In yesterday’s women in science lunch, we ended with this question: Why do so many women remain silent about all the day-to-day micro-inequities and minor discriminations and injustices they deal with. Ignoring the obvious (it’s really hard to report someone for a million small things that can be blamed on “Oh, he was just in a bad mood), there are also many other reasons to remain silent.

I long ago recognized that institutional bias against women – a bias that is often unconscious and unintentional – is something that is almost universal. Some institutions, when they recognize there is a problem, respond by working to positively change the institution. This occurred at MIT when it was realized that women were systematically given less workspace and were less often given matching offers when other universities tried to recruit them. In other instances, the recognition that there are too few women in science leads to university officials essentially saying women aren’t meant for science. This happened at Harvard, where former university president Larry Sumners blamed the scarcity of women in the sciences in part on innate differences in women. Problems are everywhere, and in a land of broken toys sometimes the best you can ask for is something that doesn’t have too many sharp edges. ... Read more by following the link
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