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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v5.i3.20
pages 219-237

BRITISH WOMEN SCIENTISTS ORGANIZING FOR CHANGE: A PROFILE OF A LOCAL SUPPORT GROUP

Dianne Milieu
P.O. Box 369, Cambridge CBS 8FJ, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT

This article reports on the activities of a support and campaigning organization for female scientists in the United Kingdom via a qualitative survey of one of its local branches. A sample of 40 members was sent a simple questionnaire, and follow-up interviews with 16 of the women focused on their reasons for joining the group. The majority of members reported that they had joined because of a desire to form and participate in a network of like-minded women by sharing information and giving and receiving emotional and practical support. These needs arise partly from the need for women scientists to form their own peer networks to advance professional progress, and from the participants' reported experiences of discrimination and marginalization in male-dominated workplaces. Inherent in these activities is a notion of change. The local group's strategy focused on trying to increase women's representation and retention in science rather than directing change outward by trying to reshape science to better suit women's lives, or changing the deep structures of the episteme. It is suggested that no long-term improvement in women's position is possible without incorporating a fundamental shift in perspective toward changing science rather than women, potentially via an overtly feminist analysis.


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