Women and science article guide

Article guide:

Science for the People magazine articles on Women and Science

by Adrien Peter
(UMass student majoring in Social Thought & Political Economy, 2013)


Vol. 2 No. 2 (1970)
Charlie Schwartz, “Women Demand Equality in Science”, pg. 10

C. S. analyzes sexual discrimination against women in the sciences; enforced and perpetuated by institutional structures, the cultural and economic oppression of women in the sciences serves the interests of those who dominate the economy of this country.

Vol. 2 No. 4
Author N/A, “Birth Control in Amerika” – pg. 28

The problems with birth control research/policy conducted and implemented by males. Ways to combat/heal: establishing women-run centers for women to educate women about health and their bodies, as well as counseling/rehabilitation for men by women.

Vol. 3 No. 2
George Salzman, “Discrimination at UMass: Woman Scientist Fights Back”, pg. 18

Salzman investigates a situation at UMass in which a married couple employed by the university were subject to harsh penalties for their relationship status within a professional setting—including the firing of the woman who, at the site of Salzman’s analysis, exposes the gendered, discriminatory policies that many institutions continue to implement.

Vol. 4 No. 3
Rita Arditti, “Using Pregnancy Tests For Hiring Discrimination Against Women”, pg. 17

Argues that, with birth control as a prime example, advances in technology serve agendas of economic oppression. Scientific and technological progress cannot be separated from the applications; techno-scientific advances that are supposed to help women are often openly used against them.

George Salzman, “Our Bodies, Our Selves: A Review”, pg. 18
This article challenges the myths about women that maintain the position of women in this society.

Salzman discusses the book “Our Bodies, Our Selves” in terms of its potential to educate women and instilling psychological awareness of the ideological forces that subject them to second class citizens in America.

Vol. 4 No. 4
Author N/A, “Women in Chemistry: Part of the 51% Minority”, p. 4

Author discusses discrimination against women in chemistry and makes a case for how it can only be reversed by exacting radical social change aimed at changing economic structures and the nuclear family.

Vol. 5. No. 1
Pam Kalishman, “Stilbestrol — Cancer-Inducing Estrogen”, p.14

Stilbestrol, a synthetic estrogen hormone, used to be used on women and now vaginal cancer is being detected in daughters of these women. Accountability in the sciences of developing new medicines, as well as more concern/coverage in the media, is imperative to preventing these sorts of incidents in the future.

Vol. 5 No. 2
“AAAS: Action and Reaction” (Fighting Sexism Through AAAS Bureaucracy – p. 18), p. 15.

Philadelphia Women’s Health Collective and friends, “The Philadelphia Story (Another Experiment on Women)”, p. 28.

Explores the lack of control over experiments on women. Abortion technique, Supercoil, is used as example of how women put themselves in danger as a result of being deprived health education and access to proper care, leaving them vulnerable to all forms of abortion.

Vol. 5 No. 4
Rita Arditti, “Women’s Biology in a Man’s World: Some Issues and Questions” p. 39
Arditti discusses the contradictory aspects of the argument: women’s “different” (inferior) biology justifies political, cultural and economic oppression. She challenges assumptions about women’s roles in society as being linked to their biology.

Vol. 6 No. 1 (1974)
Authors N/A “Population Control: Letters”, p. 16
Authors attempt to, by responding to old letters sent to the magazine, clarify some of the ideological problems of population control programs.

Bob Park, “Not Better Lives, Just Fewer People: The Ideology of Population Control” p. 18
Author argues that population control in the world capitalist-imperialist context is inherently destructive and should be attacked for the reasons to be enunciated. It will be proposed that not only does population control fail to come to grips with
the people’s fundamental problems, it actually retards doing this and hence to solutions.

Vol. 6. No. 4.
Arlene Ash, “Health Care (The Emma Goldman Women’s Health Clinic)” p. 8
Article describing the history, purpose, and strategies of the Emma Goldman Women’s Health Clinic, and its potential expansion in the near future.

Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness p. 20
Justifications for sexual discrimination must ultimately rest on the one thing that differentiates women from men: their bodies. Barbara Ehrenreich’s new pamphlet, the subject of this review, reframes history of female healers while maintaining a focus on the take-over of medicine by male professionals.

Vol. 6 No. 5
Author Rita Aditti “Women as Objects: Science and Sexual Politics”, p. 8
Aditti discusses the female body in science. She argues that misogyny is perpetuated through scientific research, as the female body is considered “other” to the “One” (male).

Book Review: Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers p. 12
Rita Salzman “Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers” by Barabara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English is reviewed by Rita Salzman. Salzman summarizes the book, stating that “witch”-hunts and the professional takeover of the health care system are a class struggle aimed to deprive poor and working-class women of basic healthcare needs.

Carol Axelrod and Ruth Crocker, “Women’s Column: Natural Birth of a Women’s Group”, p. 15
Boston Science for the People had apparently experienced a rift of sorts during its initial meetings, distracting members from overarching objectives; a call for suggestions, thoughts, reactions from SFTP members.

Vol. 6 No. 6
Gene, Lucy, Sue Ellen, Eileen “Women Hospital Workers” p. 13
Sex discrimination exists within professional medical/hospital workplaces; author argues that women in the field must create unity on professional basis in an attempt to debunk myth of female incompetence and also the myth of the competent male doctor. Also understanding the underlying structural oppression that exists within each prescribed [gendered] role is essential.

Vol. 7 No. 3
Arlene Ash, “International Women’s Day 1975” p. 12
Using Boston as an example of where forced sterilizations, population control programs, and unsafe contraceptives victimize of women (especially minority women) and are used as tactics to control by the ruling class—and how imperialism, not over population, is denying people the right to life.

Vol. 8 No. 2
Rita Arditti, Women in Science: “Women Drink Water While Men Drink Wine.” p. 24
Women have been historically deprived of access to knowledge, and thus access to positions of power within society—especially, in the case of this article, within the sciences. Institutional biases as well as horizontal oppression manifested in gendered capitalist hierarchies have stifled women’s creativity and economic and professional mobility.

Vol. 8 No. 4
Leslie and Charles Westoff, “Male Contraception”, p. 12
What are the social hesitations surrounding birth control for men, and how does the potential application for men affect women? The Westoffs argue that while males are the ideal candidate (more so than women) for contraceptives—due to a less complex reproductive system, social restrictions remain a massive obstacle for a different vision of contraceptive applications on men.

Nancy M. Henley, “Nonverbal Communication and the Social Control of Women”, p. 16.
Henley asserts that if women are to seriously challenge dominant sexist structures on a micro and macro scale, they must recognize and actively resist internalized control, environmental structuring, and nonverbal communications—all of which are oppressive elements implored by a male-dominated power structure; this includes governmental, institutional, and interpersonal players.

Vol. 8 No. 5
Meredith Turshen, “Women in Health: A Review of the Literature”, p. 18
Shearer gives us a word about the contribution of the women’s health movement, and its importance to the Health Left, and a personal opinion about the future agenda which, according to her, should include class analysis and class consciousness.

Ruth Shearer, “Sexism at Cancer Lab”, p. 20
FHCRC administration paid men more than women and, after being accused of doing so, used divisory tactics to create rifts between the women demanding equal pay and their male colleagues who sided with the women. This is representative of many medical institutions across the country, claims Shearer.

Vol 9. No. 1
Linda Gordon, “Birth Control: A Historical Study”, p. 10
Gordon touches on the historical, political battle for control of the birth control agenda—ranging from improving overall health to increasing the individual freedom of women to controlling population trends. Although the former was the most democratic and female-minded, the latter ultimately won the battle, argues Linda Gordon.

Judith Herman, “Fighting Sterilization Abuse”, p. 17
Herman documents instances in which women (often minority women) unknowingly fall victim to sterilization procedures that are implemented within programs that are allegedly operating on a “socio-economic” basis. She describes feminists reactions to these sorts of practices, government justifications, and community organizing to thwart these highly racialized sterilization programs.

Vol. 9 No. 2
Linda Gordon, “Birth Control and the Eugenists” p. 8
This article is an excerpt from Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America (Viking Press, 1976 ). Gordon centers this piece on how and by whom the birth control clinics should be controlled. Gordon argues that The history of the birth control movement suggests that it is possible to make of it a popular cause that reaches people of all classes if its basic principle is self-determination through increasing the real choices that people have.

Vol. 9 No. 3
Lucy Matsin, “Clinic Workers Strike For Your Health”, p. 20
Matsin discovers, by working as a abortion counselor at a women’s health clinic in Brookline, MA, that good women’s health care is not of the clinic’s highest priority. She speaks on the role that union politics, as well as the pressures of “turning a profit” play within health clinics across the country, and how they end up abandoning their commitment to the women who they are supposed to serve and help.

Barbara Chasin, “Sociobiology: A Sexist Synthesis”, p. 27
Chasin challenges the claim that social roles are determined by our biological history; the hunter/gatherer theory, although fickle, is intense enough to cause a substantial division of labor even in the most free and most egalitarian of future societies. She argues that the faults in our society, the injustices, the inequalities do not lie in our genes; they are rooted in social institutions, and class structure.

Vol 9. No. 4
Leah Margulies, “Exporting Infant Malnutrition”, p. 9
Margulies analyzes the massive sales campaigns that encourage poor women around the world to abandon breast feeding for bottle feeding—a more expensive, complex, and less healthful method. The result: increasing infant malnutrition and mortality. According to Margulies, there could be no more dramatic illustration of corporations, hungry for profit, manufacturing a need that wasn’t there.

Freda Salzman, “Are Sex Roles Biologically Determined?”, p. 27
Salzman, in this piece, rejects the belief that women’s subordinate position in our society is due, in good part, to innate (genetic) differences between males and females, and not to external factors as claimed by the women’s movement.

Vol. 9 No. 5
John Money and Anke Ehrhardt, “A Review of Man & Woman, Boy & Girl”, p. 36
John Money and Anke Ehrhardt offer a comprehensive account of sexual differentiation using genetics, embryology, endocrinology and neuro-endocrinology, psychology, and anthropology. Their multidisciplinary approach to gender identity avoids the old arguments over nature versus nurture. Money and Ehrhardt focus instead on the interaction of hereditary endowment and environmental influence.

Vol. 9 No. 6
Phyllis Lehmann, “Protecting Women Out of Their Jobs”, p. 30
Lehmann explores troubling cases in which women had to choose between their jobs and their fertility. She argues for the elimination of work environments that endanger women and their reproductive systems, instead of pressuring women to sterilize themselves in order to keep a job within such environments.

Vol. 10 No. 2
Sally Hacker, “Farming Out the Home: Women and Agribusiness”, p. 15
In this article, Sally Hacker aims to help clarify anti-feminist implications in our economic and political systems in general, through a focus on agribusiness in particular.

Vol. 10 No. 3
Mary 0 ‘Donnell, “Lesbian Health Care: Issues and Literature”, p. 8
O’Donnell analyzes the constant discrimination lesbians face when seeking health care, especially in the areas of gynecology, reproduction and mental health. She says that science is currently a tool used to perpetuate the power imbalances and oppressive ideologies of our culture. O’Donnell maintains, however, that Lesbian-related research and constructive health care will increase with the growing number of lesbians who are proud of their sexuality and lesbian feminists who see lesbianism as a political as well as sexual identification.

Vol. 11 No.1
Judy Norsigian, “Redirecting Contraceptive Research”, p. 27
Norsigian stresses that women are using hormonal methods primarily because
they are encouraged to do so, despite legitimate health risks. She argues that resources should be put towards further development of barrier methods and into their more effective use.

Vol. 11 No. 5
Susan Bell, “Political Gynecology: Gynecological Imperialism and the Politics of Self-Help”, p. 8

Vol. 11 No. 6
Margaret Alic, “Discovering History of Women in Science: A Course Outline”, p. 27
Alic outlines the history of male-centric history of the sciences as it was taught in most school curriculums. Reframes “female science”, and uses definition as departure point, from which women can understand their importance in the past as well as the future in terms of contributing to the sciences.

Vol. 12 No. 1 (1980)
Susan Bell, Paula Garbarino, Jeanne Hubbich, Adrienne Ingrum, Lyn Koehnline, and Jill Wolhandler, “Reclaiming Reproductive Control: A Feminist approach to Fertility Consciousness”, p. 6
The authors stress the importance of offering self-help groups whose aim is to make “common knowledge” about fertility available to women; this information is often lost through the isolation of women from each other and the medicalization of women’s reproductive functions.

Eileen Van Tassell, “Textbook Sexism: Women in College Biology”, p. 16
Van Tassell explores the influence of male overrepresentation in the biological sciences; she attempts to prove that the value-free image of science is a myth, especially when it comes to blatant sexism in the sciences, as well as the use of so-called “anti-sexist” or “anti-racist” rhetoric that, underneath it all, is reinforcing of discriminating assumptions about gender, race, and sexuality in the sciences.

Vol. 12 No. 2
East Bay SftP, “Danger: Women’s Work”, p. 6
By focusing on three distinct occupations (women health workers, clerical workers, and blue collar workers), East Bay SftP attempts to separate myth from reality in terms of why more women are entering the job market, and why occupational health hazards differ between men and women.

Vol. 12 No. 4
John Beckwith and Barbara Beckwith, “Your Body or Your Job”, p. 5
The Beckwiths analyze instances of sexual harassment in workplaces across the country; they insist that only once women speak out and organize—through support groups in workplaces, assertiveness training, consciousness raising groups, union caucuses, and grass roots women’s worker groups will attitudes change and government and unions be forced into action.

Gar Allen, “From Eugenics to Population Control”, p. 22
Allen challenges the common assumptions of eugenicists and population control advocates: the notion that social problems are caused by innate biological factors- our “human nature.” Her primary criticism focuses on the teachings and ideas brought into public thought and policy by Raymond Pearl, an influential supporter of the eugenics movement.

Vol. 13 No. 1
Mark Wilson, “Bottle Babies and Managed Mothers”, p. 17
Wilson analyzes the aggressive marketing of infant formula by multinational corporations, and how its use, particularly in the Third World, is actually resulting in millions of infant deaths. He places emphasis on realistic planning for health and not simply the fight against ill-health.

Vol. 13 No. 3
Author N/A, “Cook County — Back to Coathangers”, p. 28
This piece outlines the event in which Chicago’s abortion services were halted to a complete stop, the racist and discriminatory nature of which targers women of minority socio-economic backgrounds. The author(s), in this piece, frame the abortion service cutback as a denial of a public health right.

Vol. 13 No. 5
Jon Beckwith and John Durkin, “Girls, Boys and Math”, p. 6
Beckwith and Durkin challenge the notion that men are better are mathematical and scientific reasoning from a biological standpoint, and also reject various (biased) “studies” that support this assumption. They assert that the fallacies underlying this work and its political content must be exposed in order to cut out an important underpinning for regressive social policies.

Barbara Beckwith, “Women Empowering Women”, p. 19
Beckwith illustrates the many ways in which the the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective has helped to radically change the consciousness of women of all classes about their bodies and their health, and has empowered women to take action for their health in many ways. She describes the network of information they were part of starting has grown into a national and increasingly international consciousness of medical abuses, alternative forms of health care, and possible changes that can be made.

Vol. 14 No. 4
Elizabeth Fee, “A Feminist Critique of Scientific Objectivity”, p. 5
Fee argues that notions of “scientific objectivity” are effectively used to mask relationships of power as they pertain to the political and economic oppression women experience in the sciences and in society in general. She explores the possibilities of a “feminist science” which attacks the subject/object distinction—which could, according to Fee, lead to a radically transformed science in the future.

Patricia Parsons and Carol Hodne, “A Collective Experiment in Women’s Health”, p. 9
Parsons and Hodne discuss the development of women-controlled health projects, centers, and clinics throughout the world, especially those that based on a collective-decision making model. They also provide general guidelines for groups planning to work collectively to provide services to their communities.

Vol. 14 No. 5
Gail Shields, “Women, Work and the Scientific Enterprise”, p. 12
Shields attempts to provide answers to questions of how women scientists can influence the future of our culture, or how we can alter the masculine orientation of scientific enterprise. These dilemmas, argues Shields, can be solved, in great part, by creating comprehensive, ideologically aligned women’s science collectives.

Vol. 14 No. 6
Patricia Sipe, “The Wonder Drug We Should Wonder About”, p. 9
Sipe raises questions about the drug companies and the FDA that marketed and approved an inadequately tested drug, using millions of women as guinea pigs. She calls for raising the demands of control over womens’ bodies and participation in their own health care, both at a personal level and at a social level.

Vol. 15 No. 2
Violence Against Women Study Group, “A Culture of Violence Against Women”, p. 18
The group analyzes the causal relationship between sexual crimes and the proliferation of pornography and violent acts against women in the media, long asserted by many feminists, is now being corroborated by scientific evidence. She asserts that a culture of violence against women is maintained and perpetrated by abusive images of women in pornography and media, which serve to keep men in power, to keep women out of the paid labor force, or when they are paid, to keep them underpaid and marginalized.

Vol. 15 No. 3
Philip Bereano and Christine Bose, “Women and Technology”, p. 31
Boreano and Bose, through designing a course, explore the various analyses of the masculinist aspects of technocratic ideology and of technology’s impacts on women. Two primary sections of course are “analytical framework” and “division of labor”; they also provide a comprehensive annotated bibliography.

Vol. 16 No. 1 (1984)
Val Dusek, “Sociobiology and Rape”, p. 10
Dusek argues that the most blatant and obvious contemporary examples of the use of the authority of science to justify oppression and intimidation is the literature on rape by sociobiologists, the theories in which give an account of rape which legitimates most of the traditional attitudes about rape and which gives “scientific” respectability to many of the traditional rape laws and legal procedures. She maintains that we need to understand the motivations for rape, not in a context which presumes them to be a biological fact of life and therefore immutable, but as a behavior whose roots are social and psychological.

Vol. 16 No. 2
Ruth Hubbard, “Fetal Rights and the New Eugenics by Ruth Hubbard p. 7
The authors illustrate the ways in which legislation has been passed that interferes with women’s rights to control their own childbearing, the possible outcome of which, according to Hubbard, is that women- and men-will lose the admittedly limited choices we now have if the new eugenicists step in and in the guise of “fetal rights to health” legislate how pregnant women must behave.

Mary Sue Henifin and Joan Bertin,“Making Healthy Babies”, p. 18
Henifin and Bertin describe “exclusionary policies” that many corporations have adopted which explicitly exclude women of childbearing capacity from certain jobs; under the guise of concern for workers’ health, these policies both illegally discriminate against women and fail to protect the children of male workers. Moreover, these policies divert attention away from cleaning up the workplace to reduce the risks to all workers who are exposed to these toxic substances. The authors continue to insist on the principle that women’s right to work cannot be made the price for their safety.

Vol. 16 No. 4
Barbara Beckwith, “How Magazines Cover Sex Difference in Research”, p. 18
Article focuses on genetic explanations for human social behavior, as framed by magazines. Beckwith argues that the self-serving zeal with which popular magazines have embraced genes-and-gender science can have diastrous effects on women.

Vol. 18 No. 1
Women and Science by Barabra Dodds Stanford p. 5
Dodds offers a new framework for analysis of the relationship between women and science. She asserts that the relationship can be analyzed more fruitfully as a conflict between the establishment and the vanguard of revolution, than an attempt to gain entry to the field by an underprivileged group which lacks the skills and motivations to compete. She claims that the solution to the problem of sexism in science is not to provide women with models to help them become successful in traditional scientific ways, but for women to take the lead in the transformation of science.

Vol. 18 No. 2
Facts and Feminism by Ruth Hubbard p. 16
Hubbard attempts to identify and name the political underpinnings and values that lie hidden beneath the sciences’ presumed neutrality, which heavily operates from a male-centric perspective. She stresses the need for a feminist science that acknowledges our values and our subjectivity as human observers with particular personal and social backgrounds, and with inevitable interests.

Vol. 19 No. 2
Book Review: The Science Question in Feminism by Sandra Harding p. 27
Harding provides the first comprehensive and critical survey of the feminist science critiques, and examines inquiries into the androcentricism that has endured since the birth of modern science. Harding critiques three epistemological approaches: feminist empiricism, which identifies only bad science as the problem; the feminist standpoint, which holds that women’s social experience provides a unique starting point for discovering masculine bias in science; and feminist postmodernism, which disputes the most basic scientific assumptions. She points out the tensions among these stances and the inadequate concepts that inform their analyses, yet maintains that the critical discourse they foster is vital to the quest for a science informed by emancipatory morals and politics.

Vol. 19 No. 3
Rita Arditti, “’Surrogate Mothering’ Exploits Women: Poor and Third World Women Breed Babies for the Rich”, by Rita Arditi p. 22
This article focuses on the exploitation of poor and immigrant women, through the use of their bodies as breeders. Arditti argues that the commercialization of women’s procreative power promotes the exploitation of women, especially low-income women and women of color.

Vol. 19 No. 4
Betsey Hatmann, “A Womb of One’s Own: The Real Population Problem”, Betsey Hatmann p. 9
Hatmann discusses women’s lack of control over their own reproduction. What lies between women and the regaining of this “control”, argues Hatmann, are: economic discrimination, subordination within the family, religious and cultural restrictions, the nature of health care systems, and the distortion of family planning programs to serve the end of population control.

Vol. 20 no. 4
Sherry Turkle, “Computational Reticence: Why Women Fear the Intimate Machine”, p. 6
This essay looks at the social construction of the computer as a male domain through the eyes of women who have come to see something important about themselves in terms of what computers are not. Turkle argues that the main issue is computer reticence—wanting to stay away because the computer becomes a personal and cultural symbol of what a woman is not.