Celebrate International Ada Lovelace Day 2018 at York University

Jeremy Kerr Biology Seminar_Ada Lovelace Day Talk 2018_date_fixed


Celebrate International Ada Lovelace Day 2017 at York University

We are thrilled to announce that Elly Zupko will be York University’s third International Ada Lovelace Day speaker on Monday 23rd October 2017 at 12:30pm in the York University Senate Chamber.

From “That Shirt” to “That Other Shirt” — Finding Ways to Honor the
Trailblazing Women of the Past & Future

In 2014, Elly led the enormously successful Kickstarter campaign to put pictures of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) on t-shirts, as a positive response to the infamous 2014 incident, that saw Matt Taylor, a leading European Space Agency scientist, appear on global TV wearing a shirt covered with nearly naked women.

Elly will talk about the incredible journey that the #WomenAreAllOverIt campaign has taken her on. This includes how her #ThatOtherShirt led her to found a non-profit that uses the proceeds from sales of her shirts to support programming in Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity.


Elly will also speak at University of Toronto at Scarborough Campus on Tuesday 24th October, hosted by Professor Maydianne Andrade, Vice-Dean of Faculty Affairs & Equity.

Elly UTSC poster Ada Lovelace 2017Tuesday 24th October — 12:30-1:30 pm, Humanities Wing, HW 305, UTSC

On Wednesday evening, Elly will speak in downtown Toronto, at Ryerson University, hosted by the Faculty of Science and the School of Fashion in the Faculty of Communication and Design.

Wednesday 25th October — 6:30-7:30 pm International Room in the International Living Learning Centre, 240 Jarvis Street, Ryerson University

Elly Ryerson Ada Lovelace Day

Elly’s talk follows Ryerson University Science Dean Imogen Coe’s 2015 Ada Lovelace Day talk, All About STEMinism, and astronomer, Professor Bryan Gaensler’s 2016 talk about how men can be allies to Women in STEM.

Annual Ada Lovelace day events give us an entrance point for work aimed at recognizing the frequently ignored contributions of women to STEM.

2017-08-16 15.20.50If Elly Zupko inspires you to take action in support of Women in STEM, please join us at York University, Keele Campus, for our third Wikipedia Editathon on Thursday October 26th, 10 am- 5 pm. Drop by the basement of Steacie Library, from 5 minutes to 5 hours, and help to create Wikipedia pages about Women in STEM. My project this year, was to create a page for my colleague, University of British Columbia and Environment Canada, ornithologist, Prof. Kathy Martin. But, since I got ahead of myself, I will start making Wikipedia pages for Elly, Dean Imogen Coe (Ryerson) and Vice-Dean Maydianne Andrade (UTSC)!

Kathy can be seen, at left, in August 2017. Kathy is holding copies of the book, Watershed Red, that she recently completed, when I first met her in 1981, while we were doing field work on Hudson Bay. Kathy was studying Willow Ptarmigan, for her PhD, and I was first an undergraduate field assistant, and then an MSc graduate student. Kathy has gone on to become one of the world’s top ornithologists. She needs a Wikipedia page about her achievements and I’m going to make her one in October.


Celebrate International Ada Lovelace Day 2016 at York University

Following up on our 2015 talk by Imogen Coe and our Wikipedia Editathon, York University’s Ada Lovelace Day fans are back with our 2016 celebration of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, who has, recently been an entrance point for work aimed at recognizing the frequently ignored contributions of women to STEM.

On Monday October 17th, we’re switching up our speaker, #HeForShe style, with University of Toronto Astronomer, Professor Bryan Gaensler talking about how men can be allies to Women in STEM. Once again, we will be in the fabulous Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence, room 125, 12:30-1:30 pm.

The following week, our Wikipedia Editathon is on Thursday Ocotber 27th, 10 am- 5 pm. Please join us in the basement of Steacie Library, from 5 minutes to 5 hours.

ada-lovelace-day-2016-bryan-gaensler ada-lovelace-day-2-yorku-2016


Resources for understanding implicit bias, and other barriers to #WomenInSTEM

Also published at Dawn Bazely’s Lab Blog.

In the last few years, we have seen a new wave of awareness and data about the ongoing challenges faced by Women in STEM. Many of the insights about their subtle nature come from peer-reviewed research by colleagues in the social sciences. They deal with diverse topics, ranging from implicit or unconscious bias, to what happens when work is anonymized, and judged, without any knowledge of the author’s gender.

Here’s a round up of some of the latest results. Plus, Danica Savonick and Cathy N. Davidson have compiled a comprehensive annotated bibliography of recent research about gender bias in academia.

Visualizing systemic bias against women in STEM (and Academia in General)

Professor Ben Schmidt’s interactive data visualization tool illustrates gender-based differences in how students rate their course directors on the popular website, RateMyProfessors.com. You can see the relative frequency with which different descriptive, value-laden words are used, by both gender and subject area. The results may shock you.

For example, when students use the word “crazy” to describe a course instructor, it is used more frequently for female professors and instructors, and in a negative context. But when “crazy” is used in a positive way — as in “cool and crazy”, then, we see that the spread of the data shifts greatly, and often, it’s male profs. that get tagged this way. Though, sometimes, female college instructors are tagged as crazy in a positive way. The variation in use of the word insane (positive/negative depending on gender), is even more glaring.

Gender differences in how students rate teachers as crazy in all reviews Gender differences in how students rate teachers as crazy in positive reviews Gender differences in how students rate teachers as crazy in negative reviews

We all have unconscious biases: take a test and discover yours

While we may think that it’s easy to identify sexism and racism, this isn’t always the case. Sure, overt sexism and racism may be glaringly obvious to spot, but what about their more subtle forms?

The socializing effects of being raised in societies, where white males dominate positions of power, have subconscious impacts on how we respond to people at a micro-reaction level. This means that often, our gut-level responses to people aren’t based on their actual record of accomplishment, or what they are saying at a particular moment, but in actuality, on our reactions to their gender or colour. And, you won’t even know that is happening. Scary, huh?

Find out how much unconscious bias you have by taking one of Harvard University’s Project Implicit Association or Bias tests.

Three example of how systemic and unconscious biases play out in real life

There’s a ton of research into this, but these 3 studies have stuck in my mind (perhaps because I have directly experienced or observed this kind of thing):

A. In International Relations, a field of Political Science, Maliniak et al. (2013) found significant gender differences in citation patterns: men cite women less, and women tend not to cite themselves and their work.

B. Heather Sarsons’ research found that, in Economics, female professors get less credit for team work, and collaborations, than do men. Female economics professors going up for tenure are better off publishing alone, rather than collaborating with male colleagues.

C. In a recent study Grunspan et al. (2016) found that male Biology undergraduate students were found to be more likely to rate other male students as being knowledgeable about the course content, relative to the actual subject mastery. In contrast, female students were more likely to choose members of either sex, and to base their ratings more closely on actual standing and performance in the course.

Challenging these biases

Learning about imposter syndrome, which happens when people don’t think they deserve their success, and fear that they are good enough, is important. Imposter syndrome affects many women in academia, but it also affects men in equal numbers.

The Dunning Kruger effect is, in many ways, the opposite of Imposter Syndrome. It refers to the way that some people rate themselves as being better than their performance actual rates. This is overestimation of one’s ability, and studies have found that men tend to overestimate their abilities much more than women.

Understanding how these very subtle effects are playing out in STEM fields and classrooms is an important step in moving towards a more inclusive, diverse STEM community.

Dawn Bazely

Ontario’s Durham District School Board’s Women In STEM lecture series 2016

Lisa Cole, one of our YorkU Women in STEM 50th Anniversary celebration speakers is organizing an awesome Women in STEM lecture series for the Durham District School Board in Ontario:

Durham School Board Women in STEM talks poster

Sunday 6 Dec 2015: Ada Lovelace doc and panel featuring Dean Imogen Coe

2015-11-30 20.45.05If you’re a woman in STEM in Toronto, please do plan to attend the screening of To Dream Tomorrow, a documentary about Ada Lovelace. It’s happening on Sunday December 6th 3:30pm at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvalles, in the High Park-Parkdale neighbourhood.

The screening is accompanied by a panel discussion featuring former York University Biology professor, Imogen Coe, who is Dean of Science at Ryerson University. The panel also includes Alex Ferworn, professor and associate chair of Ryerson’s Department of Computer Science, and  Allan Olley, who earned his PhD at the U of T’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology.

Advice to young #STEM students from Science Dean Imogen Coe, Ryerson University, Toronto from Dawn Bazely on Vimeo.

Buy Eventbrite Tickets
Information about the Revue Cinema screening of To Dream Tomorrow 2015-11-30 20.47.20-1

A recap of York University’s 1st Ada Lovelace Day celebrations

What a week it has been as @mishraapriti @birtalan @dupuisj (LtoR, below, grappling with Wikipedia editing in Steacie Science and Engineering Library) will tell you! (That’s a link to John Dupuis’ post about Ada Lovelace Wikipedia Editathons at his blog: Confessions of a Science Librarian).

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Following March 2015’s celebration of our female alumni and their diverse career paths, we participated in International Ada Lovelace Day, for the first time at York University, with two events this week. Ada Lovelace Day was launched in Britain in 2007, and has spread across the globe. This year, there was an event in Kathmandu!

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The first York event was a lively and informative talk by Ryerson University’s Dean of Science and former Chair of York University Biology, Imogen Coe, seen here with Biology professor, Rob Tsushimi in the new Bergeron Centre of Excellence in Engineering. Imogen explained “All about STEMinism“, and how the challenge of recruiting more women into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields can be met.
Imogen told a packed room: “A #STEMinist is anyone who champions #WomeninSTEM
Perhaps the most fascinating thing that I saw in action, was Ben Schmidt‘s analysis of gendered language, by subject area in RateMyProfessors.com evaluations (I had heard about it, but not previously had a chance to see it in action).
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Two lucky students from the more than 40 people who attended, won tickets to Chris Hadfield’s Science Generator show at Massey Hall.
The second event, on Thursday October 29th was a day-long drop-in Women in STEM Edit-a-thon held in Steacie Science and Engineering Library. A diverse group of over 20 students, faculty and interested members of the public learned how to create and edit Wikipedia pages about women in STEM, which is an under-represented group in Wikipedia. Participants came from Science, Lassonde, Health, AMPD, Libraries and LAPS. York University Libraries made a great Storify of tweets from the event. One very nice surprise was a visit by representatives of the Psychology’s Feminist Voices project: Tal, Susannah and Lisa. Thank you, all!
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In 2014, Simon Fraser University celebrated Ada Lovelace Day (which has been mid-October, although events run throughout the month, depending on the host institution). In 2015, there were only 2 such events in Canada, that we knew about. There’s definitely room for many more Ada Lovelace Day celebrations in 2016.