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Pushed Aside

Beverly Emerson, Kathy Jones, and Vicki Lundblad tell the New York Times Magazine that they were stymied in their efforts to advance their science and grow their labs at the Salk Institute because of their gender.

The three eventually filed gender discrimination lawsuits against the institute that were settled in August and November 2018. The researchers argued in their suits that the Salk was an "old boys' club" where "women are paid less, not promoted, and denied opportunities" in part due to a lack of formal governing guidelines.

For instance, Jones tells the Times Magazine that when she was seeking to hire a new researcher for her lab, senior male faculty members would skip the job talks, making it difficult to get approval, while Lundblad recounts that she tried to hire a lab worker who was funded by a fellowship but was denied.

"I think it's hard for us even to recognize how little power women have at the top, where the big money resides, where the real power resides," MIT's Nancy Hopkins says. Hopkins wrote a report in 1999 with colleagues that showed how little support female researchers had there, which the Times Magazine says led to change there.

The Times Magazine adds that new researchers at the Salk are hopeful that change has occurred there too, but it adds that so was Jones when she arrived in 1986.