Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the careers of women in Science, Engineering and Technology (STEM), and aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of women in senior roles.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Remembering Rosalind: Sister recalls DNA pioneer brought to stage in Kidman play

When scientist Rosalind Franklin, who helped discover the structure of DNA, died in 1958 she was largely unknown. A play about her life starring Nicole Kidman is now on in London, but Ms Franklin's sister warns against seeing her as an undervalued victim.
It is 57 years since Jenifer Franklin (now Jenifer Glynn) lost her elder sister Rosalind to cancer. With interest in Rosalind now so great, Jenifer has published an intimate memoir of growing up with the bright, sometimes difficult girl who became an emblem of female attainment in science and medicine.
"But all her career my sister thought that as a woman scientist she had to try a bit harder. Undoubtedly she could be hard to get on with at times. Perhaps she suffered because Crick and Watson were prepared to go out on a limb - Rosalind wanted to be terribly sure of her facts before going public.
"I suspect that as a woman she was given less room to experiment and fail. But Rosalind never saw herself as a victim.
"People want her to be a feminist icon but one has to accept that when she died in 1958 there were still only the first stirrings of feminism. You can't rewrite the history of a whole era. But now Rosalind has become a public figure, in the way we could never have imagined."

Read more here.

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