Every year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) send a series of surveys to students and researchers across the country. These surveys are used to monitor changing demographic data and track the level of financial support for scientific research. Anyone receiving NSF funding needs to fill out these surveys. The gender choices in these surveys are limited: males, females, and in some surveys, “reluctant to disclose.”
As scientists who exist outside the gender duality, many of us Do I want to reveal our gender, but cannot do so because these terms do not reflect our identity. Non-binary scientists and scientists other than gender binary experience gender beyond the typical gender dichotomy, and are often identified as transgender. Failure to accurately report our gender prevents the collection of accurate data for these organizations and further marginalizes non-binary scientists. Non-binary identities are becoming more and more common; Most non-binary people are under 29, The members of Generation Z are More than twice as likely Identified as non-binary, gender fluid, or incompatible with older generations.A recent study in Pittsburgh even found that almost One in ten young people Self-identified as gender diversity. It is time for NSF and NCSES to update their policies and language to better quantify and support this growing transgender and gender diverse population.
The lack of information about transgender and gender diversity scientists is both a symptom and a cause of widespread scientific rejection. By not collecting accurate gender data, NSF limits our ability to understand and quantify representation, funding differences, and retention, and ultimately prevents us from assessing and resolving any gaps. STEM inclusive research It was found that LGBTQ+ scientists have fewer resources and career opportunities, experience more harassment and exclusion at work, and are more likely to consider leaving their current jobs than heterosexual and cisgender peers.In addition, we learned from the communities in which we participate International Association of Non-Dual Scientists Non-binary researchers face obstacles in gender-segregated environments such as dormitories, conference accommodation, and field work. Accurate data from the NSF’s annual survey will enable us to better understand and advocate for our transgender and gender diverse scientific community.
Determining which multiple choice gender options to include is a common barrier to updating demographic surveys. We recommend a simple solution: rewrite the gender issue as a field so that everyone can accurately describe themselves.Ask “What is your gender?” Yes Feasible scale, Produce accurate results with Adapt to language changes over time. When open-ended questions are not feasible, we recommend expanding the list of gender options, such as “gender”, “gender variant”, “dual spirit”, “non-binary” and “gender queer” as well as “men” and “women” “. “There should also be an option to specify A selected name, And the name should be used in all communications. Respect chosen names, pronouns, and gender identity Essential to acceptance and dignity.
As scientists and scientific institutions, we must promote the collection of accurate data. Changing methods based on new information is the cornerstone of good science. The NSF is collecting inaccurate data: non-binary people who are neither male nor female must either incorrectly report their gender or not disclose it. NSF spokesperson Confirmed last year The agency is considering dividing the issue into two parts: “current gender identity” and “designated gender at birth”.Despite its popularity, the use of biological gender as a proxy for gender experience is not scientific, Obsolete and Often out of a desire for exclusionMost of the evidence supporting the two-step problem comes from transgender health research, and its findings may not be applicable outside of a medical background. An often cited study The intake table for sexual health clinics shows that a two-step problem resulted in a 4.8-fold increase in the number of identified transgenders, but the increased “non-binary/gender-queer” gender options accounted for more than half of the increase.
The context is also critical here: people willing to tell the doctor about their birth assignment may have a different view of the same question in the federal census. Transgender people often feel uncomfortable when asked about the gender they specified at birth, The non-binary scientists we know are usually reluctant to disclose it.In addition, although “transgender” is Not a stable or truly measurable category, Can collect this information directly and respectfully by asking optional questions “Do you consider yourself transgender?” Relying on the gender specified at birth to calculate who is and is not a gender minority will only create another artificial duality and flatten the experience of our community scientists.
On May 10th, we sent An open letter NSF and NCSES officials asked them to improve the way they collect gender data in official forms and surveys. Our letters to NSF and NCSES were signed by 413 transgender and gender diversity scientists and 2,280 cisgender scientists, most of which were also funded by NSF.Our proposed changes are in line with NSF 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, The organization is committed to “attracting, retaining and empowering a talented and diverse workforce.” Through these changes, NSF and NCSES can respectfully and accurately quantify gender diversity.
This is an opinion and analysis article; the views expressed by the author or author are not necessarily Scientific american.