Women primatologists discriminated against

This video is called Dr. Jane Goodall: Primatology & The Leakey Foundation.

From PLoS ONE:

Is Primatology an Equal-Opportunity Discipline?

Elsa Addessi, Marta Borgi, Elisabetta Palagi


The proportion of women occupying academic positions in biological sciences has increased in the past few decades, but women are still under-represented in senior academic ranks compared to their male colleagues.

Primatology has been often singled out as a model of “equal-opportunity” discipline because of the common perception that women are more represented in Primatology than in similar fields. But is this indeed true? Here we show that, although in the past 15 years the proportion of female primatologists increased from the 38% of the early 1990s to the 57% of 2008, Primatology is far from being an “equal-opportunity” discipline, and suffers the phenomenon of “glass ceiling” as all the other scientific disciplines examined so far. In fact, even if Primatology does attract more female students than males, at the full professor level male members significantly outnumber females. Moreover, regardless of position, IPS male members publish significantly more than their female colleagues.

Furthermore, when analyzing gender difference in scientific productivity in relation to the name order in the publications, it emerged that the scientific achievements of female primatologists (in terms of number and type of publications) do not always match their professional achievements (in terms of academic position). However, the gender difference in the IPS members’ number of publications does not correspond to a similar difference in their scientific impact (as measured by their H index), which may indicate that female primatologists’ fewer articles are of higher impact than those of their male colleagues.

Jane Goodall film trailer: here.

3 thoughts on “Women primatologists discriminated against

  1. Tacky recruitment ad is an insult to women

    The European Commission has produced a video telling us that science is “a girl thing”. After watching it, I’m left puzzled as to what exactly they’re trying to achieve.

    It consists largely of close up shots of lipstick, blusher and eyeshadow, interspersed with bubbling flasks, test tubes and women in short skirts on a bright pink background. The first thing that comes to mind is a poor attempt to advertise make-up.

    The Commission seems to assume that women are more interested in so called beauty products than anything else in the world—and that suggesting, vaguely, that these may have something to do with chemistry will make more women want to pursue careers in science.

    I can assure the commissioners that make-up played no role whatsoever in the decision to become a scientist, for me or for any of the women I know.

    Attempts to encourage more women to become scientists should be welcomed. But instead of relying on sexist imagery couldn’t the Commission have highlighted the often overlooked discoveries that women scientists have made?

    Marie Curie’s work on radiation, Rosalind Franklin’s contributions to discovering the structure of DNA and Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s discovery of pulsating neutron stars are a few that spring to mind.

    It could have showcased some of the exciting research that women scientists are engaged in today—from understanding the Earth’s core to discovering the Higgs boson, from understanding heart disease to researching changes to our climate.

    Instead of wasting money on this derogatory video the Commission could have helped tackle the problems that affect women in science, such as lack of decent childcare and the lack of funding that affects all scientists.

    Amy Gilligan, Cambridge



  2. Pingback: Primatologist Jane Goodall interviewed | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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