ScienceGrrl's Dr Anna Zecharia provides a thorough and balanced response to the ongoing Tim Hunt situation in today's BBC News Viewpoint. In it, she emphasises that while the immediate display of disgust from many quarters shows such views are no longer widely acceptable, there is a risk of losing the momentum in the longer term. Until people understand the true nature and scale of the problem, and it becomes acceptable to discuss and challenge these problems at all levels, the UK will not get past the ~20% female participation levels in and outside science.
So should we just ignore an old-fashioned old man? My answer is a
resounding "No". We don't need to demonise Sir Tim Hunt but if we shrug
off his views as a generational quirk we are not looking closely enough
and we fail to acknowledge how deeply these attitudes are embedded in
our workplaces and how they are still holding women back.
when he was born women had barely won the right to vote and, yes,
thankfully a lot has changed since then. But we are still grappling with
a world where gender roles are blurring and these are important
Only 13% of jobs in the science and engineering
sector are held by women. This is either because they are not "getting
in" - as is the case with subjects like physics or careers in
Or it's because they are not "getting on". Even in
areas like the life sciences, where entry and early career stages see
roughly equal numbers of men and women, the so-called leaky pipeline
kicks in. On average, roughly 17% of professors in the sciences are
By not speaking up we risk slowing progress further.
Children as young as seven (and possibly younger) hold ideas about which
careers are for men and which are for women.
Read more here.