Gender bias and science

 

Sir, – Prof Nancy Hopkins (December 10th) writes about “unconscious gender bias” at the top in science. I would argue that by far the most notorious example of gender bias in Irish universities is the existence of a number of women’s and gender studies centres, several of which have existed for more than 20 years and which are overwhelmingly staffed by women. According to the US writer Daphne Patai, they are more concerned with political activism than with scholarship and the pursuit of knowledge. They share a common ideology, central to which is the notion that gender is socially constructed and that biology has little or nothing to do with gender; openness to any challenge to this ideology or to criticism appears to be at a minimum. This is all the more extraordinary since science has refuted its central tenet and has shown biology plays an undoubted and perhaps a major role in gender construction.

An example of how the pretensions of gender studies can be exposed occurred in 2012 when the NIKK Nordic Gender Institute was closed. The decision was made after Norwegian state television had broadcast a documentary in which the unscientific character of the NIKK and its research was exposed. The whole enterprise was based on ideology with no basis in evidence. – Yours, etc,

DAVID WALSH,

Maynooth, Co Kildare.