Backlash over 'girl thing' science video

Thu, Jun 28, 2012, 01:00

Sir, – With reference to the article “Science ‘girl thing’ video sparks backlash”. Is Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn aware of the research by Amanda Diekman and other social psychology researchers which has found that women’s lesser interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) careers may arise from the perception that these careers are less likely to fulfil communal goals such as altruism?

Both men and women who value these goals highly have been found to be less attracted to STEM careers. Perhaps these misperceptions could be addressed by highlighting the noble aims, achievements and positive influence that STEM research has had and will have for our society and ourselves. And if possible, remind young women and men of the personal side of pursuing STEM careers. As Gertrude B Elion, biochemist and Nobel Laureate stated: “I had no specific bent toward science until my grandfather died of stomach cancer. I decided that nobody should suffer that much”. – Yours, etc,

MARY KINAHAN,

PhD Student,

Business School,

Dublin City University,

Dublin 9.