Feminism and ScienceFor more details on this topic, see Feminist epistemology.
Sandra Harding says that the "moral and political insights of the women's movement have inspired social scientists and biologists to raise critical questions about the ways traditional researchers have explained gender, sex and relations within and between the social and natural worlds." Some feminists, such as Ruth Hubbard and Evelyn Fox Keller, criticize traditional scientific discourse as being historically biased towards a male perspective. A part of the feminist research agenda is the examination of the ways in which power inequities are created and/or reinforced in scientific and academic institutions. Physicist Lisa Randall, appointed to a task force at Harvard by then-president Lawrence Summers after his controversial discussion of why women may be underrepresented in science and engineering, said, "I just want to see a whole bunch more women enter the field so these issues don't have to come up anymore."
Lynn Hankinson Nelson notes that feminist empiricists argue that there are fundamental differences between the experiences of men and women, thus they seek to obtain knowledge through the examination of the experiences of women, and attempt to "uncover the consequences of omitting, misdescribing, or devaluing them" for account of human experience. Other feminist scientists eschew objectivity in favor of self-reflexivity and the agenda of helping women. Also, part of the feminist research agenda is the uncovering of ways in which power inequities are created and/or reinforced in society and in scientific and academic institutions.
One criticism of feminist epistemology is that it allows social and political values to influence its findings. Susan Haack also points out that feminist epistemology reinforces traditional stereotypes about women's thinking (as intuitive and emotional, etc.), Meera Nanda further cautions that this may in fact trap women within "traditional gender roles and help justify patriarchy".
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Famous quotes containing the words science and/or feminism:
“Nor has science sufficient humanity, so long as the naturalist overlooks the wonderful congruity which subsists between man and the world; of which he is lord, not because he is the most subtile inhabitant, but because he is its head and heart, and finds something of himself in every great and small thing, in every mountain stratum, in every new law of color, fact of astronomy, or atmospheric influence which observation or analysis lay open.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“... feminism is a political term and it must be recognized as such: it is political in womens terms. What are these terms? Essentially it means making connections: between personal power and economic power, between domestic oppression and labor exploitation, between plants and chemicals, feelings and theories; it means making connections between our inside worlds and the outside world.”
—Anica Vesel Mander, U.S. author and feminist, and Anne Kent Rush (b. 1945)