New Criticism of 'Science' on Gender and Career Advice

July 13, 2015

Last month, the journal Science received heavy criticism over an advice piece widely called sexist for encouraging a female scientist not to take seriously an adviser's pattern of looking at her chest, not her face, when they talked. The journal ended up pulling the column.

Now Science is being criticized for running another piece that some find sexist. This piece is mostly about getting noticed to advance one's career, and the importance of hard work. The portion of the piece drawing criticism says: "I worked 16 to 17 hours a day, not just to make progress on the technology but also to publish our results in high-impact journals. How did I manage it? My wife -- also a Ph.D. scientist -- worked far less than I did; she took on the bulk of the domestic responsibilities."

Critics say that Science should not be giving advice based on having a (female) spouse focus on child rearing, or on working 16 to 17 hours a day, which essentially removes one parent from child-care duties. Typical tweets: "Hey, @ScienceCareers, we don’t need advice on how to be successful scientists in the 1980s" and "What fresh sexist hell is this? Oh, it's @ScienceCareers. Again."

Editors at the careers section of Science did not respond to email requests for comment. The author of the piece, Eleftherios P. Diamandis, head of clinical biochemistry at a hospital of the University of Toronto, said via email that he had seen the criticisms. "It is a free world; all opinions respected," he wrote. He added, "If I stayed home, would my wife be sexist?"

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