During the nineteenth century, the content and institutional organization of the sciences evolved dramatically, altering the public's understanding of knowledge. As science grew in importance, many women of letters tried to incorporate it into a female worldview. Nina Baym explores the responses to science displayed in a range of writings by American women. Conceding that they could not become scientists, women insisted, however, that they were capable of understanding science and participating in its discourse. They used their access to publishing to advocate the study and transmission of scientific information to the general public.
Bayms book includes biographies and a full exploration of these women's works. Among those considered are:
• Almira Phelps, author of Familiar Lectures on Botany (it sold 350,000 copies)
• Sarah Hale, who filled Godey's Lady's Book with science articles
• Catharine Esther Beecher, who based her domestic advice on scientific information
• Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, the actual ghostwriter of her husband's popular science essays
• Emily Dickinson, whose poetry is replete with scientific images.
Baym also investigates science in women's novels, writing by and about women doctors, and the scientific claims advanced by women's spiritualist movements. This book truly breaks new ground, outlining a field of inquiry that few have noted exists.
Daughters of Alchemy
Meredith K. Ray Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress Q130.R37 2015 | Dewey Decimal 509.25220945
Meredith Ray shows that women were at the vanguard of empirical culture during the Scientific Revolution. They experimented with medicine and alchemy at home and in court, debated cosmological discoveries in salons and academies, and in their writings used their knowledge of natural philosophy to argue for women’s intellectual equality to men.
Gender and Scientific Authority
Edited by Barbara Laslett, Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Helen Longino, and Evelynn Hammonds University of Chicago Press, 1996 Library of Congress Q130.G44 1996 | Dewey Decimal 306.42
This volume of recent Signs articles offers some of the most significant contributions to the debates on history and theory. Illustrating the uses of theories in recent feminist historical research and the often contentious arguments that surround them, the articles speak to a number of discussions, including the theoretical tradition of political economy, the importance of class relations for understanding historical events and social relationships, and the expansion of concepts from political economy to include race. Included as well are the workings of gender signification in terms of the body, moving it from its traditionally lesser position in the hierarchical Enlightenment mind/body split. A further group of articles concerns the discursive character of power relations and the dialogic quality of language. The volume will be extremely useful for feminist historians in a variety of disciplines as well as women's studies students interested in issues of interdisciplinarity.
Why is it that some women have created successful careers in science, when historically there have been so many barriers that exclude women from engaging in scientific work? At last, here is a comparative history that illuminates some of the patterns that have emerged in the history of women in science.
This book features some of the most influential and pioneering studies of women in the sciences, with a special focus on patterns of education, access, barriers, and opportunities for women's work in science. Spanning the 17th through the 20th centuries, the book demonstrates the meaning and power of gender experienced by women in the sciences.
Individual chapters focus on exceptional women whose unusual initiativee and particular circumstance led them to engage in science: Laura Bassi, Nettie Stevens, Maria Winkelmann, and others. Chapters on women's access to science discuss collaboration with family members in the domestic sphere, the impact of primers and popular science writing, and formal education in public schools and advanced research institutions. There are examinations of the reasons for clusters of women working in "female friendly" sciences such as botany and physiology in the 19th century and astronomy in the U.S. during the early 20th century.
This important and useful book provides a thoughtful and detailed overview for scholars and students in the history of science, as well as for feminist historians, scientists, and others who who want a comparative and historical analysis of women in the sciences.
Contributors include Janet Browne, Paula Findlen, Peggy Aldrich Kidwell, Ann Hibner Koblitz, M. Susan Lindee, Carolyn Merchant, Margaret W. Rossiter, Londa Schiebinger, Nancy Leys Stepan, and Deborah Jean Warner.
The Victorian era was characterized by great scientific curiosity—as exemplified by the publication of Darwin’s Descent of Man—as well as by new questions regarding the place of women in society. Patricia Murphy now explores the tenuous interplay of gender and science to show how the era’s literature both challenged and reinforced a constrictive role for Victorian women. Focusing on a specific body of literature involving women intensely associated with scientific pursuits, and examining selected noncanonical writings—both fictional and nonfictional representations of scientific women—Murphy demonstrates how these works informed the “Woman Question” by reinforcing or rejecting presumed truths about gender and science.
Some of these texts offer lucid insights into the ways in which women were defined, marginalized, and excluded. In his novel Two on a Tower, Thomas Hardy presented science as a masculine realm threatened by female intrusion, while Wilkie Collins in Heart and Science depicted a woman interested in science as a villainous schemer who falls far short of the Victorian ideal of femininity. And although Charles Reade’s novel A Woman-Hater was more sympathetic in its portrayal of a female physician, it continued to reinforce Victorian stereotypes.
In contrast, Murphy also shows us the poetry of science enthusiast Constance Naden, who used the language of the discipline to reflect its marginalization of women. Murphy also uses the travel memoirs of botanical painter Marianne North, which reveal her attempts to achieve a gender-neutral voice to position her work within the Victorian scientific realm. Through the words of these women, Murphy shows how popular notions of women’s inferiority and marginality were internalized and addressed.
These close readings further elucidate the status of women in late-nineteenth-century England and show how prejudices about women’s intellectual inferiority infiltrated popular culture. In Science’s Shadow makes new inroads in the study of gendered scientific discourse while introducing readers to some little-known, but most revealing, literary works
Sandra L. Hanson Temple University Press, 1996 Library of Congress Q130.H365 1996 | Dewey Decimal 500.82
"Sandra Hanson demonstrates the progressive loss of women to science--and science to women--through discriminatory actions and policies of key institutions and unequal resources offered to young women and men. Her detailed analyses disclose the complex process by which gender, race and class determine who stays in science--and why."
--Mary Frank Fox, School of History, Technology, and Society, Georgia Institute of Technology
In this pathbreaking book, Sandra Hanson asks what compels so many talented young women to leave the professions of science and mathematics? When do they leave and why? Why do equally qualified girls and boys have such different experiences with science education? What are the patterns for women who do stay in school and pursue a scientific career? What difference does family background make? Exactly how significant are differences of race and class?
In this research project, Hanson examines several unusually large and subtle, nationally representative, longitudinal data sets. The data include information on a multitude of distinctions by race, class background, school experiences, school resources, to name a few. Hanson examines this information with a particular focus on the differences in achievement within and across the disciplines, varying access to physical resources, and differential activities in both math and science for young women in the education process.
The challenge faced by the United States in the next two decades is developing a balanced, qualified, and well-trained workforce for jobs in science and other technical fields. For Hanson it includes equity for women and creating conditions such that young girls who start out doing well in science do not end up with little training and knowledge. The recovery of this "lost talent" is the central concern of this book.
"Lost Talent compels us to think about the experiences of women in science in an entirely new and comprehensive way--how they differ from men in their activities, achievement, access, and attitudes about science. Particularly refreshing is Hanson's recognition that women scientists are not a monolithic group. I found her broadened focus on women of various race and ethnic groups more inclusive and informative that previous books on women in science."
--Shirley Vining Brown, Senior Research Scientist, Special Populations Group, Educational Testing Service
"Lost Talent is a pathbreaking work. It is concerned with the relatively low long term rate of female involvement and achievement in science. Much of the effort to understand the origins of these phenomena has focused on single factors, usually examined at a moment in time, and frequently based on unrepresentative samples and inconsistent measures. Sandra Hanson seeks to remedy many of these deficiencies in this book. Her dynamic, multidimensional approach deepens our insights into the complex patterns and produces new evidence about the trajectories of these women among the various states of science involvement within the education system and their major determinants. It will be required reading for all who seek to better our understanding of this important issue."
--Alan Fechter,, President, Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology
In many ways, Marie Curie represents modern science. Her considerable lifetime achievements—the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize, the only woman to be awarded the Prize in two fields, and the only person to be awarded Nobel Prizes in multiple sciences—are studied by schoolchildren across the world. When, in 2009, the New Scientist carried out a poll for the “Most Inspirational Female Scientist of All Time,” the result was a foregone conclusion: Marie Curie trounced her closest runner-up, Rosalind Franklin, winning double the number of Franklin’s votes. She is a role model to women embarking on a career in science, the pride of two nations—Poland and France—and, not least of all, a European Union brand for excellence in science.
Making Marie Curie explores what went into the creation of this icon of science. It is not a traditional biography, or one that attempts to uncover the “real” Marie Curie. Rather, Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, by tracing a career that spans two centuries and a world war, provides an innovative and historically grounded account of how modern science emerges in tandem with celebrity culture under the influence of intellectual property in a dawning age of information. She explores the emergence of the Curie persona, the information culture of the period that shaped its development, and the strategies Curie used to manage and exploit her intellectual property. How did one create and maintain for oneself the persona of scientist at the beginning of the twentieth century? What special conditions bore upon scientific women, and on married women in particular? How was French identity claimed, established, and subverted? How, and with what consequences, was a scientific reputation secured?
In its exploration of these questions and many more, Making Marie Curie provides a composite picture not only of the making of Marie Curie, but the making of modern science itself.
When Fay Ajzenberg-Selove became a nuclear physicist, the number of women in the field could be counted on one hand. In this engaging memoir, Fay Ajzenberg-Selove writes candidly about her difficult journey to international recognition in physics. She is frank about the ways being a woman has made a difference in her opportunities and choices as a scientist--and how, by being a woman, she has made a difference in the world of physics.
Ajzenberg-Selove came to America at the age of 15 after narrowly escaping the Nazi takeover of France. She had planned to become an engineer like her father, but switched to physics after she was told the only engineering jobs open to women were in drafting: Marie Curie's example proved to her that women could do physics. Her first attempt at graduate work at Columbia University was a disaster, but she was sturck with the intellectual beauty of the field. After taking a Ph.D. in physics at University of Wisconsin, she did post-doctoral work with Thomas Lauritsen at the California Institute of Technology, where she began writing the first of a series of major review papers on the nuclear spectroscopy of the light nuclei, a subject of fundamental importance to nuclear physics, astrophysics, and applied physics. She continued this work and experimental research for thirty-eight years while teaching at Boston University, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania.
During her early career, Ajzenberg-Selove was shielded by her male mentors from experiencing much of the discrimination directed against women in science. Her simultaneous battles to become a tenured professor and to overcome breast cancer opened her eyes and confirmed her as a feminist.
The lay reader and the scientist alike will be fascinated by Ajzenberg-Selove's clear portrayal of her interlinked lives as physicist, teacher, wife of particle physicist, Walter Selove, and a woman who relishes both competition and friendship in a male-dominated field. An invaluable book for anyone contemplating a career in science.
In Sciences from Below, the esteemed feminist science studies scholar Sandra Harding synthesizes modernity studies with progressive tendencies in science and technology studies to suggest how scientific and technological pursuits might be more productively linked to social justice projects around the world. Harding illuminates the idea of multiple modernities as well as the major contributions of post-Kuhnian Western, feminist, and postcolonial science studies. She explains how these schools of thought can help those seeking to implement progressive social projects refine their thinking to overcome limiting ideas about what modernity and modernization are, the objectivity of scientific knowledge, patriarchy, and Eurocentricity. She also reveals how ideas about gender and colonialism frame the conventional contrast between modernity and tradition. As she has done before, Harding points the way forward in Sciences from Below.
Describing the work of the post-Kuhnian science studies scholars Bruno Latour, Ulrich Beck, and the team of Michael Gibbons, Helga Nowtony, and Peter Scott, Harding reveals how, from different perspectives, they provide useful resources for rethinking the modernity versus tradition binary and its effects on the production of scientific knowledge. Yet, for the most part, they do not take feminist or postcolonial critiques into account. As Harding demonstrates, feminist science studies and postcolonial science studies have vital contributions to make; they bring to light not only the male supremacist investments in the Western conception of modernity and the historical and epistemological bases of Western science but also the empirical knowledge traditions of the global South. Sciences from Below is a clear and compelling argument that modernity studies and post-Kuhnian, feminist, and postcolonial sciences studies each have something important, and necessary, to offer to those formulating socially progressive scientific research and policy.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs work collaboratively to connect education and research at the institutional, national, and global levels. But what role do women play in STEM? In this very timely book, Carol Colatrella responds to the under-representation of women in STEM by considering how gender inflects literary and media representations. In her analysis of fictional and cinematic texts that reference STEM, she investigates cultural tensions concerning sex roles—tensions that continue to be influential in today’s world.
Toys and Tools in Pinkanalyzes female character types that recur in fictional narratives in print, on television, and in the cinema: female criminals and detectives, mothers who practice medicine, and “babe scientists,” among others. It also investigates how narrative settings and plots both subsume and influence cultural stereotypes of gender in prescribing salient professional and personal codes of conduct in the STEM fields.
Literary and historical case studies in Toys and Tools in Pinkexamine issues of women’s abilities in, access to, and management of science and technology. These issues appear in debates among university faculty, politicians, and public policy analysts concerned about women’s participation in STEM fields. Current analyses of diverse fictions and films demonstrate a continuing interest in women’s place in science and technology and also create new, evolving understandings of femininity and masculinity that revise earlier stereotypes.
The National Science Foundation's ADVANCE Institutional Transformation program has been awarding five-year grants to colleges and universities since 2001 to address a common problem: how to improve the work environment for women faculty in science and engineering. Drawing on the expertise of scientists, engineers, social scientists, specialists in organizational behavior, and university administrators, this collection is the first to describe the variety of innovative efforts academic institutions around the country have undertaken.
Focusing on a wide range of topics, the contributors discuss both the theoretical and empirical aspects of these initiatives, with emphasison the practical issues involved in creating the approaches. The cases
represented in this collection depict the many issues women faculty in science and engineering face. The essays in Transforming Science and Engineering illustrate that creating work environments that sustain and advance women scientists and engineers benefits women, men, and underrepresented minorities.
Abigail J. Stewart is Sandra Schwartz Tangri Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan.
Janet E. Malley is a psychologist and Associate Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan.
Danielle LaVaque-Manty, former Research Associate at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan, teaches composition at U-M's Sweetland Writing Center.
Why don’t more women become scientists? And why do those who do become scientists often face more difficulties than their male counterparts? Every year, about a quarter of a million young men and women in the United States receive their first academic degree in science, mathematics, or engineering. A small fraction will eventually become research scientists. But many who start out with that goal fail to reach it––for reasons that may have less to do with their scientific ability than with their gender.
Drawing on a wealth of information (699 questionnaires and 200 interviews) from men and women who gave every promise of scientific achievement, Gerhard Sonnert and Gerald Holton illuminate the partly gender-driven dynamics of “the leaky scientific pipeline.” At the heart of this book are gripping personal life stories of ten women and ten men: half became highly successful scientists, the rest left research science. In their own voices, they talk candidly about their career paths, the obstacles and assists they encountered, the difficulties and rewards of attempting to combine a family life with a science career.
This highly readable analysis of the gender dimension in scientific careers––and its clear-headed advice––will be of great interest to everyone considering a career in science as well as to teachers, parents, and active scientists. Academics in sociology of science and gender studies as well as decision-makers in the areas of human resources and science policy will also welcome its discussions of general issues and policy recommendations.
Why do so few women choose a career in science--even as they move into medicine and law in ever-greater numbers? In one of the most comprehensive studies of gender differences in science careers ever conducted, Women in Science provides a systematic account of how U.S. youth are selected into and out of science education in early life, and how social forces affect career outcomes later in the science labor market.
Studying the science career trajectory in its entirety, the authors attend to the causal influences of prior experiences on career outcomes as well as the interactions of multiple life domains such as career and family. While attesting to the progress of women in science, the book also reveals continuing gender differences in mathematics and science education and in the progress and outcomes of scientists' careers. The authors explore the extent and causes of gender differences in undergraduate and graduate science education, in scientists' geographic mobility, in research productivity, in promotion rates and earnings, and in the experience of immigrant scientists. They conclude that the gender gap in parenting responsibilities is a critical barrier to the further advancement of women in science.
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction 2. Math and Science Achievement 3. Expectation of a Science/Engineering College Major 4. Attainment of a Science/Engineering Baccalaureate 5. Career Paths after a Science/Engineering Baccalaureate 6. Career Paths after a Science/Engineering Master's Degree 7. Demographic and Labor Force Profiles of Scientists 8. Geographic Mobility of Scientists/Engineers 9. Research Productivity 10. Immigrant Scientists/Engineers
Appendixes Appendix A. Descriptions of the Data Appendix B. Method for Decomposition Analysis Appendix C. Detailed Occupation Codes in Science and Engineering Appendix D. Detailed Statistical Tables
Notes References Index
Reviews of this book: Do young women take fewer mathematics and science courses in high school than young men, leaving them less prepared and therefore less likely to major in science and engineering fields in college? Is a woman with a bachelor's degree in science and engineering more likely to have begun her college career as a science major, or on a non-science track? This book, ten years in the making, offers definitive and surprising answers to these and other long-standing questions about women in science. --Abigail J. Stewart and Danielle LaVaque-Manty, Nature
Reviews of this book: Sociologists Xie and Shauman have prepared this detailed and scholarly study of the career paths of women in science, remarkable for the comprehensive scope of its contents as well as the detail and precision of its findings...It is the most carefully argued and well-documented investigation of both the gender differences in science and the reason women leave science presently available--an important and praiseworthy contribution. --M. H. Chaplin, Choice
This is a substantial piece of work on a significant topic. Recalling Karl Popper's emphasis on falsification, I am impressed with the number of important propositions the authors were able to put to rest. The melding of technical skill and cogent argumentation is remarkable. --Otis Dudley Duncan, University of California, Santa Barbara
Xie and Shauman skillfully analyze 17 data sets to pinpoint forces that lead fewer women than men into careers in science or engineering. Their scope is the whole life cycle - from high school to graduate school to combining jobs with families. This is the book to read on why most scientists and engineers are men. --Paula England, Northwestern University
This is an impressive piece of work and is likely to become the standard reference for understanding gender differences with respect to involvement in science for many years to come. The authors are to be particularly congratulated on the scope of their project in terms of the breadth of the life cycle that it covers. --Christopher Winship, Harvard University
I have not seen any other volume that covers the career process of women as thoroughly as this investigation of how women become scientists and engineers and what causes them to leave these fields at much greater rates than men. --Suzanne M. Bianchi, University of Maryland
Are there any places where women succeed in science? Numerous studies in recent years have documented and lamented a gender gap in science and engineering. From elementary school through college, women's interest in science steadily declines, and as adults, they are less likely to pursue careers in science-related fields.
Women's Science offers a dramatic counterpoint not only to these findings but also to the related, narrow assumption that "real science" only occurs in research and laboratory investigation. This book describes women engaged with science or engineering at the margins: an innovative high school genetics class; a school-to-work internship for prospective engineers, an environmental action group, and a nonprofit conservation agency. In these places—where people use or rely on science for public, social, or community purposes—the authors found a remarkably high proportion of women. Moreover, these women were successful at learning and using technical knowledge, they advanced in roughly equal percentages to men, and they generally enjoyed their work.
Yet, even in these more marginal workplaces, women had to pay a price. Working outside traditional laboratories, they enjoy little public prestige and receive significantly less financial compensation. Although most employers claimed to treat men and women equally, women in fact only achieved success when they acted like male professionals.
Women's Science is an original and provocative contribution that expands our conception of scientific practice as it reconfigures both women's role in science and the meaning of science in contemporary society.