Last week I highlighted Averil Macdonald’s comments that women ‘don’t understand’ the science behind fracking and only oppose it based on ‘gut feeling’. Published in the Telegraph on 23rd October, Claire Cohen begs to differ from these views:
………. ‘It’s exactly this sort of talk that puts young women in Britain off careers in STEM. It’s especially maddening when you consider she actually went on to acknowledge the problem in the same interview. She pointed out there were too few women at senior levels in the shale industry and added she was disappointed when all ten of the executives who interviewed her were men. “Frequently the women haven’t had very much in the way of a science education because they may well have dropped science at 16. That is just a fact,” she added. Presumably not a fact we women, with our snap judgments and ‘gut feelings’ can understand. Rather than blame women’s lack of science education for their opposition to fracking, shouldn’t Britain’s leading scientists be asking why we’re so excluded from the conversation in the first place?’
What do you think about Averil Macdonald’s comments?
Published today in the Telegraph, Camilla Turner discusses Averil Macdonald’s comments that ‘women are opposed to fracking because they “don’t understand” and follow their gut instinct rather than the facts……. Averil Macdonald, the chairwoman of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said that many women are concerned about fracking, yet often lack a scientific understand of the topic.’
‘Averil Macdonald is leading a campaign to persuade women that the process is safe and will benefit Britain’s economy as well as help to meet climate change targets. Prof Macdonald, who is a board member of Women in Science and Engineering, said that women were more likely to form opinions based on “feel” and “gut reaction”. Merely showing them more facts demonstrating that fracking was safe would not change their minds, she said.’
“[Men] will say, ‘fair enough, understand’. But women, for whatever reason, have not been persuaded by the facts. More facts are not going to make any difference. “What we have got to do is understand the gut reaction, the feel. The dialogue is more important than the dissemination of facts.”
What do you think about Averil Macdonald’s comments? Are these comments helpful? Do you believe you understand the facts about fracking? Do you base your decisions on gut instinct or fact? Or both? If you are a woman would you rather have ‘dialogue’ or facts? Or again, both?!
Published in the Telegraph on the 25th September: ‘BP’s chief scientist describes the field trip that changed her life, and how STEM students can make themselves stand out.’ Paul Bray spoke to Dr Angela Strank (BP’s head of downstream technology and chief scientist) about how she became a geologist.
‘I became a geologist by accident. I originally applied to study chemistry at university but we had to take a subsidiary subject and I chose geology. One field trip and I was hooked on this subject that explains how the Earth actually works.
I knew I had to differentiate myself, so I did a PhD in micropalaeontology – studying the tiny fossils used to date and categorise rock types and build up a picture of the subsurface. It was a very specialised and sought-after skill-set, and it was my entry ticket to the industry.
You really stood out as a woman in those days, especially offshore. On my first trip I had to sleep in the medical centre because there was no female accommodation. But people were very welcoming and soon we just worked together as a team.’
Angela Strank, photographed At BP Sunbury, 15.9.2015, by Graham Trott. Dr Angela Strank recommends that STEM students have flexible mindsets so they can be open to a wider variety of career options