Women scientists need a greater voice

Science Politics

Julia, bgci@inquirebotany.org | 14/07/11 | Worldwide

Despite decades of awareness, science is still inherently sexist. Women are vastly under-represented in professorships and in national academies worldwide. This is a familiar problem, but less highlighted is how the discrepancy plays out in the public arena of science. Writing in Nature, Jennifer Rohn, a cell biologist at University College London, claims that male science pundits dominate television, radio and print. She says that this imbalance cannot simply be explained by the shortage of female professors, as many male pundits are still at an early stage of their academic careers, when genders are better balanced. So what is behind this invisibility of women scientists in the media? And why does it matter? Jennifer ponders on whether it is a question of confidence — one that does not seem to bother most men. She also says that women may also be uncomfortable with the cut and thrust of conflict and debate. Can IBSE help address this?



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