12 June 2013

How could it be there’d never been a woman in charge of Science before?

On a Science magazine policy podcast, incoming editor Marcia McNutt was asked about being Science’s first woman editor (5 minutes into the podcast). She replied:

Well, I think it’s perhaps rather remarkable that here in the year 2013, I would be the first, because in my view, there have been stellar women who have been the backbone of Science magazine for many, many years. If you look at  the top editorial staff members, and the top brains behind the business of Science magazine, it has been largely a female enterprise for many, many years. So the fact that it has taken this long to have a female editor-in-chief is somewhat perhaps unusual.

Sadly, I’d argue that never having a woman in a top editorial job before is neither “remarkable” nor “unusual.” It’s called sexism. And this is not a problem of the past, it is a current problem. I’m not saying Science has been sexist. What I am saying is that women are still poorly represented in leadership roles in scientific societies and journals in science generally.  That a journal has never had a female editor before is not surprising. I hope that a journal not having a more equal representation will be surprising now and in the future.

Don’t whitewash the long history of sexist behaviour in science.

External links

Marcia McNutt interview

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