Be aware of your voice and influence

Over the past few years, the Stanford GIN group has discussed research on gender differences, voice, and body posture.  We have learned that standing stand tall and lowering our voices can help to increase power and risk tolerance. But, how can we, as individuals, translate this research knowledge into action?  This week the Clayman Institute for Gender Studies launched an online education program that aims to do exactly this and to catalyze change. For example, hear Business School Professor Dr. Deborah Grunfeld discuss how to match your body language to each situation and other thought leaders and leading researchers about how women and men can maximize effectiveness within diverse organizations.

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Compounded interest vs. divided attention

Academic researchers in STEM (and other fields) must divide their time and attention between research and teaching. Some academics, particularly women, work part-time employment, but must do so within the context of a system designed for full-time work.

In a study published in 2012, O’Brien and Hapgood adapted common ecological models to learn more about how these varied work-schedules affect the duration of the start-up phase of research. The authors found that the start-up time for scientists devoting 100% of their time to research was not much shorter than dividing their time evenly between research and teaching, but working full-time (50% research). But, part-time work divided between research and teaching (25% research) increases start-up time by nearly 5 years. The authors also propose strategies that may help institutions and individuals better support women’s careers in STEM fields.

source: divided attention exhibit by Push at Known Gallery

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What is GIN?

GIN is monthly event held by neuroscientists at Stanford University. We gather to discuss gender differences that could affect our careers and focus on brainstorming strategies to overcome challenges that could limit our success.  Our meetings are open to everyone, regardless of gender and professional status (students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty). Check out what’s up for our next meeting.

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Parent(al) leave

My busy week leaves me with time only for this short post and a link to recent stories about parental leave policies, especially notable is Google’s 22 weeks of paid leave for birth mothers and 7 weeks to other parents. What does your University offer? Here is some information about large corporate employers:


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Cupid takes sides in the academy

On Valentine’s day the Stanford GIN group discussed the question of the interaction between gender and marriage status. The short answer from a recent survey of US historians is that married men advance faster than single men, but the reverse is true for married women (Gender and Success in Academia, AHA). We discussed the observation and its consequences and touched on the ‘motherhood penalty’ or ‘maternal wall’. Want to learn more about these concepts? Go to NGN: New Girls Network.

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Lower your voice, increase your power

As every actor learns and knows, it is possible to influence your audience with your voice as well as with the words you speak. As we learned about non-verbal body postures cues, Stel et al have shown that voice pitch also influences the speaker’s perception of themselves. When using a lower pitch, speakers felt more powerful and think more abstractly. So, next time you speak, speak slowly, it will lower the pitch of your voice and help you to feel more powerful.

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If I can’t see you, you can’t see me, right?

The concept of double-blind review for research manuscripts and grant applications is intriguing. We want to publish and fund the best science, right? Wouldn’t double-blind review focus reviewers’ attention on the science? Maybe. But, how would it work? And, would it actually help to lessen the impact of implicit bias on our evaluations. Here’s a case study that suggests that it might.

Budden et al took advantage of a change in the review process at the journal Behavioral Ecology (BE), which shifted to double-blind review in 2001 and compared outcomes with the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (BSE). After the switch in BE, there was a significant increase in the proportion of female first authors while no change was observed during the same time frame in BSE. Food for thought as NIH considers a pilot program to conduct grant reviews in a double-blind manner…


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The marriage penalty for professional women

Check out these articles that deal with the upcoming GIN meeting (2/14) topic – how marriage decreases a women’s chance of professional success.

Being Married Helps Professors Get Ahead, but Only If They’re Male – The Atlantic.

Gender and Success in Academia – American Historical Association.

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It’s a science thing: network!

In October, the GIN group explored networking by brainstorming about ‘why’ and ‘who’ of networking. Why network: gain perspective, increase visibility, find collaborators, find a job, learn about different kinds of jobs. Who: anyone, including artists, journalists, bartenders. We also got some practice with the ‘how’ of networking by introducing ourselves to each other and giving feedback on voice, posture, tone, and content. Try it with a friend and make a more memorable first impression!

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Initiative helps faculty achieve balance

Stanford School of Medicine is working on some exciting new institutional changes to help faculty create a better work-life fit on the faculty career track, and thereby encourage the “best and brightest” trainees – both male and female – to give the faculty career track a serious consideration. Check out the ABCC initiative.

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