It is unfortunately not new or revelatory news that women in STEM are continuously overlooked or dismissed for their male counterparts. Women in science fields have always seen and been met by injustices due to sex, and this has been an issue many have been battling to overcome.
By way of a lack of female role models, occasionally abusive work environments, and a major obvious bias against women in favor of male scientists, women in STEM have had to battle so much during their careers.
During the age of COVID-19, female scientists have had to battle both a pandemic and misogyny, as the patriarchy continues to reign on their being women in scientific fields. These discriminatory practices have been felt deeply by female scientists, and more severely by women of color.
Women in STEM have been advising policymakers, designing different clinical studies, coordinating the collection of data, and analyzing scientific findings. However, by way of the biased coverage of the pandemic, it would not appear this way.
The doctors, clinicians, and scientists that are reporting to the media outlets and the public eye have been majority men, though there are many qualified women who are also battling the frontlines of this virus—and are being overlooked in favor of their male coworkers and counterparts.
Despite the fact that medicine is not even a male-dominated field, women are shown to be quoted less often and referenced less frequently than men. Oftentimes, the unqualified male voice will be heard over the qualified woman’s voice.
The invisibility of women in STEM has been a long-standing issue that colleges and universities have begun to attempt to combat by encouraging diversity of applicants to STEM programs. It is destructive and realistically dangerous for unqualified men to be amplified over qualified female experts during this time of national pandemic.
These circumstances quite literally reflect the power structure and institution of white male power in America. The very idea that men are superior to women is embedded into the infrastructure of so many of our communities, especially our science community.
In a time of public health emergency, it is important to listen to those qualified individuals with the agency to speak on the topic at hand. If anything, this dismissal of women with expertise in the medical field in favor of lesser qualified male counterparts is highly disappointing.
The inequalities faced by women in the world of STEM has become more transparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Real decision making during a national emergency must fall on the shoulders of those with the most qualifications, and not the white men in power, simply because they are those who society deems most astute and powerful.