Under FII’s Mood Of The Month, FII introduces monthly themes for our writers to explore and publish feminist content on. February’s MOTM is Feminism and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Since the Enlightenment, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) have been regarded as the domain for men and the privileged. Sadly enough, even today, women, queer folks, and people from marginalised communities remain highly underepresented in these fields. The male dominance in these fields has allowed for biased knowledge systems to be produced and reproduced. For example, in medical sciences, the male body has historically been viewed as the prototype of the human body, resulting in the non-diagnosis/misdiagnosis of ailments in female bodies, the erasure of intersex people, and gross violation of intersex rights.
The various technological revolutions in the past have led to a hierarchy of knowledge systems; technical knowledge, which is primarily produced by men, is valued over social theory, with the latter seldom informing the former. This has paved way for sexism, homophobia, racism, casteism, ableism, and all other forms of exclusionary attitudes in STEM. These male dominated fields brew a masculine culture that disincentivize people from marginalised identities from entering the field. And those who are already in the field, they are negatively impacted by this toxic culture at all points in their careers– lower pay, harassment at the workplace, lesser opportunities, undervaluing of their work and ideas, etc.
Certainly, more women people from marginalised identities are breaking the glass ceiling in STEM, in recent decades. However, this has not resulted in any systemic changes. STEM continue to be highly exclusionary; less than 3% of faculty members in IITs all across India are SCs and STs, and of the 512 IIM faculty members they could gather information on, only two were from the SC category and there was not even a single ST.
Throughout the month of February 2020, FII will be looking for articles on Feminism and STEM. We want to challenge exclusionary biases in STEM and the male dominance in these fields, so we would like you to write to us on the following topics:
- Recognising the works of women, queer individuals, and people from marginalised communities in STEM
- What makes STEM exclusionary and male-dominated?
- In what ways are the sciences biased? (You can explore one particular field, eg. medical sciences)
- Stereotypes and misconceptions in STEM
- If you are a person of a marginalised identity, who is studying/working in STEM, tell us about your inspirations, aspirations, and experiences in the field.
Please first email your article pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This list is not exhaustive. Please feel free to write about other topics, which we might have missed listing.
We understand that some of you might be uncomfortable writing about your personal experiences. You can let us know in your submission mail whether you would want to remain Anonymous when we publish this.