Christa Kuljian

Research Associate, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand

2019 to 2020
Research Fellow

Persistent Biological Myths: Fifty Years of Pushing Back Against Gender Bias in Science, 1969-2019

Recent statements by male scientists, including Alessandro Strumia at CERN and James Damore at Google, claim that women have less innate capacity in science than men. What contributes to the persistence of these views? This book project will explore the work of women scientists in the United States in the 1970s and 80s, who made important contributions to the understanding of gender bias in science. Ruth Hubbard, the first woman to achieve tenure in biology at Harvard in 1973, Rita Arditti and Freda Salzman with Science for the People, Evelyn Fox Keller at MIT, and the founders of the Genes and Gender Collective all contributed to the growing literature and awareness related to scientific sexism. My research will follow the lives of these scientists, within a changing social and political context, and investigate why scientific views of women’s biology and women in science continue to be contentious fifty years later.