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Medicine and Society

Women in science: A rare breed

New York Times reporter Gina Kolata recently invited four female researchers to sit down and talk about the joys and challenges of being part of a rare breed – women scientists at the top of their field.

Today’s paper includes an excerpt from that round-table discussion, and it’s worth a read (or a listen – there’s an audio file available). I particularly found the answers to the question, “Would you encourage your daughter to be a scientist?” to be the most interesting, and Joy Hirsch, PhD, a neuroscientist at Columbia University, summed it up well:

I think the judgment about whether someone should be a scientist or not is a very serious one, because the life of a scientist, whether you are a woman or you are a man, is very difficult. It is a nonstandard life. It is a life with constraints and obligations that don’t come with other types of professions. If my daughter has to ask “Should I be a scientist?” the answer is no. But if my daughter says to me, “I was born to be a scientist. I can’t be anything else. This is my life,” then you say, “You go, girl.”

Previously: Women behind in receiving major NIH grants, Advancing the careers of women in academic science, Pioneers in science and Molly Carnes: Gender bias persists in academia

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