Londa Schiebinger-Opening Statement

From: akapur@edc.org
Date: Wed Dec 01 1999 - 10:50:47 EST

Londa Schiebinger: Opening statement.

Many of the questions set out for us to respond to addressed
the question of women and the culture of science. I have treated these
questions extensively in two of my books "Has Feminism Changed Science?"
(HUP 1999) and "The Mind Has No Sex?" (HUP 1989).

Let me make just a few remarks here: I think it is important
to reverse our thinking and not ask how can we encourage the science
profession to accept women, etc. but to ask what do women have to offer?
In most recent book I have focused on the intellectual and practical
feminism (not women, but feminist men and women) have brought to the
sciences. (I have chapters on medicine, biology, archaeology/primatology,
and physics/math.) Those who do not support professional advances
for women, might want to sit up and take note. Fifteen years of feminist
inquiry has led to noteworthy results.

Encouraging girls and women into math and science, the problem
of combining career and family, etc. have to be dealt with as a whole.
of things are already underway and are bringing results.
1) courses on gender and science are important to teaching the next
generation of scientists the basics concerning gender in science. We
should attempt to
have these courses available to all science/engin. students at university.
2) Institutes such as the Women in Science and Engineering at Penn State
universities have similar, even larger, institutes of this nature) are
crucial for recruiting undergraduate, graduate women, for offering faculty
networks for issues concerning promotion and tenure, for aiding deans and
department heads in their efforts to recruit and retain women.
3) Scholarship, workshops, conferences--such as the international
conference on women in science, med, and tech. to be held at Saint Louis
October 2000--are important for pushing forward research in the field
AND for bringing together humanists and scientists working on these issues.
4) NSF programs and support for women in science is crucial. I
cannot tell you how effective it is when someone like Mary Clutter makes it
known that NSF will not fund conferences that do not have a good mix of
5) The Office of Research on Women opened at NIH in 1990 is a
model for how the government can encourage the professional advance of
and research on women.

Together all of these things change attitudes in the culture
more generally. The 3:00 problem is not a mother's problem any more than
it is
a father's problem. The problem is one for professionals and
working parents more generally.

I think I will end here. There is just too much to say.

Professor Londa Schiebinger
Alexander von Humboldt ForschungspreistrÅgerin (1999-2000)
Max-Planck-Institut f?r Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Wilhelmstr. 44
D-10117 Berlin

Tel. (++49 30) 22 667-149 Fax. (++49 30) 22 667-299

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