Among the many threads of rage that the President-elect has spewed over the last year and a half, a lot of his hatred has been directed at women. As we’ve reported here as often as necessary, he’s also a profoundly anti-scientific president-in-waiting.
Plenty of women in science are understandably concerned with all this. A group of female scientists drafted an open letter, declaring that they will resist and fight against any such discrimination towards them and any minorities – working in their field, or outside of it.
“Science is foundational in a progressive society, fuels innovation, and touches the lives of every person on this planet,” the letter reads. “The anti-knowledge and anti-science sentiments expressed repeatedly during the U.S. presidential election threaten the very foundations of our society.
“Our work as scientists and our values as human beings are under attack.”
Far from being just a statement of solidarity, however, the letter reads more like a manifesto, or a call for action.
They intend to identify key areas in science where discrimination against women and minorities is particularly rife. They aim to support the education and careers of all scientists, while encouraging collaboration, not divisiveness.
They aim to target structural inequality at its root, and to make those in power more aware than ever of the system’s failings. They declare that they will “use every day as an opportunity to demonstrate to young girls and women that they are welcome and needed in science.”
Their initial target, set on November 17, was to get 500 signatories. At the time of writing, they have over 9,000 from all across the world.
Writing to Scientific American to explain their letter, the writers – Jane Zelikova, Theresa Jedd, Teresa Bilinski, Jessica Metcalf and Kelly Ramirez – explain that in the wake of Trump’s ascent, they just felt like they had to do something. There is already a well-documented and pervasive problem of discrimination of women and minorities in the sciences, and they are now certain that things are about to get worse.
Lest we forget that Trump is someone who, at best, thinks that there are enough STEM programs around already. At his worst, he boasts of sexual assault and is poised to head the most anti-intellectual administration in modern history.
“We are members of racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups. We are immigrants. We are people with disabilities. We are LBGTQIA,” they write. “We are scientists. We are women.”
The motto of the US is “E pluribus unum,” which means “out of many, [we are] one.” This open letter is a beautiful, moving example of this sentiment, and it’s needed more now than ever.
If you are a woman involved in science, click here and sign that letter.