Role of Women Activists in Fostering Equity in Science

Role of Women Activists in Fostering Equity in Science

Science is a multi-dimensional area, which is built on logical reasoning. For a long time, it has been seen that the area has been entertaining gender-based stereotypes. In the 21st century, preferably it is the sole area that draws the attention of numerous people but despite the growing attraction for science there is simultaneous retardation in fostering a scientific temperament among the people and this is the sole reason of the existence of superstitious beliefs in the present society. Witch hunting, taboos on menstruation, etc. still prevails despite the increase in the number of science graduates that our society is producing every year. Have you questioned why? This is because we are producing more machines to remember the course materials but less human resources to scientifically implement their knowledge for the upliftment of the society. Apart from this, one of the dark aspect seen in science is the gender-based biasedness. However, a sea of women activists and feminists have geared up the courage to challenge such clichés and break free from those long nurtured shackles in recent times.

To be a feminist is to understand that different identities-located hierarchically as dominant or subordinate-are produced at different times and in different spaces, but also to be aware particularly of the processes of gendering. By ‘gendering’, I mean the ways in which people are produced as ‘proper’ men and women through rules and regulations of different sorts; some of which we internalize, some which have to be violently enforced. To be a feminist is to recognize that, apart from gender-based injustice, there are multiple structural inequalities that underlie the social order, and to believe that change is possible, and to work for it at whichever level possible. Feminism is not an organization that one formally joins, and it can never be the isolated achievement of individual women. To be a feminist is to feel part of the history that has produced us; it is to insert oneself into two centuries of thick, textured narratives of struggles and celebrations that transcend national boundaries; to hear the strains of songs of anger and sorrow and militancy in many tongues; to remember our heroines, our foremothers; and, above all, to feel an enormous sense of continuing responsibility. Feminism is not about one gender; it is about effacing those notions that we culture in our minds. It is about equity and transparency.

For a lot of the history of modern science, women were deliberately excluded. If you have any group that is underrepresented, then the people who are studying them may fall back on their own cultural or social assumptions. And if you have a field in which men dominate, which for most of the history of modern science men have, then, of course, their assumptions about women are going to be loading the kind of research that they do and the theories they come up with. And that is exactly what happens. The women scientists occupy an underline fragment while the central part is dominated by the males regardless of their contributions to the respective field. Lack of recognition demotivated the talented women and also set a wall for the junior researchers under them who constantly live in a fear of being rejected, mocked or falling prey to the web of discrimination.

Ankita Boruah

Ankita Boruah is a final year BSc Chemistry student at Cotton University, Assam.

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