Thank you all who attended our WiPB workshop at Plant Biology 2017!  For those of you who could not make it, we are here summarizing our discussion and encouraging these discussions to continue…

We want to hear from you! What do you want to see the WiPB group do over the next few years? Do you have suggestions/ideas of how you want to participate? Ideas for workshops? We are welcoming suggestions and help to grow our community and enrich your life.

Many of the points discussed are what you can do on an individual (personal) level and at a local peer level. Other points, such as workshop/webinar ideas and mentoring opportunities, are things that we as a group can try to accomplish.

Here are the general themes I've notice reading through each table discussion's notes: 

1. Create a support/trust network of women –Gather a group of friends/colleagues and meet for coffee/tea/lunch to discuss your experiences and motivate each other.

2. Utilize tools that already exist –support networks and trainings at your company/university, scholarship opportunities, etc.

3. Seek out a mentor –Doesn’t have to be a woman. Take initiative to find a mentor.

4. Speak up –Don’t be afraid to ask for a higher salary, promotion, or family leave. Call-out injustice, unfair treatment, & bias.


If there is something you really want to see us do, please let us know and be willing help make it happen! From the ideas below, we have gathered some workshop themes. We can try to put on a webinar, so there may be more than one per year.

Feel free to post links to articles/news stories, tips, and other resources.



Discussion Table notes:

Alternative Career Paths

·        Could/Should WiPB support them? And How?

·        Supporting alternative career panels –internships; hearing people’s stories

·        Women honorary societies: career panels

          o   active after undergrad

·        Databases of opportunities & resources

·        Seed money for networking; report back for rest of community (like the BEST program –NIH @ 72 universities

·        NSF Broader Impacts –including not reinventing the wheel à Funding for these in grants

·        ComSciCon conferences that build networks

·        Broad range of interactions

·        (re)defining what it means to be “in Plant Biology”

·        AAAS etc. & government fellowships

·        Continue networking midcareer à regional ASPB meetings could support (since more students go)

         o   Including people at many career stages

         o   Support for mentoring –virtual maybe (also shares burden of mentoring)

·        China –professional career consultants to serve students, women in societies

·        WIPB interface with universities career services

·        Use tools that are already there –don’t reinvent the wheel

Balancing Life

·        Workshops on

          o   Female leadership

          o   Negotiation skills

·        Demographics: women not applying to tenure track positions --> changing tenure rules

·        Utilize female administrators on our behalf

·        Self-imposed and peer pressure

·        Reading groups

·        Mentors –support groups/clubs

·        Work smart –HOW?

·        Non-academic mentors

·        Topics: children, aging parents, household chores à what to do?

Getting Ahead and Being Assertive

·        Communication to “others” on the situation of assertiveness

·        Networks –not in a specific department/university but broader comfortable audiences

         o   Share expertise/experiences

         o   Mentoring by experience

·        Universities have women networks. So does industry

        o   Have ‘chapters’ to connect?

·        Attitude changing ideas –‘other’s’ view?

·        Negotiating 1st salary

         o   Online/in-person trainings

         o   How do men negotiate

         o   Why negotiate?

·        Personal situations impacting Professor advancement

         o   What can be done to change this attitude?

         o   How to react to these situations?

·        How to communicate issues at different career levels: students, faulty

          o   Individual level –face to face by each member

·        Leadership trainings of interpersonal skills

        o   At annual meetings

        o   Webinars/online trainings

·        Ways of being assertive but not aggressive

Closing the Gender Gap

·        Build your own support network (with other women)

·        Mentors (male mentor)

·        Suggest women speakers (name names)

·        Recognize & call out bias

·        Wording of job postings

·        Amplification of women’s voices/ideas

          o   Support each other

·        Male allies

·        Setting –women tend to do better in smaller groups/meetings

·        Speak up!

Equal the Playing Field

·        Experiential learning/professional development opportunities

          o   Peer reviewing for ASPB journals

·        Explicit , stepped targets toward equality

          o   Institutions

          o   Funding bodies

          o   Committees (ASPB)

          o   Editorial boards

·        Education/resources related to implicit bias

Get Involved!

·        Join plantae WiPB group/network

·        Learn to say No (don’t have to say yes to everything) --> recognize your limits & say “I’m overcommitted”

·        Nominate women for awards/speakers

·        Take on leadership

·        Group outings

·        Build trust network

·        Build partners across departments

Opportunities for Women in Science


·        Workshop on how to solve conflicts and difficult conversations

·        Freelance science writing

·        Keep trying to learn new things!

·        Workshop of how to write a proposal and to be a mentor/PI

·        Search for women workshops/programs in science

·        State that you are a woman in your personal statement

·        Use Plantae “women in Science network” to post opportunities


·        Be involved in industry and academia is not the only option

·        Recognize women’s position and role

·        Speak up and being ignored

·        Balance between family vs career

·        New opportunities can be challenges