Survey: UK Public is Unaware of Female Scientists
August 27, 2010 9:48 AM
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Dorothy Hodgkin, who discovered the structure of insulin
Survey indicates a majority of the British population cannot name one female scientist
According to a recent poll by
, a public opinion researcher from England, two-thirds of British population (who participated in the survey)
cannot name even one
famous female scientist.
The Royal Society
, which is a fellowship of individuals who represent all areas of science, organized this survey. The poll showed that almost half of the participants were able to identify at least one male scientist while two-thirds could not name even one female scientist.
Furthermore, 90 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds could not name a current or historical female scientist. Lorna Casselton, Vice President of the Royal Society, said these results were "frustrating."
The number of those who were aware of
scientific figures in the poll were very low, with 18 percent who identified Dorothy Hodgkin as the creator of the structure of insulin, and only six percent who identified Jocelyn Bell Burnell as the scientist who played a role in the discovery of pulsar stars.
Other results were that 20 percent of 1,000 adults chose "Nobel prize-winning scientist" as the best role model for their daughters. These adults were given six role model choices to choose from, ranging from doctor to lawyer and pop star to athlete. Almost half chose "life-saving
" as their first choice.
"People are still unaware of the contribution made by women to science in the past, [but] overall I am encouraged by the findings of this poll," said Casselton. "They suggest public perceptions of women in science are changing. [We] want to encourage more girls (and their parents) to see science as an achievable and desirable career path. Most importantly, we want to encourage them to see science not only as a fulfilling career, but one that can change the world and contribute to our quality of life."
In other news, the United States government is
encouraging Indian women
to enter science and technology-related fields by offering research fellowships and internships that could bring these women to the U.S. With support of the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, the U.S. embassy New Delhi created a one-day workshop about women in science where many young women in high school and above listened to female business leaders encourage them to "stick with science."
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RE: We're superficial
8/27/2010 10:21:03 AM
Academic science is also not exactly female friendly. The tenure committees are largely chaired by older men who grew up before the women's movement blew up to what it is today. If you're a woman planning on earning a PhD and then tenure, you can generally expect to forego motherhood. Men trying to make tenure regularly clock 60-80hr weeks in the lab for the 5-7 years leading up to their tenure review. A woman who values having a family can't compete with that. It's tough, and I'm glad I'm not a female scientist.
corduroygt: Women don't need to impress with looks if their publication list is extensive and in prominent journals... They exist, but the numbers game just doesn't play in their favor in scientific research.
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