Sexism: Flagging gender bias doesn't always work

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As a female scientist, I find it demotivating to read well-intended articles that reiterate examples of gender bias and the extra pressures on women scientists. In my view, a change in perspective is called for.

Gender bias and sexism occur in many different disciplines and settings. Statistics and behavioural studies confirm that women are under-represented in science because many leave their jobs before they reach senior academic positions.

The fact that women have a statistically lower chance of success in research exacerbates the huge stress that besets any scientist as a result of the pressures to publish, to acquire funding, to teach and to specialize. Journals and magazines rarely miss a chance to remind women how hostile some environments can be to them, even when they are well-equipped to pursue a career in science (see, for example, Nature 541, 455457; 2017). I personally find such reminders intimidating.

I suggest instead that focused networking events for women and publicizing the achievements of working female scientists would help to overcome the isolation of women academics and make them feel more a part of the scientific community.

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  1. St Gallen, Switzerland.

    • Greta Faccio

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