The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
There’s a study that’s been floating around lately, causing condescending eye-
First, some of the coverage is focusing on the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that funded the research, but that line of attack ignores the fact that the paper is just one small part of a larger body of glacier research. So while some attempt to make it sound like the study cost taxpayers over $700,000, that’s actually the amount the lead researcher has gotten in total from the NSF throughout his career, not the cost of this study alone. Similarly, $400,000 was for the larger grant from the NSF for the entire glacial science history project, so again that’s way more than was spent on this single study.
Now that the pearl-clutching over the sticker shock has been dealt with, the content of the study can be looked at. As the larger grant is for constructing a history of glaciology, this particular paper looks at how gender has influenced the science of glaciers, finding that women’s voices have not been sufficiently represented. And since the impacts of climate change and glacial retreat fall disproportionately on women through factors like causing women to have to travel further for fresh water as glaciers retreat, those voices are especially important in helping society determine the best ways to adapt to changing conditions.
The paper draws on the literature of feminist political ecology and geography, which examines how resources are used and distributed through a gender-sensitive lens. It then lays out the four aspects of "feminist glaciology:" how gender influences those gathering data and producing knowledge of glaciers, how glacier science is influenced by gender, how historical power dynamics like colonialism coincide with male-centered ways of thinking, and finally the alternative methods that can be employed to provide a more robust and culturally comprehensive understanding of glaciers.
It provides examples of female explorers dating back to the 1770’s, who were hidden from the public and excluded from history, and more recent examples of 20th century female geologists facing marginalization. It wasn’t until the 1990s, for example, that the British allowed women to spend the winter in Antarctica. It also broaches the uncomfortable subject of the widespread sexual harassment of women in science, citing a 2014 finding that 64 percent of women in science had experienced sexual harassment, a rate 3.5 times greater than their male counterparts.
While people like Anthony Watts may be happy leaving the analysis at the level of stereotypes about how “millions of husbands and wives battle over the home thermostat,” this paper is actually an in-depth and well-researched look at how this specific scientific discipline has, like most others, historically ignored the female perspective.
Given how often they complain about being an ignored demographic, deniers might have been better off embracing this study as evidence of the potential for bias in science, instead of dismissing it as wasted funds.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jared Kaufman
Eating a better diet has been linked with lower levels of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. But unfortunately 821 million people — about 1 in 9 worldwide — face hunger, and roughly 2 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. In addition, food insecurity is associated with even higher health care costs in the U.S., particularly among older people. To help direct worldwide focus toward solving these issues, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition by 2030.
mevans / E+ / Getty Images
Calls for Radical Climate Action Grow Louder as NOAA Reports Last Month Was Hottest June Ever Recorded
By Jessica Corbett
As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.
By John R. Platt
For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.
Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.