‘The Finkbeiner Test’

by Curtis Brainard, cjr.org, March 22, 2013
There’s still a gender gap in the sciences, with far fewer women than men in research jobs, and those women earning substantially less, but it doesn’t help when journalists treat every female scientist they profile as an archetype of perseverance.
….
[Christie] Aschwanden cited a few examples littered with phrases like, “she is married, has two children and has been able to keep up with her research,” and proposed that, as a means of avoiding such gratuitous gender profiles, reporters adopt a simple, seven-part test. To pass, a story cannot mention:

  • The fact that she’s a woman
  • Her husband’s job
  • Her child-care arrangements
  • How she nurtures her underlings
  • How she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field
  • How she’s such a role model for other women
  • How she’s the “first woman to…”

Read more here…

What do you think about this test, readers? Will this test help us write better articles about women scientists? Do you think it’s okay to mention a woman’s personal life in an article about her career? Why or why not?

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