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Diversity and inclusion

How science gets women wrong

21 Sep 2017

Angela Saini’s much discussed book Inferior re-examines some of the science underpinning long-standing gender stereotypes. Saini also shines a light on some of the contemporary research revealing that gender differences are not as straightforward as we might think. In this month’s edition of the Physics World podcast, Andrew Glester speaks to Saini about why she wrote the book and how it has transformed her view of the issues.

“Writing the book has made me question my own feelings about the world,” says Saini. The engineer-turned-journalist admits that she fully expected to discover more clear-cut differences between men and women, and was surprised by the inconclusive science behind many claims. One of Saini’s key points is that scientific studies of gender always need to be viewed within their historical and cultural contexts. Journalists and science communicators also play a role in translating research findings, which often include subjective interpretations.

Also in the podcast, Glester travels to Birmingham to the International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP), which took place earlier this year. Accompanied by Physics World journalist Sarah Tesh, the pair meet delegates who share their experiences working in physics. Among them is Jess Wade from Imperial College London, who reviewed Saini’s book for the July issue of Physics World, and Helga Danga who is the only female physicist she knows of in Zimbabwe.

For more information about the ICWIP event, check out Sarah’s account on our blog.

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