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Women in Science

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Women in Science
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Women in Science
Globalisation and fast development in technology have influenced people’s lives positively. Science and technology play a critical role in the modern society. Governments in developing and developed nations continue to realize the importance of developing the science sphere. Similarly, the roles of men and women in the community have changed intensely. Women now have the opportunity to express themselves freely and even take part in the development of science despite the problems that still exist in this sphere. Today, the society has realized the need to recognize the significance of applying a gender lens to science and development (Baker, 2016). Policies pertaining science and technology can only be sustainable and equitable if the gender lens is applied in order to reflect the roles and abilities of men and women in the society. Apparently, women have taken up an active role to demonstrate their capabilities in the field of science. Women also occupy prominent positions in science and other professions, which is a critical milestone in the journey of civilization.
Problems faced by Women in Science
Despite the profound contributions that women have made in the society, they go through various challenges in the society. For instance, culture and social norms are some of the major factors delay the development of women professions in the male-dominated environment. Traditional norms dictate that the male gender has molded the culture in the science field.

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As such, this culture does not suit the needs of women in both the social and learning environments. Women have long been viewed as caretakers where their primary role is to take care of their families (Whyte, 2017). This norm has led to a stereotypical perspective about women where most men disregard women’s abilities in the field of science. The societal norms also edict that women cannot be successful mothers or wives if they pursue a career in this path.
Additionally, females who pursue careers in science fields are linked with reduced femininity in the community. This hinders their advancement in this sphere since they tend to feel that their instinctive and inventive moves do not suit scientific research. More so, most female norms are usually based on collaboration rather than the competition while those of women are oriented to towards competition. As such, the desire to compete to prove one’s capability impedes the aspiration of women to advance in this career path.
Another problem that women face in the science field is gender bias due to the stereotype that women are incapable. This is reflected even in employment, as employers prefer male workers to females, as they seem more competent in the science sphere. More so, since time in memorial, science careers have been dominated by men, as such fewer women have graduated in this career path (Whyte, 2017). As such, there are fewer role models to encourage younger girls to pursue these careers. Many times, women, make decisions on courses to pursue in college depending on the encouragement they receive and especially if it is a woman. It usually makes them motivated when they see female scientists talk to them about their successful career paths.
In this respect, I chose to discuss women who have pursued careers in sciences. The two women that I identified are Florence Nightingale who is the founder of nursing and a statistician, and Patricia Goldman who is a professor of Neurobiology and psychiatry at the University of Yale. Although, extreme discrimination of women in sciences has significantly reduced in the last decade, a climate that is less friendly to women still exists, as gender disparity in the field of science remains eminent across the world. Averagely, women across the globe account for less than a third of the total number of employees who have been hired in the field of scientific research while their men counterparts account for two-thirds (72.2%) (Whyte, 2017). This disparity extends to salaries where women earn less than men in this field.
Florence Nightingale
During the Crimean war that occurred in 1853, Florence Nightingale demonstrated her innovative skills through an interconnection of theory research and practice. It is during this war that a scandal emerged about insufficient medical attention, unhygienic and inhumane environment that injured soldiers were subjected to (Bostridge, 2015). The bad character reflected by preceding nurses was the reason why there was inadequate staff. In an attempt to treat, the wounded soldiers better the secretary of the Crimean war Sidney Herbert requested Florence to organise nurses to attend to the sick and wounded. It is at this point that nightingale discovered that the patients lived in deplorable sanitary conditions, which facilitated the progression of infectious diseases that resulted in the death of the soldiers. To address the situation, Florence implemented several concepts including controlling infection where she cleaned the whole hospital to ensure proper hygiene. She encouraged self-care whereby she asked patients to do things on their own to increase independence in order to support healing, she also performed regular assessments to, monitor the condition of her patients (Steele, 2017).
More so, Florence practiced therapeutic communication where she spoke to her patients and offered care in their time of desolation; she also practiced spiritual nursing and public health advocacy. All these efforts contributed to the advancement of health. She remains a source of inspiration to many and a subject of research in academics worldwide. After the end of the war, Florence went back home where she was awarded the ‘Nightingale jewel’ for the services that she provided in the war (Steele, 2017). She was also given a prize worth two hundred and fifty dollars from the British government, which she used to institute the Nightingale training school for nurses as well as the St. Thomas hospital. Her work raised the status of the nursing career from an ordinary to a reputable career that was admired by noble women. Later, she published a book that was titled as nursing notes; which was meant to give an overview of nursing a sick patient.
Patricia S. Goldman-Rakic
Patricia Goldman-Rakic is a renowned neuroscientist who made profound contributions in the field of neuroscience. Her discoveries regarding the frontal cortex in the brain have helped scientists across the world to examine the neurological basis of human behavior and disorders such as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. She was one of the most creative and sophisticated scientists in the contemporary age of brain explorations. The main thrust of her work investigated the structure and role of the brain’s frontal lobe. She discovered and described the obscure order of this particular region of the brain, which is associated with high order cognitive functioning (Arnsten, 2013). Patricia was the first to utilize new scientific methods such as radioactive tracers, which are used to monitor cell activity. As such, with the use of several techniques, she discovered many factors influencing brain development, such as gender and age. Also, she found out that regeneration and compensation that occurs after injury has limits.
Patricia focused on multidisciplinary mechanisms that defined the working memory as a type of memory that we use to recall a telephone number as we reach for the receiver. Before, her research there was limited knowledge regarding the prefrontal cortex and information that existed about this particular of the brain was too complex to study. She described the working memory as one that is capable of holding information online while processing a task that requires manipulation and retrieval of successive steps. Patricia devoted a lot of energy to her work and dream to understand the particulars of brain’s role and dysfunctions. She did not believe so much in herself but her ideas and vision. By the time she died, she was a professor at the University of Yale in the departments, of neurology, neurobiology, and psychiatry.
Opinion and Rationale
The two scientists were embraced in the society as they played an important role in the development of science. Both made profound contributions in this sphere that were received positively. Despite the difficulties that they may have faced in a male-dominated environment, they still emerged triumphant. For instance, Florence lived in the Victorian era where women were known to belong to the domestic sphere and hence were only required to perform house chores. At this time, women’s rights were extremely limited, and they did not have the liberty to own property or even education. Victorian women were often regarded as the property of their husbands as they gave them the rights to what their bodies produced including children and domestic labor (Vicinus, 2013). However, Florence was able to defy all odds in the society, as she emerged as a respectable woman due to the services that she provided in the Crimean war.
On the other hand, during the time, that Patricia lived feminist ideas had already spread among various social classes, and most discriminatory laws had been revoked. As such, Patricia did not face much discrimination as many women had taken up careers in the path and had excelled just as she did. The two feminists have helped modern female scientists working in the male-dominated environment in several ways. First, they have inspired them to maintain focus despite the challenges that they face. Secondly, female scientists in this age have learnt that knowledge knows no gender boundaries as these female scientists disapproved the notion that women should not pursue careers in science. These pioneers serve as role models to young women today who are willing pursue careers in science or already in the job market.
However, some people may tend to disagree with the idea that women can excel in science just as men do. As such, it is important to highlight that many things have changed over time; more women are pursuing science career fields than before. For instance, the nursing profession is one of the most popular science professions that females have dominated. Nursing as science has attracted a considerable number of female students since its inception. One reason that has resulted to a significant number of female nurses is the negative idea that men may look unmanly if they pursue the career and that females can interact more efficiently with patients than men. Women have also taken up other medical courses such as neuroscience, psychology, dentistry, ophthalmology among others.

References
Arnsten, A. F. (2013). The neurobiology of thought: the groundbreaking discoveries of Patricia Goldman-Rakic 1937–2003. Cerebral Cortex, 23(10), 2269-2281.
Baker, D. R. (2016). Equity issues in science education. In Understanding Girls (pp. 127-160). Sense Publishers, Rotterdam.
Bostridge, M. (2015). Florence Nightingale: Saving lives with the statistics. BBC iWon.
Steele, N. M. (2017). A time to celebrate: Florence Nightingale. Urologic Nursing, 37(2), 57-60.
Vicinus, M. (Ed.). (2013). Suffer and Be Still (Routledge Revivals): Women in the Victorian Age. Routledge.
Whyte, J. (2017). Girls into science and technology: The story of a project. Taylor & Francis.

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