Writer Jo Marchant, author of Decoding the Heavens, ponders the lack of prominent science books by women. I was wondering on the same when earlier today I refreshed my memory of great science books I’d read.
This isn’t for a lack of women writing about science. When I took a course in science communication at Imperial College more than a decade ago, we often used to wonder why so many of us (around 25 in a class of 30) were female. I’ve since worked at both New Scientist and Nature, where the gender balance of writers and editors is very equal. Women are well represented at the annual awards of the Association of British Science Writers.
So are these talented women choosing not to write books? Do they find it harder to get book deals? Are their books taken less seriously when they’re published? Do science writers tend to move on to books later in their careers, when women’s professional goals have often had to take second place to childcare?
Similar questions are being posed in every field where women are under-represented at the highest levels, but with books so crucial for bringing science to a popular audience, I think it’s important to ask them here too.
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