Dear fellow women in science,
The 7 March Nature is a special issue on Women In Science nature.com/women
Please take a look, and, if you like what you see, let people know.
We’re using the Twitter hashtag #Womeninscience
Here’s a summary:
A special section of Nature finds that there is still much to do to achieve gender equality in science.
Science remains institutionally sexist. Despite some progress, women scientists are still paid less, promoted less frequently, win fewer grants and are more likely to leave research than similarly qualified men. The reasons range from myriad forms of overt and covert discrimination to the unavoidable coincidence of the productive and reproductive years.
In this special issue (nature.com/women) Nature takes a hard look at the gender gap and at what is being done to close it. A survey of the situation (with an online interactive), reveals where progress has been made and where inequalities still lie, from salary to tenure. A News Feature reveals a particular dearth of women in some commercial spheres, such as on scientific advisory boards of biotech firms, and an essay by historian Patricia Fara traces the wearying stereotypes perpetuated by the biographers of women scientists.
A series of Comment articles looks at possible solutions. Neuroscientist Jennifer Raymond calls on both sexes to recognize and reduce their biases against women in science, and eight researchers from around the world offer their prescriptions, from equalizing the retirement age in China, to liberalizing travel restrictions in Saudi Arabia, to boycotting conferences that include no female speakers.
Brigitte Mühlenbruch and Maren A. Jochimsen catalogue some of the ambitious moves being made in Europe to get more women into top positions, such as Germany’s successful female professorship programme, and Isabel Vernos explores some surprising statistics questioning mandatory quotas. Finally, four profiles of successful 30-something women show how ambition and talent can trump obstacles. In an accompanying extended podcast Athene Donald and Uta Frith discuss their own experiences of the issues raised by these articles.
This special issue is dedicated to the memory of Maxine Clarke. In the 28 years Maxine spent championing the highest scientific standards as an editor at Nature, she was all too often the only one to ask, “Where are the women?”