Growing up, I had never felt like anything was preventing me from becoming a scientist. I felt as though women had equal opportunity to become scientists, and that they could do so just as easily as men. I still certainly had a great respect and appreciation for women scientists in history, as evidenced by the fact that I chose Marie Curie on dress up as a famous person day in fourth grade. Yet I certainly did not grasp the full extent of the struggles early women scientists like Marie Curie faced, and the fact that these struggles are far from over for women in science. Although there has been a rapid improvement in equality for women scientists in recent years, the male precedent that has been set in science is certainly not yet overcome.
In our society today, science is still largely dominated by males. The number of male professionals in many fields of science is still much greater than the number of females. Although the number of women in life sciences, such as biology, is approaching 50%, women are largely outnumbered in most other fields of science. But why is this the case? In our country, at least, women are offered equal education to men. They should technically have equal opportunity to become scientists. Yet, the cultural standard that has been established that science is undeniably male is far from demolished. Because of this precedent, women tend to gravitate away from these male dominated fields, sometimes without even realizing it.
Another obstacle is the lack of female role models for prospective young female scientist to look up to. This is do to the lack of female professionals in the field, and the underrepresentation of females in the history of science. Upon any google search of famous scientists, a long list of predominantly white males appears. Why are women so underrepresented in the publicized history of science? It is true that women have historically not had equal opportunity and education to become scientists. Yet, there are certainly many, especially in the past 50 or so years, who have made extraordinary contributions to science. With the exception of Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, I had never heard of most of the women scientists mentioned in our lecture on Monday, and certainly not known of their influential contributions. It is not that these women have less remarkable achievements than their male counterparts, but they seem to have been simply overlooked, or even excluded, from the history of science that is commonly known and taught.
Without even realizing it, our society continues to portray science as a predominantly male domain. This portrayal only continues to further the problem, because instead of highlighting the important role women have played in science, it diminishes it. We need to be more recognizant of the influential contributions women have had in science up to this point, and therefore encourage increased involvement of women in science in the future. Female scientists should be rightly acknowledged and praised for their work, creating inspiration to bring the participation of women to rival that of men in the field of science.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.