Women in the Sciences

Being in the 21st century, one would think that men and women would be equal, especially in education. Yet Eileen Pollack’s article titled “Why are There Still So Few Women In Science,” clearly demonstrates just how biased society still is to women trying to pursue a career in the sciences, particularly in the fields of physics, chemistry, and biology. What’s more is that even female scientists were just as biased as their male counterparts, as Pollack shows in her article (1). It is interesting to learn that women themselves try to prevent others from knowing that they are majoring in, for instance, astrophysics. Women feel that men will not want to date them, which is something Pollack addresses. It seems that men feel threatened when a woman pursues a degree in the sciences and cannot seem to “appreciate a woman as a woman and as a scientist; its one or the other” (Pollack, 4). This stereotype is something that has shaped American culture for decades. Even though more women are pursuing careers in the sciences, it is still not as many as would have liked too because they have faced a lack of encouragement, lack of self-esteem, and the many misperceptions as to who does or does not go on the sciences (Pollack, 4). Pollack herself reveals that she gave up her dreams because she believed she was not as good as the men in her field and because no one truly encouraged her to follow her dreams, she thought she should not.

What is interesting also, is that even though women are just as qualified as their male counterparts in the sciences, they make on average $4000 less than a man. This gives more women less incentive to pursue such fields because it is a confirmation that they are not as good as their male counterparts, which is not the case at all. Self-doubt can hold a woman back because as Pollack states, women on average need more positive reinforcement than men.

Female and male biases have evolved through the stereotypical images and attitudes that have been there since these individuals births, and it is difficult to erase them, but it is essential to realize that women are just as smart as men in initially any field, even in the sciences. Just because men typically dominate this field, does not mean that women are less competent than men.

Lorna

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