A little controversy has been started up this week about The Scientist's vote for favorite life science blogs. The Scientist asked some of the most popular bloggers to give their opinion on the best science blogs and as many people have pointed out, including Chris at Highly Allochthonous, Julia at The Ethical Palaeontologist, and Brian at Laelaps, there are no women on this list.
Well I am sure I would get shot down by many of my female colleagues for saying this but let’s be honest, there just aren’t as many female scientists as male scientists, especially as you climb the ‘academic ladder’. Why not? As an undergraduate I noticed that the ratio of women to men is actually greater in biology and geology was reasonable even. A quick survey of my graduate colleagues shows a ratio of 12 men to 7 women over the last four years. And as you continue, the proportion of women gets smaller, we have 10 men listed in our department as staff and postdoctoral researchers and only 4 women. And check out how many members of the Royal Society are female (5%). So where do all the women go to?
Is it true that many women still give up their careers for a life at home? Is academia still heavily weighted against them and women leave the field because they don’t feel their career advance as fast as those of their male colleagues? I don’t know to be honest. But there is no doubt there are fewer female role models in academia especially in the fields of physics, math, computing and engineering where their ratio often dwindles to less than 10%.
So anyway, back to The Scientist, I am sure they didn’t deliberately mean to exclude female science bloggers. Looking at my own blogroll I realize most of the science blogs I read are written by men, I think it is representative of the ratio of the sexes in academia, something to think about.