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International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences Accused of Sexism

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Saturday, February 22, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2014

Bias against women in science reared its ugly head last week when the preeminent conference for theoretical chemistry posted a list of two dozen confirmed speakers without including a single woman.

A group of female scientists promptly called for a boycott, but faced backlash from a prominent chemist who dismissed their efforts as "nonsensical” and "trendy whining about supposed ‘gender inequality.’”

More on that in a bit, but first some background. The International Congress of Quantum Chemistry is held by the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences and scheduled for June in Beijing next year. When the conference revealed its initial speaker list (since taken down from the website), every one was male.

"It happened again — another major theoretical chemistry conference features an all-male program,” reads the boycott petition, which was written by theoretical chemists Anna Krylov, Emily A. Carter and Laura Gagliardi and received 835 signatures within a few days.

Read it all here.

An apology came from the President of The International Congress of Quantum Chemistry. Apologies should be followed by actions to correct wrongs. Let's hope that happens.

Tags:  chemistry  physics  sexism 

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Comments on this post...

Alice C. Linsley says...
Posted Saturday, February 22, 2014
It is ironic that the reality of gender inequality in the Sciences is termed "trendy whining" because it has finally become a media focus.
Permalink to this Comment }

Lynn L. Billman says...
Posted Saturday, March 1, 2014
A petition and media splash may seem like an extreme reaction -- but it did draw attention, and I bet some change will be made! However, I am very sympathetic to the organizers having to look harder to find qualified women speakers than men, especially in such a field as this, since frankly, there just aren't as many to choose from. One of our challenges!
Permalink to this Comment }

Alice C. Linsley says...
Posted Sunday, March 2, 2014
Yet another reason for CWIS to be a place for women to connect, be encouraged and mentored.
Permalink to this Comment }