The quality of writing on the topic of women in science/scicomm is often stellar on the web, but I’ve been especially impressed over the last two weeks.
Would menstruating women be able to fly well? Would the American public tolerate a woman dying in space? Clare Boothe Luce, in a piece in Life, noted that the main argument against sending American women into space was simply the presumption by men that men would make better astronauts.
It is important for women to become more assertive at faculty meetings, to negotiate starting salary, to argue for justice in the promotion process, as Sheryl Sandberg argues in Lean In. Still, when a female faculty member must leave a meeting early to pick up a toddler at child care or to pump breast milk for an infant, “leaning in” will not be enough to keep her on the same career track as a man.
The thought that anyone would take the way I look and my gender and use that to gauge my ability as a writer before actually reading anything I wrote was so completely absurd to me, that I didn’t even realize at first that it was happening.
Women in Science: A Spectrum of Reflection by four female postdocs, compiled at Dr. Brian Postdoc’s Blog.
I’ve always likened science to being a kind of calling. You don’t just do science 9-to-5 and then stop being a scientist when you go home at night. You don’t stop analyzing the world and being curious about it simply because it’s the weekend or you’re on vacation. However, while science can be a life calling, it need not be like the priesthood and demand vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Science is a passion for understanding and appreciating life to its fullest- so why should doing science limit actually having a life?
And just in case you don’t know about it, there is an amazing collaboration happening this year between illustrator Lisa Congdon and writer Maria Popova, called The Reconstructionists. They feature a different visionary woman every week, many of them scientists.