In The Observer, Cambridge University physics professor Athene Donald says the research community needs to end the "macho culture" that drives women away from the science, and should instead encourage women to bring their talents to the various scientific disciplines. In the UK, for example, 22 percent of girls in school choose to study physics and 7 percent of physics professors are women, she says. One the problem is that the choices women make — particularly in terms of family life — can put them at a disadvantage compared to their "aggressive" male counterparts "with one-track minds" focused on their work, Donald says. But for society to benefit from what women have to offer, it has to "facilitate their progression," she adds. She suggests that additional government resources would help, but adds that the first step is in changing the culture at universities and research institutions to reflect the real-life choices women have to make. And although women will undoubtedly benefit the most from such changes, Donald adds, men will also see benefits.
More Women, Less 'Macho'
Jun 20, 2012