It was a pleasure getting together with fellow members of the American Medical Writers Association for the Connecticut chapter dinner last week. My goal for leading the discussion was to spark a discussion among the attendees, and for the attendees to take back to their colleagues about how we, as medical writers, can influence gender bias in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine).
Some of the gender bias in STEMM arises from the implicit biases that we all possess. Unfortunately, these biases can have real consequences for the people and situations we’re biased against. In the context of gender bias, this can mean lower pay for women versus men, and fewer promotions and honors. Specifically, as it relates to medical writing and women in STEMM, there is research showing an unequal distribution of authorship on scientific publications for women, fewer invitations to invited symposia or conference panels, and lower rates of grants funded and lower amounts of grant money.
From a very young age, I loved science, inventing, and investigating. Growing up, I was always supported in my interests and was never steered towards “girls” toys specifically or told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.
I loved science and math so much that I studied engineering in college and graduate school, and it was there that I started to realize that gender biases, most of the time subtle but there nonetheless, existed for women in STEMM. It was obvious moments and an accumulation of small biases I experienced that inspired me to have a more active role and voice in advocating for acknowledging and reducing gender bias in STEMM. I was thrilled to bring this passion for STEMM advocacy to my AMWA colleagues last week and look forward to other opportunities to do so.