Dear Colleagues, 

I am pleased to include another issue of RFS Briefings with some timely and encouraging updates on women in science. 

In honor of Black History Month we continue to highlight the leadership and contributions of Black women in science. Please take some time this month to watch several impressive presentations we have hosted in the past year.

Please continue to share important news and opportunities with us so that we may share it with you, and others who are committed to supporting the careers of exceptional women in science. 

Stay safe and sound

Karla Shepard Rubinger
Executive Director
Rosalind Franklin Society


Female scientists can advance by saying: ‘Yes, I’ll do it’

In this article, Pontsho Maruping, deputy managing director of operations and business processes at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) in Cape Town, describes a career transition from mining to space, and how she juggles the expectations of male and female colleagues. Maruping’s career story is the fourth of eight in a series of articles in Nature that profiles female scientists in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more.

Fifteen articles to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Friday, February 11, 2022, was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and Orion Magazine staff pulled together fifteen of our favorite features on female leadership in the sciences. Read more.

Markita del Carpio Landry: Representation and responsibility in STEM.

“The strongest role model that I’ve had in my life is my mom,” says Markita del Carpio Landry. “She was born at a time and a place in Bolivia where careers—especially careers in cutting-edge technologies like computer science—were extraordinarily rare and completely unheard of for women.” Read more.

A day in the life of a CEO: Connecting with users while managing a business with Vlada Bortnik.
Vlada Bortnik is co-founder and CEO of Marco Polo, the popular video communication app that is changing the paradigm for millions of people about how we stay in touch. Read more.

President Terri Goss Kinzy named to National Academies committee.
Illinois State University President Terri Goss Kinzy will chair a national committee examining the long-term impact of the pandemic on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers for women. Read more.

Mathematician Bianca Viray invites everyone to the table.
Bianca Viray is a 2020 Simons Fellow in Mathematics. Viray is also an active organizer in the mathematical community, especially as a proponent against racial and gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the field. In 2022, she was named an Association for Women in Mathematics Fellow. Read more.

Nasal spray booster keeps COVID-19 at bay.
Akiko Iwasaki, a speaker at our year-end conference last year who works at HHMI, a member of our Council of Academic Institutions, developed a new vaccine strategy in mice that uses an mRNA coronavirus vaccine injection. This approach protected mice from disease caused by exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Read more.

Science & PINS Prize for Neuromodulation.
Apply today for the 2022 Science-PINS Prize for Neuromodulation! The winner is awarded US$25,000 and publication of their essay in the journal Science. Read more.

Woman- and POC-owned VC and private equity firms have hit an all-time high—but they still raise just a sliver of overall funding.
There were at least 627 private-equity and venture-capital firms majority-owned by women and/or ethnic minorities in the United States in 2021, up 25% from a year earlier and an all-time high, according to a new annual report published by Fairview. Read more.

Biden’s top science adviser resigns after acknowledging demeaning behavior.
Eric S. Lander, the president’s top science adviser, resigned after acknowledging that he had demeaned and disrespected his colleagues, behavior that prompted immediate questions about how he could keep his job given President Biden’s promise to fire any aide who disrespected others. Read more.

The pioneering women of stellar astronomy.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, a team of scholars at the Harvard College Observatory analyzed nearly half a million  photographs of the stars. These astronomers discovered the types of stars, created the first modern catalog of stars, and ultimately even discovered what stars are made of. They were all women. Read more.

Eunice Newton Foote’s long-forgotten climate-science discovery.
Born on 17 July 1819 in Goshen, Connecticut, Foote was an American amateur scientist, inventor and women’s rights campaigner, but for far too long her contribution to climate science had been lost to history. Read more.

Marcia McNutt re-elected President of the National Academy of Sciences.

During her tenure, McNutt has overseen many key initiatives and landmark reports on critical issues such as climate change, sexual harassment in academia, research integrity and excellence, strategic science in times of crises, and science education. She also has stepped up efforts to communicate science to the public and combat misinformation.Read more.

Women are indispensable to health and biotech. Yet, they’re still underrepresented.
“On average, women account for 47% of total employees at member companies,” according to BIO’s Right Mix Matters report. “While this overall data on gender representation seems to suggest the industry is approaching parity, a deeper look reveals that women become scarcer in the upper ranks. They make up less than a third (31%) of executive team members and only 23% of CEOs.” Read more.

5 pioneering women of color in STEM you might never have heard of.
In commemoration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, on February 11, Global Citizen wants to introduce you to five incredible women of color who have shaped (and are still shaping) the course of history through science. Read more.

Sigal Barsade, 56, dies; argued that it’s OK to show emotions at work.
Sigal Barsade was a pioneer in what organizational psychologists call the affective revolution: the study of how emotions, not just behavior and decision making, shape a workplace culture. Read more.

Astia releases Astia Edge pilot findings: Our Failure To Invest in Black Founders, and What We Have Done About It.
These are the findings from a pilot launched when Astia uncovered racial bias within their own investment process. See what VCs can do to level the playing field for black Female Founders here. Read more.

Smithsonian honors female scientists with 120 bright orange statues.

The 3-D–printed figures honor a diverse group of women who have excelled in science and technology, from biologists that track endangered species to astronomers searching for extraterrestrial life. The project is a collaboration between the Smithsonian and If/Then, an initiative “designed to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers.” Read more. Image by If/Then

Pandemic-related barriers to the success of women in research: a framework for action.
Women in academia have fallen behind with publications and grant funding during the COVID-19 pandemic and risk dropping out of the research workforce altogether, unless urgent action is taken by institutes and funders, according to researchers. Read more.

Katalin Karikó: Covid-19 vaccine pioneer urges more girls and young women to take up science.
The pioneering researcher whose work on messenger RNA technology formed the basis for both the Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines has urged more girls and young women to follow in her footsteps and forge a career in the sciences. Read more. Click here to view her RFS presentation.

Marianna Limas, Social Media Manager
Nilda Rivera, Partnership and Events Manager