In the beginning........

cassandra smith clsmith at UX5.LBL.GOV
Thu Oct 15 01:28:41 EST 1992

Welcome to the women in biology network!

I had several goals in suggesting the formation of this network.
Obviously, such a network can provide a forum for methods of
overcoming problems which may discourage women from participating or
continuing in a scientific career in biology.

For instance, in "The Outer Circle" it has been pointed out that
having children does not appear to affect the success of women in
science. However, as women progress in their careers they appear to
have fewer publications than their male colleagues. The question is
why? For instance, it has been suggested that women experience more
"small negative kicks" than men which ultimately discourage them.
The question is also how can this be overcome?

A recent National Academy Report suggests that "mentoring" can play an
important role in keeping women in science and engineering. This means
that senior scientist must be involved in fostering the career of
younger scientist. I suspect, but do not know, that most subscribers
to this newsgroup are not senior scientist. Furthermore, we must
remember that the old boys network is really an information and
support group. Thus, I believe it is important in trying to form such
a group in one field, e.g. biology (which actually may be too large to
deal with efficiently) means that sensitive senior scientist need to
participate. So, the question is how can particularly senstive senior
scientist be identified and convinced to participate in such program either
locally or more globally.

The last issue I would like to raise at this time is that there are a
number of programs that have been developed to promote the
participation of women in the so called power structure. For instance,
NIH maintains a list of women (and I suppose others) that are
available for study section duty. Yet few of my female colleagues know
about this list. I would hope that various agencies could use this
forum to spread information about various programs and opportunities
that are available to women. 

Cassandra Smith
new email address:  CLS at

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