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January 11, 2013

A Remarkable Number of Women” by Female Science Professor
The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 2, 2013

“You can tell you’re in a male-dominated discipline in the sciences when a gathering of three or more women working, standing, or sitting together in a professional setting in that field is considered ‘remarkable’.”

The most recent blog from Female Science Professor highlights how seemingly “harmless comments” directed at groups of female scientists aren’t so harmless in male-dominated disciplines. She asks us to consider whether when we hear such seemingly harmless comments (e.g., “[t]hat’s too many women on one project”; “[t]here are more women than men!”) if  we get (or should get) “offended” and  if so, what should we do in response.  This blog poses many questions for us as we navigate our lives in academe. Many of her extreme examples appear to be just that, extreme examples of very biased behavior in an unhealthy climate.  However, as noted in previous literature on women’s success in the academy, these “harmless comments” contribute to the accumulation of disadvantage for women scientists and faculty.

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