Jane Zelikova and Kelly Ramirez: She’s Empowering Women in Science

March 30 - On The Dot

FIRST THOUGHT: A Vote of Confidence

While we discuss a whole range of topics here at On The Dot, there’s one consistent characteristic that helps women get what they want, whether it’s signing a big client or feeling a sense of work/life balance. It’s confidence. Even as young girls, we’re often not encouraged to build our confidence. That certainly contributes to many girls not pursuing subjects like science and math. It’s also why so many women don’t apply for STEM jobs after college or even ask for a raise. Today, ask a fellow woman or girl for her opinion. Embolden her to feel confident in her response. And most importantly, really listen to what she has to say.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Less Than 30 Percent

As women, we’re often subtly or even directly told to be quiet or congenial, making it especially awkward and difficult to step into and be commanding in traditionally male-dominated industries. That’s definitely been the case in the boys’ club world of STEM. In fact, according to the Unesco Institute for Statistics, less than 30 percent of researchers in the entire world are women.

WOMEN TO WATCH: Jane Zelikova and Kelly Ramirez, Co-founders of 500 Women Scientists

Kelly Ramirez and Jane Zelikova are the co-founders of a grassroots organization called 500 Women Scientists, which has a fantastic mission to serve society by making science open, inclusive and accessible.

The seed for this idea grew after Kelly and Jane met during their graduate studies at the University of Colorado. Kelly says she knew they’d be forever friends after they co-organized a pie competition. Yep, it all started with pie!

Jane is now an ecologist focused on science communication and bringing together climate-change science and policy. She’s also the co-founder of a science-focused film company called Hey Girl Productions and Luca Media Collective, both of which help her spread her message through compelling storytelling.

Also a brilliant ecologist, Kelly is focused on characterizing the diversity and biogeographical patterns of soil microbes throughout the world. Her studies have taken her across the globe, researching soils from Central Park to The Netherlands, where she is currently a postdoctoral scholar at The Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

These science smarties were downright outraged following the November 2016 presidential election results. That’s when Kelly and Jane collaborated to publish an open letter noting “science is foundational in a progressive society, fuels innovation and touches the lives of every person on this planet.” They outlined their commitment to stand up for women in science, and for the rights of the LGBTQ community, the disabled, minorities and immigrants. They rejected the hateful rhetoric targeting such populations and the science community, and vowed to take action to increase diversity in science and other disciplines, and advocate for equality. Now, with the support of 20,000 women in STEM and other industries from more than 100 countries, and strong leadership and an advisory board of some seriously savvy ladies, 500 Women Scientists is part of the growing resistance movement.

There are two key ways of getting involved: Join or start a local pod, or chapter, or unite with a strike team, groups connected by a specific theme, such as policymaking or community outreach.

Another easy way to support female scientists is to request they speak in public venues. 500 Women Scientists offers a platform to submit requests for vetted women in science to act as resources for educators, journalists or anyone in need of a scientific expert.


This quote from Kelly Ramirez perfectly sums up the importance of 500 Women Scientists:

“It is a first step in committing to each other and to taking action for our science, our country and the health of our planet. Just as science is built on evidence, observation and ongoing evaluation, we are building this movement on the same tenets.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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