Claims of gender bias in Canada's Science Hall of Fame nomination process

in science on (#75J7)
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports that two researchers have stepped down from the Science Hall of Fame selection panel over claims that cultural bias is limiting the number of female researchers nominated for the honour. No female researchers have been nominated for two years running and former panelists Judy Illes and Catherine Anderson argue in their resignation statements that the lack of nominations reflects a cultural bias that fails to reflect the contributions women make to science nationally and globally.

Anecdotally, the gender bias claims echo how the work of Rosalind Franklin was rewarded in her lifetime following the discovery of the structure of DNA. As a Wikipedia summary notes: "Franklin is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA while at King's College, London, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix. According to Francis Crick, her data and research were key in determining the structure. Watson confirmed this opinion in his own statement at the opening of the King's College London Franklin-Wilkins building in 2000 and formulating Crick and James Watson's 1953 model regarding the structure of DNA. Franklin's images of X-ray diffraction, confirming the helical structure of DNA, were imprudently shown to Watson by Wilkins without her permission. Her work was published third, in the series of three DNA Nature articles, led by the paper of Watson and Crick. Watson, Crick and Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Watson suggested that Franklin would have ideally been awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Wilkins."

Re: A couple years ago (Score: 2)

by on 2015-04-16 14:54 (#76DX)

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not criticizing you for posting the story. I'm criticizing the CBC, and media in general, for creating an state of affairs that I CAN'T take this article at face value. If it's true, I'm pretty appalled as well.

Being skeptical doesn't mean I don't believe the story isn't a possibility, but it could be a women hasn't been nominated/won and award for a number of reasons, but the CBC is most likely just focusing on the gender side of things as a method to piss people off and generate clicks at the expense of the reputations of those that sit on the nomination committees. I highly doubt they all sit around tempeling their fingers scheming ways to keep women out while muttering, "Excellent", when a women doesn't win the nomination.

Instead of looking at whether women have been nominated in the last two years, I'd like to look at who was nominated and for what reason. Maybe, the nominations were fairly given out, but it just happens some people were more deserving and happened to be male. I tried to go look it up, but unfortunately Google is now full of articles parroting each other about the committee members that resigned. So I'll have to go back to it to investigate when I have more time.

That brings up another issue with media publications as well. One prints a faluty story with little fact or mostly incorrect facts and other publications jump on it and print the same stories without doing their own independent fact checking. By the time anyone knows there was something wrong with the original story it's reached critical mass and people are losing their minds about it. Then the original publication will make a small correction to the article, no ones the wiser, but the public's still calling for blood based off fault information.

Anyway, sorry for the rant, I didn't mean to seem like I was coming down on you for posting the article.
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