Fiona Ingleby and Megan Head, evolutionary scientists and post-doctoral researchers at the University of Essex and Australian National University in Canberra, respectively, are calling attention to the fact that sexism is still alive, well, and asshat-y in the land of science. Ingleby and Head authored a paper on gender differences in the transition that PhD candidates make to post-doc researchers, and upon submitting that paper for acceptance to PLOS (Public Library of Science), were essentially told: “Needs more dudes.”
Ingleby, a postdoc at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, posted two excerpts of the anonymous review. “It would probably … be beneficial to find one or two male biologists to work with (or at least obtain internal peer review from, but better yet as active co-authors)” to prevent the manuscript from “drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically biased assumptions,” the reviewer wrote in one portion.
“Perhaps it is not so surprising that on average male doctoral students co-author one more paper than female doctoral students, just as, on average, male doctoral students can probably run a mile a bit faster than female doctoral students,” added the reviewer (whose gender is not known).
What’s most mind-boggling about this is that that latter comment did not come from your average Facebook commenter, but from a supposedly reputed scientist. “But but but men can run faster hrrrmmmm” is a pretty annoying and dumb argument in any sexism debate, but in a GD paper review? Are we really doing this?
This has been your regular reminder that scientific fields still don’t offer an equal playing field for women. Go about your day accordingly.