Biophysical Society Bulletin | October 2019

Career Development

Beyond the Me TooMovement: Science in Progress For those who may not be familiar with the origin of the Me Too movement, it was founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke specifically to help female survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. People started sharing their experienc- es of sexual harassment and assault on social media using the hashtag (OWDW), Society for Women Engineers (SWE), and Kovalev- kaia Fund. The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has a group for women in science and engineering (WiSE). Several Universities and Colleges have jumped on the Me Too move- ment and offer women support groups on their campuses. The Biophysical Society has made gender diversity a con- sistent goal over the last several years, particularly through Annual Meeting and Thematic Meeting speakers, Committee appointments, and Society leadership positions. Evidence of #metoo in order to draw attention to the prevalence of the issue. Fast

progress is marked by the fact that there has been a fe- male president of the Society every other year since 2012, and there will be two women in a row in the coming years. In addition, the number of women on Council has equaled or exceeded the number of men for many years. The Edi- tor-in-Chief of Biophysical Journal is a woman and half of the Associate Editors are women. In the spirit of the Me Too Movement, all BPS Annual Meeting attendees are encouraged to attend a plenary symposium on February 16 in San Diego on sexual harassment. This symposium will include findings from the 2018 National Academies consensus report Sexu- al Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine . It will also include discussion about how BPS and its members can act to confront and eliminate sexual harassment, bias, and other behaviors that are inconsistent with a fully inclusive society. Within the Biophysical Society Subgroups, the Mechanobiol- ogy Subgroup is taking the first step towards equal gender representation. A recent change in their bylaws establishes that nominees for Chair and Secretary-Treasurer cannot be of the same gender as their immediate predecessor. Let us continue to add to this list and provide more support not only for women, but all genders, minorities, and individu- als from underrepresented communities to thrive and make important contributions to science.

forward more than a decade and this movement has rocked some of the most powerful men in entertainment and politics (Chicago Tribune, 2018). Less mainstream attention has been given to how the Me Too movement has affected the scientific community and with good reason. In an ironic twist to the fast pace of scientific discovery and innovation, the Me Too movement has been slow to gain a presence and seem- ingly met with some resistance. The determination and perseverance to lead such a movement to make a change came at a personal cost to Burke. However, Burke stood up and placed this pervasive problem under the microscope. While it took her leadership to focus on the problem, she didn’t do it alone. The Me Too movement continues to grow through the efforts and support of a community of females. There is an opportunity within the scientific community at this juncture to look toward this movement for guidance. Why are women in science not speaking out, leading the charge, and creating a more supportive community? Many established female scientists may be viewing the Me Too movement as not applicable in the world of science because of its close-knit community with its limited number of tenured faculty positions and promotions. Another reason may be the male cohort of scientists who review and decide the fate of publications and grants. Instead of holding these factors as steadfast obstacles within the scientific population, this could be a prime opportunity to make progress. Scientists and students can take their inventive approaches at the bench to the boardroom and generate new systems breaking barri- ers and moving beyond the existing establishment. A student led effort appears to be afoot among scientists in academia with all genders coming together in support of equality and a more inclusive scientific community. As of August 2019, Wikipedia’s list of organizations for women in science includes seven general STEM based groups: American Association of University Women (AAUW), As- sociation for Women in Science (AWIS), European Platform of Women Scientists (EPWS), Graduate Women in Science (GWIS), Organization for Women in the Developing World

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