Women are scientists too

By Heather Scroering

More often than not, I find myself saying, “What the hell? It’s 2012,” when I hear some Ann Romney-esque statement hindering the progress of women. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes right now, thinking, “Great, another feminist argument.” But seriously, it’s 2012, and sorry I’m not sorry for being women-friendly.

However, I am sorry to hear that women are underrepresented in one of the most important industries in existence: science. A recent Yale study indicates that men receive preferential treatment over women in science academia, as reported by The Chronicle on page 12.

While the study notes that the gender biases may not be a conscious or intended to squelch women’s success in the field, it is absolutely imperative that the industry work to create an equal balance of men and women in a field that affects every single entity in nature, both living and nonliving.

There is no question of the importance of equality of male and female scientists. A balance enables scientists to present new ideas to each other and work together to achieve optimal results. Moreover, both genders are equally represented in nature, so shouldn’t science faculties be seeking out more women to encourage equal representation in the study

of nature? There is no evidence that proves women are less skilled than men in math and science. But there’s a bigger issue here.

The problem is we can’t seem to move on from the typical stereotypes that women are less competent and would fare better doing something frivolous. But isn’t it true that women need to channel all of their energy and brainpower toward perfecting the most delectable spaghetti recipe to impress their husbands? No. That’s incredibly ridiculous, and the majority of American society usually does not overtly express sexist messages anymore.

But the subconscious stereotypes are still very much present and are just as dangerous, if not even more detrimental. If we don’t start actively stomping perceived gender roles altogether, we will fail future generations. All genders are responsible for this kind of progression, and it begins with children. When we tell them they can be anything they want to be—an eminent American message—we should mean it.

Society has come a long way as far as women in the workforce are concerned. But unfortunately, in 2012, we still aren’t all of the way there, and it’s disappointing. There are other countries that don’t have the same disparity of men and women in the sciences. Obviously America isn’t as progressive as it prides itself on being. Those responsible for preparing young scientists for the field should be considering the individual, regardless of gender. After all, science itself is genderless.