Misleading Image

The article entitled "Researchers Embark On Effort To Improve Image Of Scientists" by A.J.S. Rayl in the June 22 issue of The Scientist (page 20) is a timely and important message to all members of the scientific community. Unfortunately, the impression that I, and a number of my colleagues, are left with after reading the article is a disturbing one. Why were the interviews conducted exclusively with white males? This perpetuates one of the most damaging stereotypes and myths about the role of

Ellen Weaver
Oct 11, 1992

The article entitled "Researchers Embark On Effort To Improve Image Of Scientists" by A.J.S. Rayl in the June 22 issue of The Scientist (page 20) is a timely and important message to all members of the scientific community. Unfortunately, the impression that I, and a number of my colleagues, are left with after reading the article is a disturbing one. Why were the interviews conducted exclusively with white males? This perpetuates one of the most damaging stereotypes and myths about the role of women and minorities in the sciences--that they are invisible.

In a study published in 1989 (D.C. Fort and H.L. Varney, Science and Children, 26[8]:8-13, 1989), 1,600 students responded to a request to draw a picture of a scientist. Ninety-nine percent of the boys and 86 percent of the girls depicted male scientists. This perception is a reflection of the societal view of science-- which, I fear, is...

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