• Question: Did you ever got discriminated at some point of your life for being a female scientist?

    Asked by AndreaYngsLdzm to Miriam, Laura, Kathryn on 14 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Laura Kent

      Laura Kent answered on 14 Nov 2018: last edited 14 Nov 2018 8:52 am


      Luckily I havent been – or at least I am not aware of it! But thats not to say that it doesnt happen.
      I have always had access to great role models, both female and male, who supported me and encouraged my science career!
      Its terrible that it happens and I hope one day it gets stamped out. But it is rare and is changing! If I see it now days it tends to be old men who havent changed but I call it out. Its important to not allow it to happen if you see it.
      There are lots of programmes that are aimed at removing any biases that remain, not just restricted to gender, and to make science more equal. The Royal Society of Chemistry launched a report earlier this week on Chem Equality which at the moment is focused on Women in Chemistry but aims to expand it further.
      Also, I suggest you read ‘Inferior’ by Angela Saini – its a really interesting read!

    • Photo: Kathryn Coldham

      Kathryn Coldham answered on 14 Nov 2018:


      Good question! I don’t think I have been and everyone who I have worked with in my research are lovely and have not treated me any differently for being a woman. Unfortunately, that’s not the same experience as other women working in other places have had. Things are improving for women working in science subjects but there’s still much more improvement to be made. Science is definitely male-dominated, which I have noticed much more as I’ve got older (e.g. I attend a joint lecture series with PhD students from 3 other universities. Of a total of about 23 students, there are just three women (including myself)). But hopefully things will improve and become more diverse soon.

      I’d also like to recommend a mentoring scheme run by Stemettes (https://stemettes.org/). Stemettes help to encourage more girls to go into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. Students get paired with women who work in STEM, so they can be mentored over a period of about 4 months. As a former mentor myself, I really recommend it for students!

      Please feel free to ask any more questions, happy to answer any 🙂

    • Photo: Miriam Hogg

      Miriam Hogg answered on 15 Nov 2018:


      I haven’t really no, the atmosphere for females is a lot better now that it was a few years ago, its only getting better as being a female in science becomes normal rather than unusual. When I was in high school I often got silly comments from boys (I was the only female in my computer class). By the time I got to university most people had grown up and I haven’t had any comments from any student or lecturer about it. Some of the older generations still sometimes think that women can’t be scientists but those people tend to be in the minority and often they have a reputation for it so women are warned. In the next 10 years most of those people will retire so it should get even better.

      Other countries haven’t quite caught up with the women in science idea so the women I know who have had comments have often had them from scientists in those countries.

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