At the end of Chapter five, Hughes mentions some very interesting points about the culture of the Genentech company. In particular, this quote from a female scientist that worked at the company sparked interest with me:
“‘The company seemed to operate like a boys’ locker room, and the place reeked of testosterone. No prank was too outrageous, no poker bet too high, and no woman was part of the inner circle.'” -Hughes, 151
I wonder how in particular this environment was both promoted by and affected the workers in the company. First, it is no secret that there is a considerable lack of women in the STEM fields (the attached statistics are taken from twenty-first century surveys, so I would imagine that in the 1980s the numbers were much lower). Therefore I’m sure there was a natural promotion by these employees.
The affects of it, however, are unclear. Evidently it may have been detrimental for women to get ahead and succeed in the biotechnology field if it is mainly male driven, especially if no women were invited into the “inner circle”.
This may point to the reason women are not encouraged to succeed in STEM fields, despite their obvious capabilities.
There have been many op-ed pieces and articles published about women in science chronicling their ups, downs and everything in between.
This anthology profiles 20 women in various fields of science, from molecular biology to physics, astronomy to zoology. They come from various socioeconomic, ethnic and geographical backgrounds. Some are well known, others you may just hear of for the first time. Some are still alive, while others are now circulating as a part of our universe. Some may have found their career path easier than others. Some may have had additional labels threaten to weigh them down.
Something you’ll find they all have in common is a curiosity and a passion – about their field and their work – and a desire to make the world a better place.
Continue reading “A Scientific Anthology: Women in Science”
Frediani’s post-jail life is highlighted in Chapter 12. It seems as though he is off to a typical, clean life in the beginning of the chapter. He starts at lower, entry-level jobs post-bail but soon manages to make it into the white-collar world. I wonder why Frediani was able to succeed so well after three years in prison, when so many struggle with issues such as homelessness, unemployment, and drug/substance abuse. What mentality did Frediani have that made him succeed? How was he able to pursue an MBA? It makes you think that maybe he was innocent because he was so willing to make a 360 right out of jail. However, when discussions of his anger started to arise later in the chapter, it confirmed (in my mind) that Frediani must have been guilty on some account. His temperament issues might be the switch that makes him commit crimes.
Something new I learned this chapter was the working relationship between Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins. When I first learned the story of Rosalind Franklin, in high school, I did not know she had partner with her when she discovered the shape of DNA. Their relationship was described as:
“They were less a team than a push-me-pull-you, to the extent that Franklin refused to show Wilkins her work out of irritation at being treated as a subordinate…Wilkins believed that Franklin had been hired as his technical assistant” (Weinberg 37)
This passage puts into perspective the discrimination of women in the workplace, especially in science. I believe this hindered them from discovering the structure of DNA before Watson and Crick. If there was not as much competition and more team work, they could have made greater discoveries, and explored their hunches in more depth. It’s a shame how women were treated in science, and how some are still treated now.