Women in Science

The discussion both in class and on the blog about women in science led me to find the article below and to consider my own experiences. The articles presents the results of a study in which it is shown that professors are less willing to hire and/or mentor female students, solely based on the fact that they are female. Although the results of the study are not hard to believe, they are contradictory to my personal experience as a female physics major. Growing up, no one ever tried to lead me away from math and science. It was clear that I was good at these subjects and was encouraged to pursue them. Even now, I have not had a classmate or fellow physics major imply that I was any less capable because I am a woman. I work in a research group within the physics department with only 9 members (including the professor and undergraduates), 4 of which are women (including myself). Maybe I have just gotten lucky enough to not run into the physicists who hold a negative opinion of women in science or maybe this is less common than the article would like us to believe. Have others found their experiences in the sciences or other majors controlled by men to be similar to mine or to those addressed by the article?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/science/bias-persists-against-women-of-science-a-study-says.html?_r=0

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One Response to Women in Science

  1. jenniferl0 says:

    I am a biochemistry major. It’s a major I would describe as being male dominated. So far I don’t think I’ve met anyone (professors, co-workers, or classmates) who has expressed they feel women are inferior in the sciences. I don’t think any female science major has either. However the article describes “The bias was pervasive, the scientists said, and probably reflected subconscious cultural influences rather than overt or deliberate discrimination.” So while professors won’t say that women are inferior in science, they may express it through their actions like offering less pay or hiring fewer women.
    Additionally, the test applications the researchers sent out was for the position of laboratory manager. All of the principle investigators I’ve met and most of my chemistry/biochemistry professors have been males, but in my classes and the labs I’ve worked in there’s an equal divide of male and females students and workers. This suggests that males and females start out with the same opportunities in science fields, but females are simply promoted less and hired less often for higher positions.

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