The power is in the data

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 9.12.34 PMI posted this over at my GenderEquityinScience blog but I am repeating here because a Salary Equity study is one of the projects our Committee on the Status of Women here at Homewood would like to pursue. To do that we’ll need data. Lots of data.


Wow! 60 Minutes tonight.

I love data. And I agree with the sentiment of the story they ran tonight: the real power is in the data.

But so much of the data associated with unconscious bias in the workplace is – well – squishy.  Not so for salary data. Everyone knows how to count those green dollars.

Even so, there is a well known gender gap between the salaries of men and women: white women earn on average only 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns. This is even worse for women with intersectional identities. So, if you are interested in gender equity as it relates to your salary – and who wouldn’t be? – then you should definitely check out the 60 Minutes story that ran tonight about Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

First, Kudos goes out this CEO for using his privilege to bring more voice to this problem. And second, special Kudos goes out to him for putting his money where his mouth is. To the tune of millions of dollars. Yes, millions. That’s at least six $$$$$$.

This CEO learned that he had to pony up this money through a company-wide salary audit. In other words, they collected the data, then analyzed it, then acted on it. What they did not do is bury it or keep it a secret. All workplaces should adopt this practice. As Mr. Benioff learned, gender inequities in salary are endemic to our society, and we must all be vigilant about checking for these on a regular basis.

#WeMustDoBetter for our society, for our #WomenInSTEM, and for women in general.

And the only way we will know if we are doing better is to have the data to test whether our salaries, access to resources and space allocations are equitable.

Where we stood last night

Thank you to everyone who was able to come! At the event we had a huge poster (you can see it in the first picture) asking, What would make Hopkins better for women? Below are the answers people wrote on post-it notes, and a few pictures too.


  • Mechanism to screen for previous harassment complaints—to avoid “passing the trash”
  • Reasons & suggestion for ways to combat institutional sexism/racism without filing an official complaint because the latter would be too dangerous
  • Hold professors accountable for their sexist remarks
  • YES!!!!!! (to the above)
  • Equitable supervisory policies in practice
  • 70% of named professorships were awarded to men in KSAS this year. What about the women?


  • Better networking between JHU women
  • Monthly women’s coffee hour
  • Concrete buy-in from the men of Hopkins
  • Free after school programs
  • Free family-friendly events
  • Salary equity
  • Equal opportunity for advancement
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Be more non-binary
  • Affordable child care
  • More career development help for female graduate students & post-docs
  • Leadership training
  • Retention of senior/junior women faculty
  • Hiring & retention of women scientists
  • Universal maternity leave you don’t have to lobby for/ fight for each time
  • Dedicate resources to research areas that focus on women, people of color, class, sexuality—ie, specific positions/departments; ie, why are Africana Studies and WGS programs, not departments?



Sexual Harassment & Assault in the Academy . . . as of 11.15.2017

It is with horror, and without surprise, that many of us read the most recent reports about men who have abused their power.

Yesterday the Chronicle published a summary of recent accounts in the academy.

You can read more about the Stanford cases here and more about the Princeton case here.

For folks able to come tonight, please know we are going to brainstorming what–big or small–can make it better for women at Hopkins. Hope to see you there. Plus, the food will be excellent.

Sexual Harassment at Work

Over the week the New York Times published an overview of sexual harassment in the work setting–definitions of harassment and options for recourse. I am still trying to figure out why it’s in the Style section. . . . In any case, the link to the article is below, as well as the link to JHU’s OIE website on harassment and discrimination.

Valeriya Safronova, “When You Experience Sexual Harassment at Work” (NYT 11/10/17)

JHU Office of Institutional Equity: Harassment and Discrimination

And don’t forget . . . Please come by for good food and good company this Wednesday, Nov 15, 5:30-7pm at Mudd Atrium for “Where We Stand: Women @ Hopkins.” Hope to see you there! Kids welcome.

Gender Pay Gap in Physics

From “The Gender Pay Gap in Physics Persists” b :

Once factors such as postdoctoral experience and age are accounted for, the gap between the salaries of men and women is, on average, 6 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics. Before accounting for such factors, the data showed that men in physics earned, on average, 18 percent more than women. The survey was based on the experiences of people who had earned their doctorates in physics in the United States in 1996, 1997, 2000, or 2001 and who were working in the country in 2011.

Two key reasons for the disparity: Women aren’t aggressive enough during initial salary negotiations, and they are less likely to ask for a raise, the article says. Men are also overrepresented in physics, and that feeds an implicit bias that benefits men. As a senior researcher quoted anonymously in the article said, “Boys in the department give money to boys in the department.”

Nancy H. Hopkins, a renowned champion of gender equity in science, told the magazine that closing the pay gap would be a likely result of an increase in the number of senior women faculty members serving in positions of power — such as on hiring, promotion, and editorial boards. Ms. Hopkins, a molecular biologist and now a professor emerita at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sparked an examination of gender equity for women scientists at MIT and beyond decades ago. She measured things like her smaller laboratory space and lesser funding, and made the argument that her treatment amounted to discrimination. MIT subsequently released its own report acknowledging that female scientists were indeed discriminated against.

Welcome to Vesla Weaver, leading scholar on racial politics and criminal justice issues in America

We welcome Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Vesla Weaver to JHU!

“We cannot understand modern inequality or begin to move past the harms of incarceration and surveillance without understanding that punitive action is threaded through a multiplicity of activities and agencies in poor communities,” Weaver says.

Read about Vesla’s work on the Portals for Research project at Lexington Market here.