Sunday, August 22, 2021

Me Too Moments of Women Scientists

 Many women #scientists and #physicians have experienced #MeToo moments. All these experiences were annoying to the women. Many found the events hurtful and demeaning; some were scared. 

Although sexual #harassment of women scientists has been frequently documented in #Science and other scientific journals, less has been written about the causes of the harassment. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Science is  competitive endeavor. On the other hand, modern large scientific efforts, such as the development of COVID vaccines, require the cooperation of large and diverse groups of scientists.
  • The workforce in science has changed. Women and Asian minorities have become more dominant in laboratories. Although scientists like to think of themselves as elements for change, many traditional scientists, i.e white males, find this change frightening.
  • Personnel in science are generally part of tiered, hierarchal systems that foster hazing during "training" periods. In some ways the ranks in medicine (interns, residents, attending physicians), laboratories (graduates students, postdocs, research associates, professors), and universities (lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, professor) are similar to military ranks where sexual harassment is also a problem.
  • New ideas are the currency of science. That makes those who have new ideas (ie. the young, women, minorities) threatening to those in power.
The important point is harassment decreases the effectiveness of the workforce and destroys lives. 

In GAMES FOR COUPLES, I tried to show the consequences of sexual harassment  on women engaged in a scientific endeavor - the development of cultured meat (the so-called meat grown in a test tube) - while creating an exciting, but realistic murder mystery. So, enjoy the plot but think about the consequences of Me Too moments.

Blurb for GAMES FOR COUPLESDid lethal compounds in a cultured meat product kill a man in a clinical trial? Or did the toxic competition among biotechnology companies and spite of battling couples cause his death?  

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