Don’t erase the women in my field

Posted: December 1, 2015 by jennysaul in Uncategorized

One of my research interests is X. It happens to be a niche in which several of the seminal (sic) contributions were made by women, and women continue to contribute in decent numbers, while also being a fairly technical topic.
Recently I’ve noticed that some of the new papers I read on the topic make almost no citations to women at all. For example, in a recent paper about model organisms, A’s work isn’t cited, even though the main point was quite compatible with her distinction between models as representations and representatives. Twice I’ve seen the distinction between abstraction and idealization, which B [very famous woman] made, followed instead by a reference to C [man] 2005, which is a paper that extends B’s distinction, and appears in a volume co-edited by C and B. If C’s extension to the idea were the relevant thing, it might make sense, but these are cases where the distinction is merely noted, and the obligatory citation given (incorrectly).
One instance of hiding A, and the B omission occur in papers by the same person (which are especially lacking in references to any of the women authors who have made major contributions to the topic). This is a person whose work is interestingly related to my work, so it would be great if we could correspond or collaborate. Instead of starting that kind of productive dialogue, I’ve become convinced that he must be a clueless (or hostile?) jerk who it would be best to avoid. I’m a bit fixated on figuring out how to point out his poor research skills without making myself seem like a massive bitch (perhaps in a series of snarky footnotes?).
I’ll be damned if this niche in which women are well represented doing technical work is going to have its history erased.

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