When words fail: women, science, and women-in-science

Fantastic post, words shared here represent the frustrated voices of all women in science.

The Contemplative Mammoth

I don’t want to write about women in science today. I want to write about glaciers, or passenger pigeons, or the way the tilt of the earth is making the squirrels outside my window stash acorns, or about how sharks have been on this planet longer than trees, or why sometimes, the public doesn’t trust scientists.

You don’t get those posts today, because I’m a woman in science. Being a woman in science comes with expectations, you see. It comes with my own expectations for a fulfilling career, for having it all, for defining what that even means, and for doing it under my own terms, but those aren’t relevant.

Being a woman in science comes with the expectations others have for me, too, including that I not only must talk and act and dress in certain ways, but also that I work hard enough to justify investing in me even though I’m a pre-baby-incubator. Meanwhile…

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Gender balance among University Research Fellows- Where are we going wrong?

Last week, the Royal Society published the results of the latest group of researchers to be awarded University Research Fellowships (URF). This award offers stability to early career scientists by giving them 5 years of funding with the possibility to extend for a further 3 years, thereby creating the opportunity for a scientific career which could enable them to become leaders in their field.

Out of the 43 that were successful and awarded the fellowship, only 2 were women. The data published by the Royal Society, showing the number of female applicants awarded the fellowship over the past 4 years can be seen below.
Royal society fellowships history

So where are we going wrong? These statistics are not only very disappointing, they illustrate a confusing trend that once again flags up the “leaky pipeline” in science research. Twitter has been inundated with conversations about these statistics, if you haven’t been following our timeline, have a look for the many comments and join the conversation @WISEQMUL.

The response from the Royal Society came on Friday via Paul Nurse, whereby an investigation has now been launched. Is this drop in numbers of fellowships awarded to women just a fluke, or is it a result of increased Dorothy Hodgkins fellowshops being made available? You can be read the response here.