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Abstract

This article examines possible reasons why women are still not making it to the top in the hard sciences in academia. It considers two major difficulties that women face. The first concerns the psychological nature of women, which is alleged to be unsuited to the competitive and aggressive mindset considered necessary for scientific achievement. The second concerns the childbearing and child-nurturing roles of women, which make it difficult for them to conform to the intense, time-consuming demands of an academic career in science. The article argues that many of the qualities associated with the female stereotype are actually human characteristics well-suited to the increasingly collaborative science of the twenty-first century and goes on to discuss support mechanisms that might aid women to balance their personal and professional lives. Addressing both issues requires casting a critical eye on the traditional metrics by which scientific achievement is measured.

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