Book Launch | Pathways, Potholes, and the Persistence of Women in Science: Reconsidering the Pipeline

Event date/time: 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 11:30am to 1:00pm
S330 Life Sciences Laboratories | UMass Amherst

Do gender dynamics drive drive women away from science?  Does studying science put women on equal footing with men? What roadblocks do women scientists face in promotion in academia? Please join us in discussing these and many other issues for women in science as we celebrate the release of Pathways, Potholes, and the Persistence of Women in Science: Reconsidering the Pipeline, written by 21 scholars and edited by UMass Amherst Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor for Diversity and Excellence Dr. Enobong (Anna) Branch. 

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Training for and pursuing a career in science can be treacherous for women; many more begin than ultimately complete at every stage. Furthermore, gender intersects with other identities, such as race/ethnicity and nativity, to shape participation in science. Characterizing this as a pipeline problem, however, leads to a focus on individual women instead of structural conditions. The goal of the book is to offer an alternative model that better articulates the ideas of agency, constraint, and variability along the path to scientific careers for women--applying the metaphor of the road marked with exits, pathways, and potholes. Collectively, the chapters leverage this approach to build on our existing knowledge of scientific work, provide useful tools, and suggest areas of exploration to support women and minorities in navigating the road as they train for and build a career in science.

A panel of chapter authors will read passages from the book and engage in a discussion moderated by Dr. Craig Martin (Chemistry | University of Massachusetts Amherst) , followed by a reception. This event, co-sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, the College of Natural Sciences, and ISSR, is free and open to the community, and will be of interest to those working in and on careers in science.

Dr. Branch, Associate Professor of sociology, provides perspective on the problems that women commonly experience while learning, working, and pursuing a career in science by sharing and discussing the challenges that other female scholars have experienced. Branch’s book hones in on conflicts that intersect gender with race/ethnicity and nativity. Insight is provided on how to surmount the conflicts that so many women face while pursuing their scientific careers. 

Enobong (Anna) Branch (Sociology | University of Massachusetts, Amherst) is a scholar of race, gender, and work, and author of Opportunity Denied: Limiting Black Women to Devalued Work (Rutgers University Press, 2011). In her role as Faculty Advisor to Chancellor for Diversity and Excellence Dr. Branch serves as the Chancellor’s representative for all campus groups, committees, and councils involved in advancing diversity at UMass.

Laurel Smith-Doerr (Sociology | University of Massachusetts, Amherst) investigates the nexus of science, gender, policy, and organization, and is one of the editors of the fourth edition of the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (MIT Press, 2016). Dr. Smith-Doerr served as Program Director for Science, Technology and Society at the National Science Foundation, and is Director of the Institute for Social Science Research at UMass.

Laura E. Hirshfield (Medical Education & Sociology | University of Illinois at Chicago) studies gender inequality in academic and clinical settings, particularly in the natural sciences and medicine. Her work explores what she calls the “hidden labor”--necessary but undervalued labor undertaken by and expected of women, people of color, and other minorities in the workplace. 

RSVP | Pathways, Potholes, and the Persistence of Women in Science