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Anrah News - May 2015
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Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.” 
 
On June 8th 2015 Professor Tim Hunt, Nobel prize winner was addressing science journalists in South Korea. He recommended single sex labs. He then said he was “only joking.” Except he wasn’t. He did mean how emotional entanglements make the science “really, really difficult” (click on the image for Prof. Hunt's full response). 

In “The Mask You Live In”, a film about the upbringing of boys, contributors talk about how as a culture we have feminised caring, relationships and empathy. Boys are more likely to act out, become aggressive or hide their feelings so they become "really, really difficult".
 
Single sex ghettos are alive and well in all the major toy departments. ‘Girls’ toys and games are about domestic skills and looking good and relating whereas ‘boys’ toys and games involve guns and trucks and building blocks - violent, active and powerful. Research indicates gender stereotyping limits beliefs about what men and women are expected to achieve.
 
So how about science itself? When girls see male scientists on television and film (Brian Cox, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Alan Turing) they are likely to assume that science is a male activity. Out of engineering professorships, only 5% are women. Where are female role models in science?
 
When 6% of women are employed in engineering, we as a culture have a serious problem. “No country today can afford to leave aside 50 % of its creative genius, 50 % of its innovation, 50 % of its economic drivers. This is why gender equality in engineering is so important” said Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO. Diversity is good for science as it is good for business.
 
How to overcome this internalised segregation? Good leaders (and Heads of Labs) inspire trust and cooperation to create an inclusivity that produces creative results. It moves beyond gender-ghettoed thinking to an equality of endeavour that is profoundly motivating and satisfying. 
 
As a coach that specialises in working with women in science and engineering, invariably my clients are afflicted by Imposter Syndrome. Because they have gone against expectations (even to being bullied by teachers) and their own internalised models of female success, they overlook their talent and ability and believe they have ‘fooled’ people or ‘got lucky’ when gaining promotion. My job is to help them overcome lack of confidence, recognise their contribution and learn how to win influence with the people who matter – whether that be their team, appointment committee or the Board so they become the good leaders of tomorrow. 


Have a good month!

Sarah

 

MY STORY OF THE MONTHChien-Shiung Wu -Courageous Hero of Physics.
 
I was very moved by Chien-Shiung Wu’s story of how she confounded expectations and wanted to share it with you.
 
Professor Wu, whose name means ‘Courageous Hero’, was born in China in 1912. Girls were not educated – indeed girl’s education was forbidden.  Zhongyi Wu, Chien-Shuing’s father was an engineer who believed in equality so he courageously opened a school for girls in his village. Chien-Shiung became one of the first women in China to receive an education.
 
She shone at Maths and Physics and by dint of extremely hard work and persistence she was funded to go to the States. She got into Berkeley where “Miss Wu” became well known for her total commitment to science. When she completed her PhD in 1940, Oppenheimer called her “an authority” on nuclear fission.
 
Wu worked with Enrico Fermi to produce the first large-scale, self-sustaining plutonium chain reaction and with Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project but she made her name in beta decay. In 1956 she was approached by 2 theoretical physicists Lee and Yang to challenge a so-called ‘Law of Nature’, that of the law of parity. 
 
Professor Wu and her team committed themselves night and day over a 6 month period to overturning this, ignoring sleep, meals and a long-planned visit to China. On January 9th 1957 at 2 am they opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the "shattering of a fundamental concept of nuclear physics".
 
Lee and Yang were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for this work, not Wu.
 
Over the following two decades, she would carry out many additional ground-breaking investigations gathering many awards including the US National Medal of Science. She hoped her example would provide inspiration to girls to enter careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).
 
“It is the courage to doubt what has long been believed and the incessant search for verification and proof that pushes the wheels of science forward."
Anrah News

We’ve just finalised our leadership training programme for 2015 – 16 which includes “Negotiating with the Room: Listening for Leaders”. This training has been designed for Board members and decision making groups to help develop listening and evaluating as well as negotiation skills.

 

This is my contribution to the #distractinglysexy thread on Twitter. It is my niece now Dr Mary Wiese Sfondouris from the Zheng lab at Baylor College of Medicine parodying Lady Gaga in the highly popular “Bad Project” 
Many thanks to Russell Whitlock for his kind remarks:
“Thanks for the newsletter – I liked it. Gentle tone, welcoming – no hard sell or feeling of ‘what’s disturbing me now?’ that often gets me. Made me pause and read down the whole page – normally I’m a two line, hit delete, move on kind of guy.
 
It was nice to receive, and I’m sure it will have a great ‘impact’.”
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to influence the people who matter, please email me sarah@anrah.co.uk or call 07939 261743. We'll discuss your objectives for yourself and how I'll help you achieve them.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sarah
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