North Country is about a woman who has to work in the mine fields to support her children. However, male miners thought that the job was theirs, and the few women who were accepted as mine workers were always subjected to discrimination. Today it is different. Home, it seems, is not the only place where women can gain domination nowadays. In fact, more women are working with different careers in the corporate world. And that is nothing. Women are leading when it comes to traditionally male professions, such as science, engineering and mathematics.
If we go back to the days when women were not much acknowledged as excellent contributors in the labor force, wed be shaking our heads by how things turned out. Today, women wear suits and have high-paying jobs side by side with men. Science is one of the fields where women have found their niche. Women have proven that they can contribute to the scientific community despite their gender. In fact, there are many notable female scientists who established their name and continued to dedicate their lives to science.
One of the female scientists who had a big contribution in the field of science is Mary Osborn. She is a cell biologist and one of the pioneers of immunofluorescence microscopy, which is helpful in determining new diseases. She became one of Europes top scientists and was a highly cited researcher. Osborn established the cytoskeleton research in Europe with the help of her husband. Her research into intermediate filaments contributed to cancer diagnostics. Other than her scientific contributions, she also helped in promoting gender balance among scientists (Sanides).
Another notable female scientist is Marie Curie, who is known to be the first ever female scientist in the modern world. She was also called the Mother of Modern Physics after she pioneered in the research of radioactivity, a word she herself coined. Aside from these, she was also the first woman in Europe to be awarded with a Ph. D. in research science and the very first female professor at the Sorbonne. She has discovered polonium and radium, and found the nature of radiation and beta rays. Curie was also the first woman recipient of Noble Prizes in two different scientific disciplines.
Even when she was in the university, she has shown potential as a scientist. She got the first place in Physics when she graduated. By then she has started researching. She had discovered radioactivity on other elements and proved that radioactivity is an atomic property. Through her researches with her husband, she has discovered the first polonium and then radium later on (Lewis). There have been studies conducted which showed that there has been a decrease in the number of female scientists today.
Some attributed this to the factors which affected a female from further pursuit of the field. Others reported that there is still more males today in science than women. There was a study by Matkins which showed the enabling and disabling factors which affect women in being scientists. The author quoted C. P. Snow in saying that the scientific community suffered potential deficit in knowledge because females were excluded from being scientists. The study also showed that 14 percent of college female freshmen wanted to take a science major, compared to 40 percent in males.
Moreover, the study revealed that there was an increase in the number of women who dropped science majors. Matkins study showed that determination is the enabling factor in a woman scientists life. The disabling factors, on the other hand, were the following: sexist aspects, paternalism of institutions, teacher attitudes and extreme competitiveness. However, there are studies which showed that there are fewer women today in science. A study by the European Union revealed that there was a decline in the number of female scientists.
The study also showed that female scientists tend to drop out more often than men. Other than financial losses, there was also intellectual loss when a female scientist leaves the field of research (Peerenboom). It is interesting to note that at this time when women are freer to choose their careers, be it in science, math or engineering, there are still fewer women in science. This is supported by an article of Peerenboom which reported that science, particularly research, is still a male-dominated field. During 1997, women started to earn medical, law and doctorate degrees.
And by 1999, more than half (60%) of women were working outside their homes (Discovery Education). Moreover, Armitage reported that there was an increase in the number of women who pursued math and science since the early 1980s. These findings lead to the question: How come there are fewer women in science today? Perhaps this can be explained by Gerlind Wallon, leader of the EMBO Programme Women in Science, who said that As in the past its still women who are staying at home.
Lewis, Jone Johnson. Marie Curie. 2007. 27 Sept 2007 http://careers.the-scientist.com/index.cfm?attributes.fuseaction=diversity_article.display&i=64