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Bloggers are even better in person

I’m at the 2nd Annual NC Science Bloggers Conference and it is true bloggers are even better in person. This is a great conference—blogger, journalists, scientists, pr folks, students etc. with most people fitting into two or more categories. The conference is free, the food and the swag good and the sessions and people so good that in spite of the potential for being snowed in tonight, I’m coming next year. Here are some personal highlights:

I got to meet Sciencewoman and Minnow (who is even more adorable and well behaved than I expected), Karen from Science to Life and Dr. Free Ride as well as getting a chance to catch up with Suzanne from Thus Spake Zuska. Our session went really well with a lot of discussion about issues of gender and science on and off line. While there was not as much discussion about issues of race/ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation and science, unlike most gender and science sessions, there was some, which made me very happy. .

Also making me happy was the level of the discussion. One interesting point raised was by an editor who e-mailed an equal number of women and men to recommend science blogs for an article in a popular science article. The men responded, the women didn’t. When the article was published the editor caught hell for only including sites recommended by men. Understandably he was upset. Equally understandably those who complained were upset, they didn’t know equal numbers of women and men were asked. One suggestion was that in the future the editor should include in the article that “I asked five men and five women and only men responded so that’s what we have.” The “but wait, shouldn’t we look at why the women didn’t respond” argument was raised but we ran out of time.

And that was only one session—will blog on some others soon.


Pat, it was great to meet you and attend your session. I was blown away to learn how long you have been engaged in the study of this area - you're an amazing role model for all of us interested in equity in science online and offline. Thank you so much for kicking off this session.

We had 16 women and 13 men leading sessions and giving talks - a parity we had to work hard for (including rejecting session proposals by men, and actively recruiting women). The participants were also roughly 50-50, unusual for tech conferences. All of this makes me very happy and, I think, makes for a better, more relaxed atmosphere.

It was great to see you (I saw your part of the session and took the flyer with me), but I regret not finding time to talk to you one-on-one. Next year?

I "listed in" to the session from here in California and found it very interesting. I'm not surprised that you didn't really get around to discussing race/ethnicity and sexual orientation -the session wasn't nearly long enough to cover it all.

You are right Peggy. Trying to cover all things in a short time does no one any good. But I'm concerned that at most sessions related to women/gender we default to the normative. When we say "woman" there are unspoken assumptions about whom we are speaking and since that "unmodified woman" is usually considered white and straight we tend to miss the complexities of the interactions.

It is a conundrum and ideas are very welcome.


I really appreciated the work that you did and the results that you got! I will be back next year and look forward to spending some time together.

I quoted your comment in a response to Ivan's post "Do women blog about science?"

I thought his was a good post but that, unlike you, he didn't understand that when a group hasn't been at the table, sometimes it takes more than an invitation to get them there.


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