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Calling field scientists!

December 30, 2010

The New York Times runs a really fascinating blog called “Scientist at Work,” which features field scientists discussing their work in the world. Recently, Twila Moon, a participant in the Earth Science Women’s Network was reading the blog and noticed that only two of the scientists are female, which prompted her to contact the Times. Here’s their email exchange:

“I’m writing to request that you feature more female scientists in your field blog. With 14 scientists listed on your sidebar (and not including the men leading current expeditions) only 2 are women, a measly 14%. There are many intelligent women leading a wide variety of field expeditions that can capture the interest of your audience. In fact, you may even find your audience widening as you include a broader variety of scientists. Please consider diversifying your scientist list! I, for one, would be happy to provide some field notes the next time I’m in Greenland, and I suspect if you just ask there are many others interested in sharing.

P.S. This same note can also be written concerning ethnic diversity, in case you are feeling ambitious. Providing a variety of examples should only help bolster your blog, as it’s undeniable that we are attracted to stories about people who are more like us.”

And the response:
“Thank you for the feedback. The lack of diversity disturbs me too. Ultimately we are limited by the pool of scientists who volunteer to write for us. Please encourage the female scientists you know to contact us. And please do send us a pitch the next time you’re headed to Greenland.”

So, Twila’s message is, we can take this into our own hands and make a difference! If you are doing interesting field work and would be able to make a few short blog entries about it, please get in touch with the NYT! Here’s their info: scientistatwork@nytimes.com, and they ask that you please include a description of your field work and samples of your writing and photographs. Or, nominate another woman who does field work to be featured! Sounds like a great way to merge science and writing/outreach as well if that’s an interest of yours.

(p.s. Thanks to Kristin Block for bringing this to my attention.)

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