Tricia Serio on subtle sexism in science

"[A]t a women-in-science event...the organizer began by sharing strategies to change the subject when faced with inappropriate comments. But why should we? When such techniques are recommended as a form of professional development, enough is enough."

- Tricia Serio, writing in Nature

There has been much discussion about the two extreme ends of sexism in science - overt discrimination on the one hand, and unconscious bias on the other. Tricia Serio, an Adjunct Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University, is concerned about behaviour that falls somewhere in between. In today's issue of Nature, she encourages people to speak out against incidences of "microaggression" - that is, small, off-the-cuff denigrating comments that are probably not maliciously intended but nevertheless cause harm.

As a practical step towards helping to raise awareness, she's founded a website where real-life examples can be left anonymously.

It's good to see efforts to improve the atmosphere of the scientific community for all of its members.