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Do women do science differently than men?

Marcia Barinaga barinaga at netcom.com
Tue Jan 26 13:50:17 EST 1993

Do women approach science differently than men?

I know this is a controversial question, and I am looking for 
both female and male scientists with articulate views on both
sides of this issue.

I am a reporter with Science magazine, and am preparing an article
dealing with this question for an upcoming special news section 
on women in science. 

Shirley Tilghman mentions in her op-ed piece in the New York 
Times today (1-26-83), that science is ``a men's game played 
by men's rules.'' It is easy to see how that applies to tenure 
guidelines and work hours and the like, but does it go 
deeper? Do women have different styles of conducting 
science, and even different intellectual approaches that may 
enrich their fields either through added diversity, or as 
an example men might want to learn from?

I know about some scholars such as Evelyn Fox Keller who deal 
with gender and science. I plan to include them in my article, and
would be happy to hear about more such scholars, but I am also 
looking for real-life examples to use in my article: 

For example: one prominent female scientist I know told me that
she works often in collaboration, but prefers to collaborate
with female scientists, because the collaborations are more
congenial and less competitive. She feels that in general, 
collaboration comes more easily to women than men. Are there 
other scientists who agree or disagree with all or parts of 
her position? I would like to hear from you.

I am looking for:

men or women who have compelling anecdotes about their 
experiences with female vs male scientists, and differences
or similarities in their styles of doing science,

examples of female scientists who have made important 
advances while intellectually swimming against a male-dominated 
tide of dogma. (Barbara McClintock is the person whose name 
always comes up in this context, but if there is validity 
to the point, there should be more.)

finally, for another article in the same issue, I am looking
for an example of a female mentor who has left her mark on
a field, by attracting and training female scientists. I have
heard that in some fields, particularly fields in which there
are few women, that one may find a clustering of women
in a sub-discipline, and that one can often trace their lineage 
back to a particularly influential mentor. I am looking for a 
compelling example of that phenomenon, particularly in a field
such as math or astronomy or physics, in which women are scarce.
(But life sciences aren't ruled out, if the case is striking

If you have suggestions of scientists who I should contact, or
if you would be willing to be interviewed yourself for my articles
or want to send me your comments for use in the articles, please 
e-mail me.

My address on the internet is  
barinaga at netcom.com

Thank you for your patience in considering my query,
Marcia Barinaga
West Coast Correspondent
Science magazine

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