It’s that day when we’re supposed to celebrate the accomplishment’s of women. I say “sadly,” because unfortunately there are way too many people out there who would rather sneer at and diminish women’s status in the world.
Case in point: on twitter, I ran across this lovely tweet from one of those repugnant slymepitters.
On #IWD remembered the nearly 0 wimmin – Nobels in science, highbrow art, chess GMs, great standups, but 100s of pop-culture hos #ftbullies
Yes. Let’s remember those women.
Let’s remember Lise Meitner, Hilde Mangold, Chien-Shiung Wu, Rosalind Franklin, and Jocelyn Bell — who were all well-qualified (men won the prizes for work equivalent to what they did, instead) to win a Nobel but didn’t get one.
Rather than 0 women, perhaps we should remember Marie Curie and Maria Goeppert Mayer, who won Nobels in physics; Irène Joliot-Curie, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, and Ada E. Yonath in chemistry; Barbara McClintock, Carol W. Greider, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Gertrude B. Elion, Gerty Cori, Linda B. Buck, Rita Levi-Montalcini, and Rosalyn Yalow, in physiology or medicine. Clearly women are not intrinsically incapable of scientific work at the highest levels. Of those whose work I’m familiar with in detail, I have to tell you that McClintock blows me away with the stunning brilliance of her abstract reasoning — I know of no other male scientist whose work is at all comparable (that of course is a matter of taste!)
The relatively lower frequency of women recieving Nobels is not something any man should take pride in; what it really indicates is that we’ve been shortchanging half the human population, depriving them of opportunities to excel. Wait — we’ve been doing worse than shortchanging women; we’ve been depriving all of humanity of the potential in those minds. This pattern of discrimination against women has hurt us all.
Let’s not forget also all the people, men and women alike, deprived of opportunities because of their race or class — deprived by the kind of endemic bigotry that would, for instance, denigrate an entire group of people as “pop-culture hos”. And it’s not just science — it was good of our petty MRA to remind us that we’ve also lost their contributions to art and theater and games.
That’s what I think of everytime some bigot crows about the absence of some group of people from some field of endeavor — it’s a reminder of all that we’ve lost to selfish stupidity.