Women And Science

science toys for boys

See: Einstein’s reply to a little girl who told him she wanted to be a scientist, quoted by Brain Pickings

what does it do

You probably saw the headline a while back which told us that Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students. Scientific American summed it up nicely and explained its importance.

You may have heard various arguments to justify the paucity of women in top science jobs. They were summed up nicely by Lawrence Summers, details of which can be found at the Lawrence Summers entry at the Geek Feminism Wiki. There were lots of people talking about it.

Geek Feminism Wiki also has the following lists:

Here’s an interesting podcast between Kim Hill and British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell in which these two educated women talk first about star dust and then about Bell Burnell’s career in science as a woman.

A female science professor at a large university explains how she became an invisible woman. (Anyone else experience this lately? I was ignored at our local bank when I went in with my husband to set up a joint business account, for our joint business, and again just a few weeks ago when a man came to the house to talk manly thinks with the man of the house: solar panels. I walked off after a while. He told my husband he ‘Hoped he hadn’t upset his wife.’)

Ada Lovelace Day was created to increase the visibility of women in scientific fields.

Where Girls Do Better Than Boys In Science, from Mother Jones, from which you should draw the conclusion that scientific aptitude is cultural, not innate.

Female students just as successful as males in math and science, Asian-Americans outperform all, from e! Science News

How Cultural Stereotypes Lure Women Away From Careers in Science, Time Health and Family

Why aren’t there more women at STEM conferences?: This time, it’s statistical, from Feministing

Why We Need More Geek Girls Like Willow from Bitch Media. Also, because this is what little girls see all over the damn place:

girl book boy book

Harrods, you suck.

And let’s not forget, so do little boys.

Institutionalised sexism is why special effort needs to go towards equal gender representation on things like science panels. We’re constantly told by People Who Know Things that this is very hard, since women are equal but different. Yet over at Skepchick, UAJamie explains in a very logical and reasonable way how it’s not actually hard, starting first by Proving and Quantifying Sexism. Also, other organisations have done it. Here’s how Etsy grew their numbers of female engineers by almost 500% in one year.

Here’s a telling graph, from Explore. It hasn’t always been thus!

The rapid decline in girls’ enrollment in science, technology, engineering, and math classes – and how to fix it.

Here’ is the Periodic Table Of Elements drawn as people women. Cool stuff, shared by The Mary Sue

Editor fills a gap in science coverage for women, from News Observer.

See also: The Double X Science website.

Women Who Changed the World Through Science: Rachel Zimmerman from Science Blogs

And this, from The Problem With Highlight Beauty Along With Brains, at Life As An Extreme Sport:

So apparently Business Insider thought that they would do the world a solid and highlight the fact that scientists can be attractive, sexy people, too. … Business Insider is trying to cast this list of sexy scientists as some sort of outreach list – people who are sexy, who make science sexy. The problem is, it’s alienating as fuck. Suddenly, there’s one more area of life to be judged by looks rather than anything else, and for many people, especially many women, science has been a refuge where brains are what matter (or at least what matter first). Unlike many areas of life, in science, what you can do matters more than how you look.

Where Have All The Role Models For Girls Gone? from Shelley Emling. Fortunately io9 has published at least ten (fictional) female scientists we wanted to be when we grew up.

The Finkbeiner Test for determining any sexist bias in a newsitem about a female scientist, because ” You’ve seen these profiles, of course you have, because they’re everywhere. The hallmark of “A lady who…” profile is that it treats its subject’s sex as her most defining detail. She’s not just a great scientist, she’s a woman! And if she’s also a wife and a mother, those roles get emphasized too.” from Double X Science. Here’s more commentary on The Finkbeiner Test from National Geographic. And then The New York Times Failed Miserably in its obituary for rocket scientist Yvonne Brill.

Women In Science: Women’s Work from Nature, who do acknowledge that, ‘there is still much to do to achieve gender equality in science’. Here it is quantified. See also these women who combine childcare with science careers — an article which definitely does not pass the Finkbeiner Test, but unfortunately articles such as these are still necessary. We’ll know gender equality has been achieved when they’re not, or when we see articles about how men manage to combine families with science careers.

Women and Science: A New Conversation from Nancy W Mendoza, who wrote an MSc dissertation in 2005 about the under-representation of women and science. “I worry though that parents and children are still not teaching daughters to believe in themselves and be confident in their interests and their intellect. Toy shops are still segregated, playground chatter still focuses on what’s okay for boys and what’s okay for girls.”

CNN asks Why are there still so few women in science and tech?

Opening A Gateway For Girls In Tech from NYT.

Portrayals of women in science(y) films from Girls, Interrupting

Women love science! What a surprise, from The Independent

How Children Learn Scientific Thinking From Their Parents: ‘parents of girls tended to be more absolutist when talking about morals than were the parents of boys. In contrast, boys’ parents were more absolutist when talking about global warming than the parents of girls.’ — Research Digest

Top Ten Gifts To Empower Girls: Science Is A Girl Thing, from Toward The Stars

How to Encourage Girls to Enjoy Science and Math

American women are leaving academic science, including the social sciences, in alarming numbers. from The Pink and Blue Diaries

WOMEN WHO CHANGED SCIENCE NOW BEAUTIFUL MINIMALIST POSTERS from The Mary Sue

The Job You Never Realised You Had from The F Bomb

How Hollywood Helps Deter Women from Computer Science from Jezebel

3 responses to “Women And Science

  1. Thanks for this and all the links, I’m finding it very enlightening.

  2. Very late to the game here – do you know if there’s an updated version of the graph from Explore? Interested to see how it’s varied in the last 50 years.

    Great resource, thanks!