Quick, everyone! Get out your Bingo cards!
The International Congress of Quantum Chemistry is going to be held next year, and they announced their preliminary speaker list: it was entirely made up of men. This is not surprising. It’s held by the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, which is almost entirely made up of men, too.
Notably, there are only four female scientists among the 110 living members of IAQMS, which elects new candidates by internal vote. Ten out of 102 talks during the previous three conference were given by women, and only two female chemists have been awarded medals over the past decade, according to the instigators of the boycott.
I’ve highlighted the bit about how this kind of sexism is perpetuated. It takes a real effort by existing members of the organization to break up bad habits…and it doesn’t sound as if some members are interested, despite the fact that there is an online list of women in quantum chemistry that would make it easy to find interesting women to invite.
Cue the excuses:
Zhigang Shuai, a professor at Tsinghua University in China and chair of this year’s ICQC, wrote a letter to explain that one woman had been among the original invitees, but had not responded
There might be women in our second choices!
many of the people on the original list were obligatory selections
There aren’t any women of obligatory importance in the field.
And then, of course, the Asshat Backlash. Here’s Professor James Kress, complaining about all those people complaining about discrimination on a chemistry listserv.
If you INSIST on discussing this on CCL, the please place an identifying header on all your emails so that those of us who care about SCIENCE, as opposed to trendy whining about supposed “gender inequality” and other fashionable modes of Political Correctness can at least have a hope of filtering out all of the nonsensical content and peruse the SCIENTIFIC content.
Oh, Dr Kress cannot shut up:
Inequality is a fundamental characteristic of any collection of more than one human being,he said, and suggested that if people don’t like the current conferences they should start their own.You’re not entitled to excel. You have to earn it. I guess that’s kind of an old fashioned perspective but it’s certainly mine.
Kress doubled down in a followup email.Given that everyone has unique DNA, it is scientifically certain that no two people will be identical in terms of capabilities,he wrote.ALL SORTS of differences in capabilities exist in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Math, etc. Those who work harder, overcome their capability deficient and make themselves equal to or better than their colleagues. Hard work is the way to address the capability issue and thus achieve equality.
He’s got his, and by god, he deserved it, and if you aren’t getting invited to speak at conferences, it’s entirely because you are a lazy slacker with female DNA.
So, what conferences have a problem with rampant manly privilege so far? Atheist, skeptic, science fiction, literature, philosophy, technology, and now chemistry? Did I miss any? Yeah, probably. It seems to be all of them.