a woman in science != women in science

I’ve been wanting to put my thoughts down on this matter for a while, so here goes. First, a little background: I’m a woman in science, but I hardly ever feel like I’m part of this Women in Science collective that is – rightly so – gaining weight (or at least has been given a voice) amongst the community. It’s an awkward position to be in, and this post is about just that.

The internet is awash with informative discussions and insights on gender biases and women issues within the academic world. If you take the time to read them you’ll find this is a serious issue, that this is driving many women away from an academic career, and that this is ultimately affecting the progress of science – not to mention these women’s lives! I feel sympathetic about this issue in principle, because I feel that everyone who is good at science should be able to pursue it as a career. But it’s a sort of distant sympathy, like that I feel for social mobility issues, or matters of social benefits.

I’ve never had to claim benefits (nor loose them), and I’ve never had to struggle with social mobility. Similarly, I’ve never had any hint, any smallest, tiniest affliction for being a woman in science. Never. The difference, of course, is that I am a woman, and I am a scientist.

Continue reading