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AWIS in Action! Advocacy and Public Policy Newsletter November 2012
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 AWIS in Action HeaderAWIS 40th Anniv Logo

AWIS In Action!

 Advocacy & Public Policy Newsletter   ~   November 2012
In This Issue
AWIS Policy Symposium Series Inaugural Event
Studies show that if schoolchildren are asked to draw a picture of a scientist, they generally illustrate a white man in a lab coat with crazy hair. I suspect that if you asked adults to draw a picture of an inventor, they would draw the same thing. Just as taking children to a lab and exposing them to real scientists of a variety of genders and ethnic backgrounds leads them to draw a diversity of people in lab coats when the experiment is repeated, we aim to broaden the idea of what a typical inventor is as well. Women comprise half of the U.S. labor force, a quarter of the STEM workforce, but hold less than 10% of the patents in this country. AWIS has developed a new initiative, a symposium series designed to bring thoughtful dialogue to and highlight areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professions where women are continually underrepresented. Our first topic was technology transfer at academic institutions.
While the number of women applying for patents is generally on the rise, a persistent gender gap continues with regard to technology transfer and entrepreneurial activity. Several recent studies inadvertently bring attention to this problem. A study coming out in the Journal of Management looked at hypothetical IPOs and found that 2nd year MBA students undervalued the company and offered the CEO less compensation if they believed the company was being run by a woman. Another study recently published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences found that an applicant for a lab manager’s position was seen as less competent, a less desirable hire, less worthy of mentoring, and offered a lower salary if the application had a woman’s name on it rather than a man’s. A current study is looking at the likelihood of technology licensing managers to encourage an entrepreneur to disclose his or her technology. The preliminary results suggest that the officers are more likely to encourage the entrepreneur if an XY is involved in the chromosomal arrangement.
These are all examples of implicit bias, a key factor contributing to attrition of women from the STEM pipeline. Technology transfer is an increasingly relevant topic in this national dialogue as well as measure of productivity in some fields. AWIS, operating at the nexus of science and gender, seeks to identify reasons why women patent at a lower rate and identify ways to increase the number of women in tech transfer initiatives to help women fulfill their intellectual potential and so help sustain American economic competitiveness. To do this we interviewed tech managers, past Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) presidents, innovation experts, women entrepreneurs, innovation outreach program coordinators, policy experts, and patent attorneys.
We concluded with a policy symposium of leaders representing a variety of stakeholder groups to generate a meaningful, result-oriented dialogue, pulling together an audience slightly outside the typical cross section of stakeholders in this space. Our invited speakers included Jim Woodell, the Director of Innovation and Technology Policy at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; Michael Waring, the Executive Director of Federal Relations for the University of Michigan; Lila Feisee, Vice President of International Affairs for Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO); Mark Crowell, Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Virginia (U.Va.) and Executive Director of U.Va. Innovation; and Henry Etzkowitz, Ph.D., research fellow for the Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research (H-STAR) Institute at Stanford University. Introductory remarks were provided by Joan Herbers, Ph.D., past president of AWIS and professor of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at Ohio State University. For full details of the event and additional resources, please visit AWIS Policy Symposium Series, "Technology Transfer:Fueling America's Innovation Pipeline.” 

Teetering On the Economic Precipice
With the elections behind us, everyone’s attention inside the Beltway has turned toward the looming fiscal cliff. AWIS has been working with several different groups to try to encourage Congress to find a balanced approach to shrinking the deficit. Last week we sent an online tutorial, Advocacy 101, to our members to give them some easy tools for reaching out to their members of Congress. We also joined with Research!America and spoke with several members of Congress and their staff about the importance of federally funded research, including the impact it would have upon the future workforce of this country. On both sides of the aisle members of Congress agree research is important, but getting them to really champion that cause is difficult.
Non-defense discretionary funds, from which the money for research comes, have already taken a big cut this year to the tune of about $1.5 trillion, and many are starting to be more vocal about the idea that a new deal to avoid sequestration and the fiscal cliff needs to take these cuts into consideration. Therefore, we encourage you to write to or call your members of Congress. Tell them why research is important. And while mingling with family and friends over the holidays, encourage them to do so as well. If you need some Turkey Day Talking Points, here are a few:
• Federally funded research is a great investment of tax payer dollars; a very small portion goes to support research and in exchange we get new therapies, better drugs, and effective vaccines as well as technology like Google, Kevlar vests to protect our troops overseas, and the Mars Rover.
• 73% of companies that are started based on academic research form locally, creating jobs and revenue for their communities.
• Federally funded research supports the training of future scientists. The demographics in this country are changing and if there are fewer new jobs, then there will be fewer women and underrepresented minorities getting positions. This will result in fewer positive role models to inspire future scientists, leading to a failure to tap into the full potential of our workforce in the decades to come. That is the antithesis of a strategy to grow our economic and innovative competitiveness. 
Metrics for Success
When it comes to the impact of after-school science programs for at risk youth, what is the best way to measure success? A STEM career? A college degree? General scientific literacy? Avoidance of imprisonment? That question, as well as many others, were discussed at a two-day meeting hosted by the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia to which AWIS was invited.
The National Science Foundation has been providing grants to support informal education projects that are designed to engage young girls in science, but little has been done to evaluate the success of these programs. In order to try to evaluate outcomes and identify best practices, a group of scientists surveyed participants, ranging in age from 18 to 40, to gauge their scientific literacy and career outcomes. The programs ranged from very broad science outreach to highly focused engineering oriented programs, including National Science Partnership (NSP) via Girl Scouts of America, Women in the Natural Science (WINS), Girls Inc. programs Operation SMART and Eureka, and Techbridge. All of the programs evaluated engaged women from within the STEM community to work with the girls, although the duration of the interaction was variable.
Several women who had participated in these programs as middle or high school girls attended the meeting and offered testimonials about the impact these programs had not only on their scientific literacy, but their overall career trajectories. Most striking were the stories of those who came from high-risk backgrounds. While not all of them went into a STEM field, most of them are now in some line of work where they are reaching back into the underserved populations from which they came and are working to elevate members of those communities. Because these programs serve a wide range of girls and some had very specific participation guidelines (single parent, low income, stringent application process) while others were very broad and open to any participants, it is hard to draw any statistically significant outcomes. What was apparent, however, based on the metrics by which the responses of the participants were evaluated, was that these opportunities for informal learning had fostered an appreciation for science and technology literacy, as well as an increased level of academic self-confidence. The tentative conclusions lend support to the idea that informal learning opportunities can have a meaningful impact in girls’ lives, particularly when they have the opportunity to engage with positive scientific and engineering role models. 
M3 The Maddening Monthly Mention
* Shiny Keys *
Most people seem to agree that this has been a particularly ugly campaign season. Between debates about what counts as a legitimate rape, the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do-abortions-are-fine-for-my-wife-and-mistresses-but-not-for-you politicians, the 47% "freeloaders” which includes veterans who have nobly served and sacrificed so much for our country, the suggestion that single ladies voted for Obama because we are sluts, the idea that America is "not a traditional America anymore” because the demographics are shifting away from old white men comprising the majority, or that minorities and youths voted for Obama because of "gifts”, I am tired. I am tired, and I am frustrated because the issues which are really important to women are getting lost in all the craziness with all the shiny, jangling key distractions.
Two new studies came out which counter two of the biggest arguments about why there is a gender wage gap and nobody should do anything about it. The first argument claims that women make different choices in terms of careers and childbearing and that is why there is a wage gap. However, a study just released by AAUW, Graduating to a Pay Gap, shows that when salaries are compared between men and women exactly one year after college graduation who graduated with degrees in the same field, women still earn less than men. Among teachers, women earned 11% less than men. In business, women earned 86% of what men made, and in sales women earned 77% of a man’s salary. One Year Out! Throw in repayment of student loans and it becomes an even uglier story as they earn less, thus pay it back at a slower rate, and thus accumulate more interest and more debt.
Contrary to the usual argument that women fail to negotiate for raises, the opposite is true, according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study showed that when there is an explicit opportunity to negotiate women do so, and haggle even more than men. TribeHR, a human resource software vendor, evaluated salary and workplace recognition in 2012 among 20,000 employees at 2,200 companies. They found that women receive raises at a slightly higher rate than men, 7.4% to 6.2%. However, the overall amount of the raise is where the different lies, with men receiving 60% of the 5% or higher raises. Furthermore, men were three times as likely as women to get a raise of 25% or higher. Channeling Bill Engvall, let me just say, "Heeeereeeee’s your pay gap.”
When it comes to the issues that really matter to women, there seems to be a disconnect between what some of the country thinks are problems for women, and what the actual issues are. On the bright side, we have more women in Congress this upcoming session, such that it led to the first ever line for the ladies room in the Senate! Unfortunately, as long as Congress is focused on the fiscal cliff, it will be hard to get them to deal with issues like pay equity. Furthermore, since Senate Republicans blocked the equal pay bill this past summer, pay equity hasn’t gotten much attention, leading many to think the issue has simply gone away, and that is outrageous.
In This Issue
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