Research: Top 10 Women Scientists Of The '80s: Making A Difference

In spite of traditional gender biases women scientists may have encountered as students and as working researchers, they are tackling tough research problems and handling them well.

Abigail Grissom
Oct 14, 1990

In spite of traditional gender biases women scientists may have encountered as students and as working researchers, they are tackling tough research problems and handling them well.

Ellen Vitetta, director of the Cancer Immunobiology Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, says women face different types of sex discrimination during different phases of their careers. When you first start out, other researchers don't take you seriously until you prove that you're going to hang in there, she says. They expect you to drop out after only a few years to start a family. Later, when a woman becomes the head of a research group, detractors may then criticize her on a more personal level mainly for the tough, aggressive, and unfeminine behavior required of any team leader charged with the success of a project. They [other scientists] expect you to be soft and feminine, says Vitetta....