Meg Urry on the neutering of female scientists

"American men can’t seem to appreciate a woman as a woman and as a scientist; it’s one or the other."

- Meg Urry, quoted in The New York Times

Eileen Pollack, a creative writing professor at the University of Michigan who dropped out of physics after finishing her degree with top honors at Yale, very much wants to understand why women still aren't equally represented in the sciences. With an emphasis on the US situation, Pollack talks to a large number of women in scientific fields - including Meg Urry, a professor of physics and astronomy at Yale - and tries to understand what may be driving women away. There are a large number of factors, but the quote refers to an intriguing phenomenon of perception. Pollack notes:

Urry told me that at the space telescope institute where she used to work, the women from Italy and France “dress very well, what Americans would call revealing. You’ll see a Frenchwoman in a short skirt and fishnets; that’s normal for them. The men in those countries seem able to keep someone’s sexual identity separate from her scientific identity.

You can read the entire article here.