diverse in many ways - including in the scientists and others who work on the topic.  It would not have been hard to come up with a more diverse set of speakers.  In fact, the field is so diverse in terms of researchers that I think this speaker line up - especially in light of the previous meeting - is evidence for bias.   I am not sure where that bias comes in (it could be at invitations, at acceptances, or other places) but it is pretty clear this is not a random selection of top microbiome researchers.

As this is a pattern from Kisaco Research I am calling for the following
  • People should boycott this meeting. That is, do not attend this meeting.
  • People should Boycott all Kisaco meetings. This is a pattern for Kisaco, and not a good one.  Nobody should attend any of their meetings
  • The meeting sponsors should withdraw support for this meeting. The listed sponsors include Synthetic BiologicQiagenProDigestAffymetrix and Zymo Research. I encourage people to contact them about this and pressure them to rescind their sponsorship.  I have already contacted Zymo, for which I am an advisor.  I will let people know how they respond. 
  • The speakers should cancel their participation.  A meeting cannot go on without the speakers. The listed speakers include:
Of course, it would be better to prevent such things from happening in the future.  Some things to consider that will start to shift away from meetings with poor diversity of presenters:
  • Make diversity of presenters one of the factors you consider when deciding whether or not to accept invitations to speak at or attend a meeting. Some ways to make an informed decision here include
    • looking at past meetings by the same organizers
    • asking for a list of presenters for the meeting one is invited to
    • asking if the meeting has any policies on diversity
  • When you are involved in organizing a meeting work to make it a stellar meeting that also happens to have a diverse collection of presenters (diverse in background,  race and ethnicity, kills, perspectives, gender, types of institutions, careers stages, country of origin, and more). 
  • Develop diversity policies for meetings in which you are involved
  • If you are on the sponsorship side of things - require meeting organizers to have a diversity policy and to show their prior track records before you offer support
  • Develop and support practices and policies that would help make meetings more diverse 

Also check out some of these articles and posts

It is entirely possible to run meetings where there is no bias against particular groups in the presenter line up.  It is also possible to embrace diversity and all of its benefits and make a meeting that is simply better than a meeting where diversity is not embraced.  It does take some effort.  But it is worth it.

UPDATE. Making a Storify of some responses



Increasing diversity

Dan Keating and Laris Karklis for The Washington Post map the change in diversity since 2000. The color scale, shown in the top right, represents two things: level of diversity and change in diversity. I’m not so sure the dual scale is interesting as a whole, as my brain just wants to split out each category individually or see each one separately. But keep scrolling and you can get that separation, which is a lot more visually helpful.

See also: percentage of white people, majority minorities, and predominant race.

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