Women in Science

California State University Monterey Bay – That’s me!

Imagine a tall, skinny, beautiful New York City professional ballet dancer telling you anything and everything about neuroscience. Pretty hard to imagine right? Now imagine a short, nerdy, conservative, glasses wearing girl explaining the theory of evolution detail by detail. Pretty easy to picture in your head, huh? The media portrays ‘scientists’ as nerdy-socially awkward-not ‘attractive’-etc- which has caused widespread stereotyping across movies and televisions shows.

Doing larval research on the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a sad but true statement that women don’t get the respect or acknowledgment for their accomplishments nearly as much as men in almost every job field. I have personally witnessed this sexist concept whilst studying in the scientific field of marine biology. Yes, it’s true that men and women are very different – but that doesn’t mean at all that one sex is better/smarter/more advanced than the other. We are all human. We all have a brain. It’s just how you use it that makes us all unique.

I’ve loved science since I was little. And I can bet you that if you took a poll, I wouldn’t fall into the normal ‘nerd’ spectrum that the media portrays. If you watch the Big Bang Theory, I’d probably be placed into the same category as the ‘dumb’ southern blonde girl across the hall than the neuroscientist Cal Tech girl who is socially awkward, dresses frumpy, and wears glasses. If you judge a book by its cover – you will never know the great novel that lies inside.

I fell in love with Chemistry in college – and I even got an A+ in my classes! Who does that?! –> This girl 🙂 Learning how the world works and why makes my brain do cartwheels with excitement. I used to get self conscious for some reason when people called me a nerd – but now I embrace it and wear the title proudly with a smile on my face.

One of the coolest things about science is that : WE ARE ALWAYS DISCOVERING NEW THINGS! Thus, my thirst for knowledge never runs dry – thanks SCIENCE!

I’d like to share with you the inspiration for this post : a great TEDxCal Tech talk about the Myths of Scientists. (You go girl!)

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  1. An empathic thanks! Stereotypes and the paradigms that create them are very annoying (I’m being polite).
    Mine own acquired label is the “jack of all trades / master of none” stereotype.
    Because I have no paper document which declares me an expert, it’s amazing how quickly the knowledge and skills I do have are dismissed. In an actual work/field environment I run circles around many who rest upon their sheepskins, but I can’t get the jobs or the pay. Intuition and common sense are not easily quantified, thus have no value. “Mastering” any subject seems to limit learning new skills and understandings. At my present stage in life I’ve had so many occupational experiences it’s become completely unbelievable to most, and so I’m perceived as being absurd, if not an outright liar. Oh well. What you do is not who you are.

  2. This talk has been doing the rounds on the internet and it makes me swoon. Why is it so hard to believe that attractive can not also equal smart. What upsets me the most is that this misconception influences the decisions that girls make when they choose the high school subjects that often dictate their future careers. As someone who originally wanted to be an Art Historian because it was ‘cool’, I now have a career in Earth Science AND a wardrobe full of nice shoes.
    Thanks for posting on this important issue. You go girl also!!!

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