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WITS STEMMinist Book Club 2018

  • 26 November 2018

WITS STEMMinist Book Club

Inspired by the STEMMinist Book Club Jane O'Hara organised the WITS STEMMinist Book Club. It has been riveting reading, thank you Jane.

The books read during 2018 were:

1. Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story – Angela Saini (February)
2. Stop Fixing Women; Why Building Fairer Workplaces is Everyone’s Business – Catherine Fox (April)
3. Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science and Society – Cordelia Fine (May)
4. A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War - Patricia Fara (July)
5. Lab Girl – Hope Jahren (September)
6. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup - John Carreyrou (November)

Jane writes:
It has been fascinating to read this array of books, all on the theme of feminism in STEMM - hence, Stemminist! (a second M is sometimes included in the STEM acronym, denoting Medicine). They all describe women doing science from different perspectives, including Patricia Fara’s comprehensive account origins of women’s involvement in academia during the First World War; through to Hope Jahren’s personal story of her passion for nature and how it led to starting her lab. Angela Saini and Cordelia Fine pierce through the layers of sexism in science and show us the research that proves stories about women have been wrongly told. John Carreyrou's riveting tale about the rise and fall of the biotech startup, Theranos! was an eye-opener.

I think my favourite book overall was Stop Fixing Women by Catherine Fox – it goes straight for the jugular in arguing that the system built by men is what needs to change, not women’s behaviour. She also gives lots of practical examples of how this can be done, including workplace policies that would benefit women and men alike.

Thanks to Laura Tobin for suggesting/alerting WITS to the Stemminist book club and to Marie Boran for co-hosting the first book club with me.