Female Scientists Face Bias

5 Oct

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

I remember when I was a little girl thinking that I wasn’t good at math and science. This was mostly because I believed girls just weren’t good at math or science. In my mind it was okay because girls were good and art and English, subjects I would rather be good at anyway.

Why did I believe this? Because teachers told me.

I remember my teachers saying that boys thought math and science were easier, while girls thought English was easier. Looking back, I know this gave me a license to not try as hard in math and science. If I was doomed to be bad, why even try? This societal gender bias held me back in my studies. The article I found says female scientists, even accomplished ones, are held back by gender bias, too.

Society has programmed us to think of women as dumb and clueless and of men as the scientists and innovators. Women in science were less desired as employees and received lower pay. The worst part of the study was that even female scientists were biased against their own sex. Female science professors have lower expectations of their female students then their male students.

What can we do to change this perception? Women should be free to excel in all fields, and not be held back just because of gender bias.

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5 Responses to “Female Scientists Face Bias”

  1. maliakmanor October 6, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    I never understand this:
    How can women go through discriminatory circumstances, like a female scientist going through schooling where they are patronized and belittled, and then implement the exact bias in the same situation, as opposed to changing it?

    It frustrates me when victims encourage victimization.
    I think this is true with several stereotypes.

    In addition, I completely agree. I always thought I wasn’t capable of science because that was what I was told. Males were always applauded in class and women were ignored. I supposed they thought we weren’t headed toward bigger and better things, instead lots of babies and home-cooked meals.

  2. Beth Mathavich October 7, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I may have been deprived on being taught about the women’s suffrage movement, but at least I was never told that I couldn’t be good at math or science. I think that it’s terrible that teachers would categorize subjects based on gender. I went to art school for a couple of years, and there were just as many talented men as there were talented women. I don’t see art as a female dominated subject, but I guess I was brought up differently.

    I hate that it is said that a female scientist is somehow inferior to a male scientist. Gender has nothing to do with it, and intelligence has everything to do with it. And to the dismay of men, women are capable of being just as intelligent (if not more) as men. It’s sad that even in the world that we live in today, women are just as discriminated against as they were 100 years ago. If its not for our lack of strength, it’s for our lack of intelligence. I don’t see what is so complicated about seeing everyone as equal on all levels.

  3. lisaanneryan October 9, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    I don’t know when I realized that math is stereotypically male and English is stereotypically female, but I agree that there never seemed to be a push for me to be good at math. I have always been bad at math, but it was excused because I was good at English. I wish someone, like a teacher, would have said I can and will be good at math. Instead, the gender discrimination continued. Now I am in an English-based major. My boyfriend is going to school for engineering and says it is rare to see a woman in any of his classes. I wonder when this will change.

    • cassiedebolt October 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      My fiance says the same thing as an engineering major and even went so far as to say the professors at his school discourage women from staying in the engineering program and push them for less math based programs. I know professors can give their opinions but pushing women in a different direction because they are women seems wrong.

  4. cassiedebolt October 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    My fiance and I just talked about something similar to this a few days ago. I wondered why they didn’t see our aptitudes in younger grades and use those to our advantage instead of basing it on gender. I was good at reading but terrible at language arts when I was little. He was really good at reading and terrible at math. Instead of using that to their advantage, he got pushed into math and science and is going to school to be an engineer while I was pushed into reading and language arts and am a political science major. Isn’t it in a way setting people up to fail? If he ended up being terrible at math, he would have missed out on the “reading based” education I got and he would be put well behind everyone else.

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