A Q&A on gender and science with Londa Schiebinger, author of Gendered Innovations in Science and Engineering (2008), appears on the higher education news and resource website Inside Higher Ed.
Through her answers, Schiebinger provides insight into the significance of gender analysis—studying the impact of gender on scientific questions and findings, as well as who leads this research—in the sciences. In Gendered Innovations, she “explores how how gender analysis can profoundly enhance human knowledge in the areas of science, medicine, and engineering, offering concrete examples of new research results and future avenues for research.”
She clarifies that this volume does not focus on biases against women in the sciences, but rather how the natural sciences and engineering fields can benefit from gender analysis. These gendered innovations can take place at three levels: 1) Increasing participation of women in the sciences 2) changing the day-to-day culture of labs, universities, and corporations that foster the growth of both male and female scientists and 3) changing the gender inequalities that have been ingrained in scientific institutions and have influenced the knowledge coming out of those institutions. Schiebinger’s book offers detailed examples of how gender analysis has changed specific aspects of particular sciences.
In response to Scott Jaschik's question about the notion of difference possibly leading to biases suggesting inherent differences in women's scientific interests, Schiebinger notes that gender analysis is an inclusive discipline that can benefit both men and women. “We need to be open to the possibility that human knowledge—what we know, what we value, what we consider important—may change dramatically when women (as well as underrepresented minorities) become full partners in knowledge production.”