The answer is most likely “no”.
For decades, the lack of women scientists has been the big issue. Quotas have sometimes been implemented, with the aim of reaching a certain sex equality. Hopefully, women will be at the forefront in twenty years, and we would have then reached sex equality, but not gender equality. Either way, we now strongly need to shift towards gender equality.
Change of paradigm
Over the years, with the breakthrough of women in the academic realm, and the slow but steady decline of patriarchy in the western world, questions have arisen: Are genders and sex the same? Are genders binary? Where shall we place transgender, intersexual, and non-binary individuals, who are all intrinsically rejected from gendered and heteronormative standards, on a binary long reserved solely for cis men and women?
To Quota or not to quota?
Can we blame so-called patriarchy for that? Maybe yes, maybe not. Nonetheless, men are bemoaned to be too prominent in sciences and many other fields – whilst women outnumber them in other fields, like humanities. In the past couple of decades, states have been trying to change this paradigm, to get closer to a gender balance. It shouldn’t matter if women want to become lab rats and men become bookworms, and vice versa. Neither sciences nor humanities are more prestigious. And no one shall be prevented from studying what they want to study. Implementing quotas might not be the right solution, a drastic change of mindset is what’s most needed.
Women in sciences in Switzerland
Thankfully for women, change is on the way in the world of sciences. Women used to be invisible, often overlooked, when not disregarded or even marginalized. In 2019, they represented 36% of scientists in Switzerland, a growth of 16% since 2000, with 45% of science studies being women in Swiss universities, 9% are missing – where are these women gone? Let’s hope that more women will stick to sciences and that parity between men and women will be achieved.
Are personal experiences biases?
That is good news. But how do non-cis people position themselves within these prominently gendered fields, in a gendered world?
So, how could we, as gender-conforming PR, help non-cis scientists to promote their works in science and technology? Science is a world in which bringing new ideas is by essence the purpose of its very own raison d’être, yet in which addressing new challenges and wanting to stir things up can be met with skepticism and hostility. At the outset, by doing what we are used to do: put ourselves in the shoes of others. We listen to and learn from our customers to make sure we convey adequately their voice.
It can also get really tricky for trans* and non-binary people to secure revenues. This becomes clear when one knows that half of transgender and non-conforming people in the US say they were harassed in their department. Ostracization plays a key role into that, thus they have to fight more for their rights and spend a large chunk of their lives transitioning and/or chiefly struggling to find their places in society or comply with it. Accompanying scientists along their path to achieving their full potential in regard to their science projects is our ambition, and this starts by helping them out in their own personal lives. And that’s where a good science PR could help.
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