• Question: Is it hard to fit in seen as being a scientist is considered a male job' and do people take female scientist seriously.

    Asked by embemb to Siddra, Aruna on 28 Mar 2021.
    • Photo: Siddra Maryam

      Siddra Maryam answered on 11 Mar 2021:

      Hi Embemb!
      It is really a very good question. But I am afraid for me there is not a simple answer for this question. Though this thing was true for centuries that the being scientist is a male job but I think now the trend has been changing. People are more open minded and to some extent they are ready to accept that women can be good scientists. Especially the research institutes and universities in developed countries are promoting the gender equality on a big platform.
      The Irish government is also taking big steps to promote gender equality. In my university they are suppose to employ equal number of male and female scientist and we the female scientists are encouraged a lot. But the problem is we do not have many female applicants. So, I would say, institutes and governments has accepted the gender equality and they are taking every measure to promote this thought. But the problem is on individual level. Believe it or not, but sometimes I think that the women themselves are not ready to accept this fact. I do not understand if they are afraid or what.. Even if men are ready to accept this concept of equality, women themselves are scared to come forward. So, in my view, women themselves need to have more confident in themselves and come forward. We cannot blame men for this, Even if there are opportunities, women do not try to take those and then blame men for this. Sometimes, if someone is trying to give us some opportunity, we, women are scared to accept it. In my institute there are seats vacant for female researchers but we couldn’t find enough good applicants.
      I read somewhere that an unsuccessful man try to blame others for his failures. I sometimes feels it is the same thing we women are doing. If we want to do something, we do it, no matter what it takes. But if we are scared of doing something, we do not do it and try to blame others that we didn’t get the opportunity.
      Second reason could be that we ourselves are biased unconsciously. for example if you ask a kid to draw a painting of a soldier, or a pilot or a pirate. the kids usually picture them as a male. This is called being biased and the kid even do not understand why is he doing this. So we are doing this unconsciously. We need to understand this fact and try to remove it and we can start working on this making our next generation understand this fact that they shouldn’t be biased.
      So now I would try to answer your question. Male scientist faces the same opposition in there research. Over years many scientist are trying to prove Einstein wrong. same thing could happen to a female scientist but it is not always because of gender inequality. Being a scientist is a tough job for anyone. Women sometimes get less opportunities and face a little bit more resistance but if we are willing to do something we can do it. The need is just to get more confidence in ourselves. But people are ready to accept us now and we should take this opportunity and come forward.