After my workshop with Women in Academic Research Pathways (WARP) back in December, Emily Hanover at JHMI wrote a great article that summarizes seven pieces of advice for promoting gender equity here at Hopkins. I’ve been meaning to find time to explore these in greater detail on the blog, but I’ll just start with the article, which can be found in the Hopkins medicine news here and posted below:
1. Check your hidden biases often. Even as females and allies who care about equity, the environment we grew up in has instilled in us implicit biases, which we may then unintentionally perpetuate. The only way to address these biases is to acknowledge them ourselves. Researchers have developed a quiz to help us identify our implicit biases. Every year, Fleming encourages people in her lab to take this quiz, which has been an excellent way to start conversations around these issues.
2. Normalize the discussion and keep the conversation going. As a topic that permeates every aspect of our lives, equity should be part of our everyday conversation. The impact of a seminar, a book or an article on equity can be amplified by us sharing our thoughts and discussing what we have learned. With people who may hold a different opinion, Fleming says asking probing questions may help clarify their thoughts.
3. Read social psychology literature on gender equity with friends. There is a wealth of social psychology literature on gender biases and how they affect us. It can be a fun starting point to learn more about ourselves and others. Fleming runs a journal club where they meet and discuss the social psychology literature, and has always enjoyed the discussions generated.
4. Use inclusive pedagogy. If you teach or mentor other people, you are part of the pipeline that trains the next generation of scientists. Keeping inclusivity in mind will help prevent existing biases of the system from negatively impacting your students.
5. Know that images matter. It means a lot to have role models and see people who look like you succeed. Sometimes when we see a last name attached to a brilliant piece of work, we may not assume it is produced by a woman. She may have been through similar moments of struggle and self-doubt like we have. It is important to show the images and tell the stories of diverse women in science.
6. Learn how to perform bystander intervention. This is arguably the most powerful and immediate way to protect one another from harassment. Take a few minutes to learn about this strategy, and start making your environment more inclusive.
7. Do not underestimate the agency you bring, and remember inclusive community starts with each of us. Progress in eliminating systemic bias can feel slow and depressing, but our actions are powerful in shaping the immediate environment around us!