For years, the issues of inequalities rival that of war. Whether it has been based on race, gender, or even just beliefs, prejudices towards minorities have persisted. This problem has been especially noticeable in the field of science, where men greatly outnumber women. Furthermore, the women that do exist in science have been seen to do far more of the grunt work. This involves the dirty work of experiments, while men simply make the important decisions and do the more complicated analysis of results. Men have even been proven to represent the positive side of the bias by other women, choosing a hypothetical man to be a mentor or lab partner in many situations. The problem extends to men as well as they are typical to underestimate the knowledge their women peers possess. So, why does this problem exist and it is possible to correct?
It is extremely difficult to determine the origin, or cause, of such a gender bias in fields of science. Studies can easily show that these gaps exist, but proving why provides a far more complicated problem. One simple explanation is known as implicit bias. This is when one has unconsciously made the decision to prefer one to another without a reason, and even without knowing they did it. It is unintentional and hardly noticeable, as one would not likely admit to it when he or she is unaware of its occurrence. As a study from 2010 shows, even those who are not sexist can easily provoke a gender bias completely unconsciously. While researchers believe that studies pertaining to gender bias are fruitful and easy to come by, the correlation connecting women into science is still completely ambiguous. So, without an easily distinguishable reason, how can such obstacles be overcome?
Today it is thought that the metaphorical science playing field throughout academics is equal for men and women. It does indeed seem that this is the case throughout today’s modern societies. As a matter of fact, tables have completely turned if anything. While a boy in grade school may receive more attention because a teacher believes he is more likely to do good science than his female counterpart, a woman (especially a racially diverse woman) can score far lower on (for example) the MCAT and be accepted into medical schools far easier than a white male. Then why does such a male biased gender gap still persist if there are equal opportunities for everyone to achieve science? This could be due to the aforementioned implicit biases. But all hope is not lost: If existing faculty of science labs stress the importance of women in the field, individuals will more-easily see their particular capability. In the same sense, if a woman’s competence is presented to the upmost of its ability and its magnitude, she can more easily be noticed and hired.
As science and the world continues to revolve and evolve, it is just important that women make their mark on science and continue to do great things. Everyone is capable of everything and hopefully one day everyone can truly be equal in nature.
image from http://www.uctv.tv/shows/Women-in-Science-50-Years-After-Silent-Spring-The-Silent-Spring-Series-Exploring-Ethics-24437