By Siouxsie Wiles 16/12/2015

Science IS sexist. Fullstop. There is an abundance of evidence that it is more difficult for women working in science to get jobs, funding and published, just because they are women. So the question is, how are we going to fix the problem?

Dr Nicola Gaston, Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University Wellington and former president of the New Zealand Association of Scientists, outlines the evidence for science being sexist in her excellent little book ‘Why Science is Sexist’, just published by Bridget Williams Books. She also outlines some pretty simple ideas for how to fix the problem, and they don’t just involve shoving more women into the ‘leaky’ pipeline. One simple suggestion is to get those with decision-making powers to become more aware of their unconscious biases.

We see the first logical step in this process to be getting Nicola’s book to those with decision making powers and this is where we need your help. We have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to send the book to academics in decision-making roles who have the power to make real change now. We’ve identified several hundred academics in New Zealand we’d like to send a copy to, and reached an agreement with the publisher,  who will send out the books on our behalf for a discounted price. Donors will get an e-copy of the book too. We don’t think our vision should be limited to New Zealand so donors overseas can nominate someone they want the book sent to.

Thanks for your support!


0 Responses to “Busting sexism in science”

  • Science is sexist full stop.

    Absolutist statement.

    I have been working in science for over a decade, and in study before that. Lowest ratio of females in my teams was 50% highest 95%, university was 95% female. A recent conference i attended for my specialty was over 85% female.

    My site is about 40% female and a large proportion of new recruits are female. Our graduate program is at least 50% female.

    My teams are paid within the same scales for the same jobs. My full time managers have all been female and all paid much higher on a much higher scale than me.

    Maybe instead of saying ‘science’ you need to be more specific than that.

    • I don’t really think that your personal observations (4-5 examples) can accurately represent the wider science community. Sexism is a societal problem and while maybe your department is very progressive that doesn’t mean science as a whole is.

  • Our culture is sexist.
    Woman have been objectified, look at the mind programming of the 1900’s media which depicted woman as “man slaves” subservient to the dominant male, then the media went on to depict woman as sex objects, nowdays the female action hero is depicted as attractive, violent,psychopathic,unfeeling, cruel and aggressive( James bond in a female body).

    Look at the sexist religions of the world ( none of the “holy” books were written by god but by the ruling elite ).
    All part of the “divide and conquer” strategy that works so well.
    I would suggest that John Key, after his high profile media propagation of sexism from a position of power, should be a donor and nominate Mr Rothschild, Mr Rockefeller the other 11 male heads of the Bank of England’s Crown corporation.

  • Sometimes just the awareness of the ignorance of reducing people to labels such as a gender (with all the conditioned cultural beliefs) can be enough to change the thoughts/feelings.

  • John Key should definitely sponsor Rockefeller as the WCC Rockefeller infiltration/takeover of WCC placed an unqualified waste management man into a position of providing for the “needs of the vulnerable” . Not only does the govt think the vulnerable are garbage the placement of a totally unqualified man into a govt position ” disability, health and social welfare ” is seen as normal by the WCC and central govt .

    Woman in politics are given all the corporation’s troublesome and “austerity” portfolios ( The NZ police state, education charter schools, health privatization and failures of education,cuts to social welfare ).

  • No “fight” is necessary though just awareness of erroneous beliefs can help free one’s mind of the deeply embedded cultural conditioning.
    Most men do not want to admit woman ( in science)can be unfairly disadvantaged by the cultural belief system imposed by a patriarchal hierarchy of media, corporate funding, money and power.
    The fight against drugs, the fight against terrorism all these movements have increased the undesired thing, as that is what those in power who own the msm wanted.
    Fighting terrorism with terrorism ??! Its fighting ignorance with ignorance.

    Dr Gaston provides the solution to sexism to make the unconscious conscious.
    Bring the dark into the light.

  • rubbish. Science is not sexism. Scientists, particular Institutions might be sexist but science isn’t. This sort of rubbish generalisation percolates down to undergrads and encouraged precisely the wooly thinking that perpetuates the very problem. Desperation and polarisation has a one sided political agenda and invites equally irrational responses.

    • Are semantics important here? Science the idea cannot be sexist sure, but if 100% of institutions were sexist would it matter the distinction between “science is sexist” and “scientific institutions are sexist”?

      Saying science is sexist is not what discourages people from science, it is the effects of this unconscious sexism.

  • Wow, sending books to people who don’t want to read them! Sounds like a winning strategy! You can send a book to a decision maker, but you can’t make it drink … er, I mean you can’t make him (or perhaps her) read!

    No wonder Trump is so popular – it is the backlash to all this overly pc nonsense against sexism, racism, etc. Don’t get me wrong, those things are wrong, but two wrongs don’t make a right.