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 2015-04-18 17:10 (#7AT5)

You make a good point. However, in my experience men and women and ratios of men and women do make a difference at work because of different styles of individual and group behaviors, communication, etc. Whether the ultimate cause of this is nature or nurture. I am actually surprised at the implication that gender is a completely neutral factor in your workplaces because that hasn't been my experience. Maybe that reflects on me though.For what it's worth, here is an example anecdote from my workplace. We have a male Commissionaire at the entrance to our building. I have always had an easy experience in my interactions with him, but other colleagues of mine have not. The ones with the most difficulties are all diminutive women, it made me wonder if we were being treated differently principally on the basis of gender.
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