Nobel: Another year passes and the Nobel Prize Gender Gap becomes bigger. The disparity in awards is not new, but we are in 2021 and we still have the same problem.
The problem starts with the appointment: less than 10% of this year’s appointments for physics and chemistry were women. Now, why are women less nominated and, consequently, less rewarded? There are some explanations.
Less presence of women in the fields
Lack of natural interest or systematic sabotage?
Did you know that in the field of astronomy women were not allowed in installations like telescopes? There’s no way to make a big discovery without access to the data.
Vera Rubin (1928-2016), responsible for concrete evidence of the existence of dark matter, was not allowed at the Palomar Observatory. A great advocate for women’s rights, she didn’t let that stop her. Avoiding a direct conflict, the Observatory claimed that women could not observe because there were no women’s toilets on the premises. A close friend of Dr. Rubin reported the moment when she drew a female symbol and stuck it on the door of one of the bathrooms and said the famous phrase: “Look, now you have a ladies room” (look, now you have a ladies room ).
So far, the presence of women in mountains leading observations is less than that of men. Studies demonstrate that observation proposal selection committees are biased towards men. Seeking to solve a given problem, the Hubble Telescope observation time selection committee decided to make an anonymous ranking. The result in 2018 was more balanced by gender and for the first time more women received the required time.