Who reads this ng and why?

Pamela Norton pamela.norton at mail.tju.edu
Fri Jan 26 20:13:44 EST 2001

In article <3a6e5ae0$0$7157$272ea4a1 at news.execpc.com>, patricia bowne
<pbowne at execpc.com> wrote:

> The thread title says it all -- except what
> would we like the ng to do for us? Is there
> a point to having a women-in-biology newsgroup?
> Or is 'women in biology' really not a useful
> grouping -- are we more interested in entomologists'
> or physiologists' newsgroups? What newsgroups do
> we find useful, and why?

I've been reading this group since inception, although I confess that
my participation has been limited. I seem to recall that there was some
debate about the need for "women in biology", as many career issues
transcend gender, which is why I am happy to see men chiming in as
well. However, my experience is that women do face additional barriers,
and they can be very subtle. For instance, in many professional
meetings, women will often make up a larger percentage of the audience
than of the platform speakers. However, in meetings or sessions chaired
by women (and some men who have become sensitive to the issue), this
gender gap closes, with no loss in quality. I have found that male
colleagues will not tend to notice such disparities unless they are
pointed out. 

A forum of this sort helps to identify these areas, and permits
discussion of possible remedies. Not that I think this group is likely
to change the social structure of science :-), but just identifying
problems can be useful.

> I'm assuming this is our ng and we could make it
> into something we find useful or amusing. Right now
> it seems to be very decorous, sort of like
> a polite tea-party to which only five or six people 
> have shown up. Five or six people make for a small
> party, but they can form a lively conspiracy, strike
> force, writer's group, or jug band -- can't we come up
> with something fun to do on our very own newsgroup?

Pat has raised some interesting suggestions, although I'm not very fond
of jug bands... How bout we make like scientists and organize a

Pam Norton

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