In A Post-Fact Era, 11,000 Women Scientists Stand Together for Science and Equality

Responding to threats of discrimination and anti-intellectualism incited by the USA President-Elect, a fast-growing network of more than 11,000 international female scientists came together to defend progress in science, education, and diversity.

In the days following the US election, five women scientists with Colorado roots wrote an open letter from 500 Women Scientists to pledge their support to each other and their resolve to push for equality and scientific progress. In less than two weeks, over 10,000 women scientists coalesced from more than 80 countries to sign the letter and spread a message of strength and support across the globe.

“Sexism, inequality, discrimination and anti-intellectualism sentiments are growing louder, not just in the US but across the globe.” Co-organizer Dr. Kelly Ramirez explains about the origins of the letter, “I could no longer stand by idly, hoping that the atmosphere would somehow improve. I was compelled to take a stand: for equality, for women, for science.”

Adds Dr. Theresa Jedd, “Our central vision was to build an inclusive scientific community dedicated to training a more diverse group of future leaders in science and to use the language of science to bridge divides and enhance global diplomacy.”

The letter focuses on three main tenets:

  • While enormous strides have been made globally, sexism, inequality, discrimination and anti-intellectualism continue to persist in our society.
  • Science is built on collaboration with others - of different races, classes, creeds, attitudes, and perspectives.
  • Without science, progress and momentum in tackling the biggest challenges - including advancements in medicine, energy and the environment - will come to an abrupt stop.

“Science has improved and touched the lives of every person on this planet and it is integral for protecting human health, safety, and the environment,” Dr. Jane Zelikova points out, “Discoveries of life-saving vaccines, the development of the MRI, touch screens, GPS, and the internet present represent just a tiny fraction of scientific gains.”

The 500 Women Scientists pledge is a platform for creating a global interdisciplinary network of women scientists working together to promote policies to protect and enhance global investment in science, education, and diversity.  The 500 Women Scientists open letter calls women scientists from all over the globe to join the initiative. Future group actions include developing local science education and outreach programs and building an international mentorship and training program for women scientists.

Website:500womenscientists.org, Twitter and Facebook: @500WomenSci

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