December 8, 2022

Recognizing women & science


This archived article was written by: Nathaniel Woodward

I’ve spent a lot of time writing articles and answering questions over the past few years and if anything Ive written gives an insight into exactly who I am you may have gleamed that I can be a passionate person. If you follow me on Facebook you get a dose of my passion nearly daily, sometimes multiple times a day thanks to our science denier in chief irritating me. But I recently watched something that moved me so profoundly that I’m not sure how to express myself accurately about the experience. Rarely do my wife and I get the chance to get out to the movies alone without the kids so our film viewing over the past few years has consisted mostly of wonderful Disney films and way, way too many viewings of the movie Trolls. This past month we were able to sneak away and watch the hit movie “Hidden Figures” based on the true story of three incredible African American women directly responsible for the success of our space program in its infancy.
These three women: Kathrine Goble Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, a mathematician, engineer and genius-computer programer were largely forgotten to history and their contributions brushed under the rug.
But in this film and in real life they have now begun to get the recognition they deserve albeit far, far too late. But I don’t want this article to be on their achievements only because their story is a tragically common one for women in science and its time we set this record straight.
From Johnson, Jackson and Vaughan to Maric’, Franklin and Lederberg, these women achieved incredible feats of science and routinely and purposefully denied recognition.
Why would this pattern persist for as long as it did? Routine misogyny is not a mystery, people have for most of human history viewed woman as inferior to men without a shred of evidence so perhaps its not too hard to fathom why this occurs. Regardless of that fact, I’m angry, what is wrong with us? Perhaps we are so caught up with our unsupportable opinions on superiority that it may be entirely impossible to change human nature at this point.
But my passion has been turned to this, we must fight for their recognition and stop this patriarchal system. I supported the Women’s March and I support the Scientific March coming up, now I feel we need to combine the two and look into our history and bring to light these incredible women and their work and work ourselves to make sure this type of oppression never happens again. My daughter has three posters above her bed, one of Marie Curie, one of Rachel Carson and one of Rosalind Franklin and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure their legacy is preserved forever.

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