Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What is “Feminist Biology”?

The University of Wisconsin at Madison has decided to offer a postdoctoral fellowship in something called “feminist biology.” It’s not clear what feminist biology involves. The university says that the program “aims to develop new theory and methods in biology that reflect feminist approaches.” It will focus on gender-related research and educate young scientists about gender bias.

The director of the school’s Center for Research on Gender and Women says that this fellowship is very necessary because biology is now full of patriarchal bias and points of view that prevent women’s success. As an example, one professor cited the 19th-century view that women were less intelligent because their brains were smaller. I think that’s a silly argument. Universities don’t need a new feminist program because of what scientists believed 150 years ago. I don’t believe that bias keeps women from succeeding in biology. Women already earn more PhDs than men in this field. Women have a significant majority in undergraduate and master’s degrees and even a majority in doctoral degrees. A few departments are exceptions, but biology is not one of them.

Feminism flocked into most humanities courses years ago, and students are expected to examine literature, history, and philosophy in light of feminist perspectives. But do we now have to endure this in the sciences, too? Biology ought to be a field based on fact and reality, and your perspective should matter very little.

Men are starting to avoid the college departments where women predominate. Maybe that’s because men don’t want to pay for courses where feminists subordinate fact and truth to Feminist ideology. Maybe men want to learn biology as it really is, not as the feminists are trying to change it.

Listen to the radio commentary here:


Patrick said...

As a scientist, I can attest that there are enough issues with the way science is done in this country to warrant adding feminist voices to the scientific community. For example, many drugs go to market without ever being tested on female animals. For some drugs, this has caused significant problems with inaccurate dosages. Furthermore, last I heard there were only five drugs approved for use during pregnancy. Five.
The number of female biologists is certainly sizable and growing. Still, being female does not automatically sensitize someone to notice gender biases in research methodologies. I think there is a niche waiting to be filled based on pointing out these biases and helping the scientific community make positive changes. We probably don't need a lot of scientists specializing in feminist biology, but there's a place for such a specialty.

Anonymous said...

Taking a degree in feminist biology should disqualify the holder from participating in biology. If there is bias in research, it's probably the result of feminist insistence on equality (i.e., identity). Nevertheless, it seems insufficient grounds for establishing a whole new degree program.

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