• Question: Did people look down on you because you're a scientist and a girl?

    Asked by saarahmalik to Shonna, Marianne, Kate on 6 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 6 Jun 2019:


      I’ve been lucky enough to never experience anything like this directly, but unfortunately I know that this does happen. This shouldn’t be a deterrent to going into science though as almost every scientist I’ve ever met has been very friendly. A bit odd sometimes, but always friendly!

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      I am lucky that in pregnancy research there are far more female scientists than their are in other fields. This isn’t very surprising as its one of the only biomedical fields that deals only with women!
      Sexism in science definitely does still occur, but there are so many female scientists now that we can stand up for ourselves.

      On the plus side, my young nieces think its super cool that I’m a scientist! It’s great to be a role model to the next generation. Which is also why it’s important to do things like I’m A Scientist. Girls like you need to know that you can be a female scientist and that there’s lots of us out there who will support you in becoming one!

      There’s a great book called Inferior by Angela Saini about sexism in research. Not just about how female scientists have been treated in the past but also about how biased research is towards men. It’s a great read! She also has a new book about racism in science called Superior – that one is more about the science into the differences between races and how its all tainted by racism. It’s important to remember that scientists are people too and so many have prejudices that affect not only how they treat other scientists but how they interpret their research. We need to be aware of our biases and those of other scientists.

    • Photo: Shonna Johnston

      Shonna Johnston answered on 8 Jun 2019:


      I’ve never been looked down on for being a female scientist. Most people are usually interested in why I chose this as a career.
      When I was at school I was the only girl in my year interested in science so it seemed unusual but when I went to uni at least half the students were female.
      It can sometimes be hard to be recognised but I don’t think any more so than in other professions.
      Being a female technician is more of a challenge but I have a lot of experience in my field and once researchers realise this they tend to give you the respect you deserve.
      Definitely don’t see this as a problem if you are interested in pursuing a career in science.

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