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: 1)

by on 2015-04-16 19:16 (#7704)

You've put some amazing thought into your response, needless to say I actually agree with a lot of it. There's a lot of intresting information here I would love to examine, mainly who has been nominated in the past and for what. That would be the best way to tell if there's some significant gender bias going on.

I've been involved in a lot of debates about women in the IT industry over the last year and one thing that's come up that I'd like to find a way to examine is, is there a lack of women joining IT because the industry is actual hostile to them, or is it because it's perceived to be hostile to them.

The media picks up and amplifies cases where women are mistreated, which if I was a young girl I'd might see and say, "Nope I'm not spending my career working in a job pinned to the ground level by people that hate me". It's interesting that young women aren't even going to university for IT. When I was in university there were only four women in my graduating year, vs. ~50 men. I sit on a scholarship committee that gives to women going into IT and we only get like two applications a year. We've had years with zero applications.

Is this something we can change the preception of?
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