This article considers the experiences of a group of womenscience students of color who reported encountering moral injustices, including misrecognition, lack of peer support, and disregard for their altruistic motives. We contend that university science departments face a moral imperative to cultivate equal relationships and the altruistic power of science.
The global community, from UNESCO to NGOs, is committed to promoting the status of women in science, engineering and technology, despite long-held prejudices and the lack of role models. Previously, when equality was not firmly established as a key issue on international or national agendas, women’s colleges played a great role in mentoring female scientists. However, now that a concerted effort has been made by governments, the academic community and the private sector to give women equal (...) opportunities, the raison d’être of women’s universities seems to have become lost. This paper argues otherwise, by demonstrating that women’s universities in Japan became beneficiaries of government initiatives since the early 2000s to reverse the low ratio of women in scientific research. The paper underscores the importance of the reputation of women’s universities embedded in their institutional foundations, by explaining how female scientific communities take shape in different national contexts. England, as a primary example of a neoliberal welfare regime, with its strong emphasis on equality and diversity, promoted its gender equality policy under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry. By contrast, with a strong emphasis on family values and the male-breadwinner model, the Japanese government carefully treated the goal of supporting female scientists from the perspective of the equal participation of both men and women rather than that of equality. Following this trend, rather contradictorily, women’s universities, with their tradition of fostering a ‘good wife, wise mother’ image, began to be highlighted as potential gender-free institutions that provided role models and mentoring female scientists. By drawing on the cases of England and Japan, this paper demonstrates how the idea of equality can be framed differently, according to wider institutional contexts, and how this idea impacts on gender policies. (shrink)
Women have always played an important role in Computer Science findings, but their importance has always been overshadowed by men. Nowadays, men outnumber women by 3 times on computing occupations in the US, but still women prove to be essential on the development of technological fields. This work intends to place women at the forefront of computer science’s history. In order to demonstrate that their work was essential for the development of current technologies, a (...) broad historical overview is given. This overview is chronologically and thematically structured in several periods, from the early computer machines to our current digital society. Finally, an outlook on the role of women in computing is given. A detailed discussion of individual contributions by women would go beyond the scope of this work. Nor can a sociological analysis of the reasons for the gender gap be provided. Nevertheless, the work wants to be more than a mere quantitative enumeration of women’s contributions to computer sciences. The essay wants to plea for the integration of these women in the literature, i.e., in the historiography of computer sciences, which requires to reconsider the self-image of this discipline. (shrink)
ArgumentThe history of Italian “popular science” publishing from the 1860s to the 1930s provides the context to explore three phenomena: the building of a scientific community, the entering of women into higher education, and scientists’ reaction to women in science. The careers of Evangelina Bottero and Carolina Magistrelli, science writers and teachers in an institute of higher education, offer hints towards an understanding of those interrelated macro phenomena. The dialogue between a case study and the (...) general context in a comparative perspective will help us understand why Italian scientists, in the last decades of the nineteenth century, unlike their British colleagues, did not close the doors of the university on women. The case confirms the history of so-called popular science as a useful tool for historians of science generally and also when dealing with the awakening of a new social actor: in this case the “new woman” who, from the 1870s, was determined to take up science in a professional capacity. (shrink)
On the surface, developing a social psychology of science seems compelling as a way to understand how individual social cognition – in aggregate – contributes towards individual and group behavior within scientific communities (Kitcher, 2002). However, in cases where the functional input-output profile of psychological processes cannot be mapped directly onto the observed behavior of working scientists, it becomes clear that the relationship between psychological claims and normative philosophy of science should be refined. For example, a robust body (...) of social psychological research demonstrates implicit gender bias in the evaluation of others (e.g., Steinpreis, Anders, & Ritzke, 1999). Many expected implicit bias to be a major cause of women’s underrepresentation in math intensive fields of science; however, quantitative sociological research of hiring and manuscript and grant evaluation has discovered no gender disparity in outcomes (Ceci & Williams, 2011). Why might this be so? This paper will discuss methodological challenges that go beyond classic problems of external validity in extrapolating psychological effects and explanations to scientific communities. These problems include more complex external validity issues raised by the introduction of multi-process models of cognition (e.g., implicit versus explicit social cognition) as well as the reflexive role that folk and experimental theories of social psychology play in guiding the behavior of scientists at the individual and community level. (shrink)
The Natuurkundig Genootschap der Dames , formally established by and for women, met regularly from 1785 to 1881 and sporadically until 1887. It challenges our stereotypes both of women and the physical sciences during the eighteenth century and of the intellectual interests open to women in the early European republics. This essay aims not simply to identify the society and its members but to describe their pursuits and consider what their story adds to the history of Western (...)science. What does this society’s existence tell us about the relationship between women and early science in general and about science and society in the Dutch setting in particular? Science and gender look rather different when observed through the activities of the immensely prosperous women of Middelburg, citizens of one of the most highly literate Western countries. The elite lives of the first‐generation members of the women’s society also offer us a glimpse into the early domestication of science, a process vital to its acceptance and assimilation. (shrink)
Women make up about ten per cent of the scientists and engineers in Japan. The aim of this essay is to make clear why, even in the year 2001, there are so few women in these disciplines. I will suggest that the socio-economic structure and gender ideology of Japan since the Second World War is responsible for this shortage which is often erroneously attributed to the cultural traditions of feudal Japan.
Science is an intensely social activity. Professional relationships are essential forscientific success and mentors areindispensable for professional growth. Despitethe scientific ethos of universalism andinclusion, American women scientists frequentlyexperience isolation and exclusion at some timeduring their academic career. By contrast,male scientists enjoy informal but crucialsocial networks. Female scientists developnecessary strategies and defences, but manyleave or achieve less success in science whendeprived of necessary interpersonalconnections. There is indication that changewithin departments is occurring, but this isdependent upon institutional leadership.
Sandra Harding here develops further the themes first addressed in her widely influential book, The Science Question in Feminism, and conducts a compelling analysis of feminist theories on the philosophical problem of how we know what we ...
This essay is a critical review of Sandra Harding's The Science Question in Feminism. Her text constitutes a monumental effort to capture an overview of recent feminist critique of science and to develop a feminist dialectical and materialist conception of the history of masculinist science. In this analysis of Harding's work, the organizing categories as well as the main assumptions of the text are reconstructed for closer examination within the context of modern feminist critique of science (...) and feminist theory in general. Although a postive review of Harding's text is presented, questions are raised concerning the adequacy of socialist feminist assumptions for such a project, the limitations of Harding's theorization of gender, and the appropriateness of "postmodernism" as a final category of residence. (shrink)
The beginning of the twentieth century saw the emergence of the discipline of genetics. It is striking how many female scientists were contributing to this new field at the time. At least three female pioneers succeeded in becoming professors: Kristine Bonnevie (Norway), Elisabeth Schiemann (Germany) and the Tine Tammes (The Netherlands). The question is which factors contributed to the success of these women's careers? At the time women were gaining access to university education it had become quite the (...) norm for universities to be sites for teaching and research. They were still expanding: new laboratories were being built and new disciplines were being established. All three women benefited from the fact that genetics was considered a new field promising in terms of its utility to society; in the case of Tammes and Schiemann in agriculture and in the case of Bonnevie in eugenics. On the other hand, the field of genetics also benefited from the fact that these first female researchers were eager for the chance to work in science and wanted to make active contributions. They all worked and studied in environments which, although different from one another, were positive towards them, at least at the start. Having a patron was generally a prerequisite. Tammes profited from her teacher's contacts and status. Bonnevie made herself indispensable through her success as a teacher and eventually made her position so strong that she was no longer dependent on a single patron. The case of Schiemann adds something new; it shows the vulnerability of such dependency. Initially, Schiemann's teacher had to rely on the first generation of university women simply because he was unable to attract ambitious young men to his institute. In those early, uncertain years of the new discipline, male scientists tended to choose other, better established, and more prestigious disciplines. However, when genetics itself had become an established field, it also became more attractive to men. Our case studies also demonstrate that a new field at first relatively open to women closes its doors to them once it becomes established. (shrink)