'Female' Science Professor and Women in Chemistry

I just returned from a 3 day business trip  conducting an oral history for CHF’s Women in Chemistry Oral History Project.  When I got to my desk this morning one of my colleagues had been kind enough to place  a recent Chronicle of Higher Education on my desk opened to an article titled, “Why ‘Female’ Science Professor?”  I am more familiar with her writings on her blog, aptly titled Female Science Professor.

The anonymous author of this article, the Female Science Professor [FSP] in question, explains that her posts are roughly 80 percent “on general academic issues and my experiences as a professor, or specifically a  science professor,” with only 20 percent of the posts specific to issues of women in science. Claiming that discussing women in science can be as fraught with passion and vitriol as discussions about money, FSP tells of her experiences, whether good or bad, regardless of comments, positive or negative.. 

In the Women in Chemistry Oral History Project, I speak with women about the ways in which they have achieved success in their chemistry careers: academic, industrial, non-profit, and governmental.  For this particular project CHF has been interviewing women who entered the work force after Title IX in 1972, most of whom still have active careers. Many are award winning  and well-published. All faced adversity at various times during their education and subsequent careers because they are not just chemists, but female chemists. Like FSP, who tells the positive and negative, these oral history interviews tell stories of individual success, while exploring how these women overcame obstacles.  They are told to inform and inspire without regard for the positive or negative comments that may result.

Please check the CHF Oral History Projects page soon for updates about the Women in Chemistry Oral Histories.  For more information please contact me.

Posted In: History | Policy

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