For somebody like me who works as a clinical researcher in Medical Genetics, this book by Angela Saini provided the much needed information about sexism and misogyny prevailing in science. With a shudder, I realised that science, was not as objective as I had always imagined it to be. Angela Saini’s book reveals an important fact in scientific research, that the sex of the observer actually determines or influences the observations made by the observer. I was shocked to read about Charles Darwin’s view of women being biologically inferior to men. His observation was based on the fact that in Victorian era, most of the achievers were men. But his conclusion that this sex difference in achievement was due to biological factors and not societal factors, was inappropriate.
About the author:
Angela Saini is a London based science writer, whose first book was Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World, published in 2011. Inferior is her second book, published in June 2017.
Content of the book:
In this book, the author examines the organised method which men employed over centuries to subjugate women in science. Due to this planned strategy of denigrating women, she observes that between 1901 and 2016, of the 911 people who were awarded the Nobel prize, only 48 turned out to be women. As women get older, fewer women stick to science, which is a harsh reality, even in Medical science. I read with surprise that it was not before 1945 that women were permitted to attend Harvard Medical School. The most annoying belief that men had about women was that women were incapable biologically to be intellectually as advanced as them, where in reality, it was merely due to lack of opportunities that women could not achieve as much as men in science.
The author thoroughly examines both sides of the argument and provides unbiased information regarding various studies conducted by eminent men and women which gives the reader a realistic picture rather than a constricted view. The book ends with a positive note where the author describes the efforts of scientists all over the world who are methodically gathering evidence to disprove the popular belief of women being biologically inferior to men.