Plaque with names of women scientists

Gender and Science

Science and Gender Studies
Plaque with names of women scientists
Graphic: catherinecronin

In recent decades, gender studies has contributed new methodological and theoretical perspectives to the study of science. An important issue therein has been making the often overlooked contributions of women to science visible. A further topic is the structural and ideological mechanisms that excluded or marginalized women over the course of history up to today. Such research also addresses the influence of a male-dominated science on research questions and results. Critical reflection on science in gender studies has engaged with all the natural sciences – including mathematics and physics. However, it has paid particular attention to developments in medicine and the biological sciences. At issue here is highlighting the role of these sciences in constructing and naturalizing socio-political representations of gender but also “race” or class.

Social representations of gender can also influence knowledge-production or the development of theories. For example, a series of studies have demonstrated the epistemological function of gender-coded dualisms and metaphors, of explicit or implicit assumptions about gender differences in 19th century cell biology or in 20thcentury molecular genetics. Gender studies have also yielded important findings on the intertwinement of bio-medicine, politics and society. Our investigations of the life sciences from the 18th to the 20th century seek to shed new light on these intertwinements.

Contact: Florence Vienne