Matilda Effect

Gender stereotyping of women in the sciences has been shown in what is called the Matilda Effect.

The Matilda Effect credits men for the scientific contributions of women. This means that women are being overlooked and receiving little to no credit for their scientific achievements because of gender, not because of the quality of the scientific work.

The Matilda Effect is based off of the theory developed by a woman named Matilda Joslyn Gage. Ms. Gage, an abolitionism among many other things, was the one to make the observation that women never received the credit for work done in the sciences.

An example of the Matilda Effect:

Ben Barres, was once a female neurobiologist named Barbara prior to his sex-reassignment surgeries in order to become a man. After conducting his own research, Barres reported that peers and other academics evaluated the research done by his “sister” Barbara as weaker compared to work done by Ben. Barres also reported that he was part of conversations that talked poorly about the abilities of female scientists demonstrating the lack of respect for female scientists based solely on gender and not any other evidence. This case surrounding Ben Barres shows that Ben’s work as the female scientist Barbara was seen as poor in comparison with his work as the male scientist Ben, even though it was the same person’s work.

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