The Facebook page, ‘I f***king love science’ has climbed the rungs of popularity and found itself with 4.5 million followers since its inception just over a year ago. Although founder Elise Andrew made no attempts (and rightly so) to disguise her gender, those who were unaware she was of the fairer sex were dumbfounded once they discovered.
The awful truth is that industrial sexism, particularly in the world of technology and the sciences, continues to be evident at all levels. The appointments of women in high-flying positions of power (see our post Silicon sisters: Top women in tech) have definitely helped put cracks in the stereotype that women have less scientific acumen or ability but there’s obviously still a way to go. Elise Andrew created her Facebook page in college as a way to explore “the funny side of science”. The page features fun facts and has become a forum for light-hearted lovers of the sciences to interact, share and post information that puts a smile on their faces, or made them do a double-take. To quote its About page – “Quotes, jokes, memes and anything your admin finds awesome and strange. If you take yourself seriously, you’re on the wrong page. We’re dedicated to bringing the amazing world of science straight to your news feed in an amusing and accessible way. Tell us what makes you say “wow!””
Since the Andrew’s identity became more well-known there has been an influx of surprised posts, demonstrating shock (not horror, merely shock, for the most part) that the founder of the scientific forum is in fact a woman. The outpouring of bewilderment caught the attention of the media as well as CBS News who discussed the matter with Andrew as well as Scientist and CBS correspondent, Michio Kaku. Kaku recalls lecturing Harvard Physics classes where the attendees were 100% male but reassures us that this has changed. The ‘Life’ sciences, Biology and Psychology have the most female graduates in the sciences in the U.S. but women in the so-called ‘Hard’ sciences like Physics and Engineering, still account for less than a quarter of science graduates.
This, like all negative issues around sexism, we hope will change as our mind sets catch up to the reality of not only the capabilities of women, but also the interests of women, who like men, are enamoured with the world around them and how it works. Andrew admits that it may have been the profanity used in the name of the page that caused many of her fans to assume it was run by a man, as using such language could be deemed ‘unladylike’, however that too, is something our society will have to work on…
Elise Andrew, is employed by LabX Media Group, which owns LabWrench and publishes Lab Manager Magazine and The Scientist. Click here for a look at her Facebook page.