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13 Things That Prove You Shouldn't Mess With Women In Science

Do not mess with any of these people.

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1. When this guy told an astrophysicist with a PhD to "learn some actual science", and she had a great comeback.

@gary4205 I dunno, man, I already went and got a PhD in astrophysics. Seems like more than that would be overkill at this point.

2. When this engineer proved you shouldn't make promises you don't intend to keep.

Careers teacher said he'd eat my indentures if I became engineer. Took them & salt to school 5 years later. Got banned @EverydaySexism

3. When this scientist was told she couldn't attend a conference when she was seven months pregnant and had a brilliant response.

Instagram: @samdecombel

She said in an Instagram caption:

"As @sherylsandberg, COO of Facebook, has said in the past, so many women 'leave before they leave' in anticipation of starting a family due to the guilt of juggling these two apparently contradictory options, taking on less responsibility within their role, taking a back seat in key decision-making and effectively putting the brakes on their career prospects before they actually need to, ensuring that on their return to work they are already at a disadvantage. I do not intend to put the brakes on my ambitions until I need to, and would encourage others to consider why we lay this guilt on female researchers that wish to have both a career and a family."


4. And then scientists all around the world stood up for her too by sharing what they did when they were seven months pregnant.

Advised grad students, analyzed data, still smiled - life goes on when you're pregnant. #7monthsawesome

5. Or even further on in their pregnancy.

10 days before baby was born, in the lab collecting awesome data and testing antiviral drugs. #7monthsawesome

6. And then this person made a very good point, tbh.

When I was #7monthsawesome I did whatever I wanted. Because it's my body. Have they disinvited all men in their 50s? Because heart attacks.

7. When this science student had the perfect response to people harassing her by email.

Keilana / / BuzzFeed

“My motivation is to channel the frustration I feel from being harassed into something productive,” she told BuzzFeed News at the time.

Emily Temple-Wood founded WikiProject Women Scientists, and you can find a list of the Wikipedia articles created as part of the project here.


8. When this researcher was told to work with male colleagues to improve a paper she'd submitted to a scientific journal.

Reviewer’s conclusion: we should get a man’s name on MS to improve it (male colleagues had already read it) (2/4)

Not a specific man, just any man.

The reviewer told her and her female co-author:

It would probably also be beneficial to find one or two male biologists to work with, in order to serve as a possible check against interpretations that may sometimes be drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically biased assumptions.

So she pointed out how hypocritical the review of her work was.

…and this is a bit hypocritical given the reviewer’s own ideological biases throughout the review, for example: (3/4)

The reviewer suggested that a possible explanation for their results is that, "on average, men publish in better journals ... perhaps simple because men, perhaps, on average work more hours per week than women, due to marginally better health and stamina."

(After Ingleby appealed the review, the journal "formally removed the review from the record" and asked the editor who handled it to step down.)

9. When a professor said in an interview that many scientists were "boys with toys", and women scientists responded with pictures of their own "toys".

I play with Mars rovers. #girlswithtoys


I got to play one of the Keck telescopes and it was AMAZING! #girlswithtoys

Pretty impressive toys, tbh.

10. When a Nobel laureate said women in the lab were "distracting" and prone to crying, and scientists took issue with his comments in a hilarious way.

It's just really hard working in a coed lab because I'm too distracting to the male scientists #distractinglysexy


Later that day, I filled this Bronze Age ditch with my womanly archaeology tears #distractinglysexy

12. And then this astrophysicist shut it down in a series of frankly inspirational tweets.

Dear Tim Hunt, We knew what you meant, actually. Your honesty is welcome. Do you know what we honestly think?


We honestly think that you have no place in science. We honestly think that your attitudes are backwards, draconian, and inappropriate.

We think that belittling other people isn't how science gets done. We think that genitalia has SURPRISINGLY little to do with our work

We fight EVERY FUCKING DAY to inhabit the space we were born to inhabit. We spend EVERY DAY convincing others and ourselves.

My tone is not kind. It has been kind for decades. I am old, I am pissed, and I'm not going to adorable my way into justifying my existence.


*standing ovation* 👏👏👏

13. And finally, when an astronaut was just doing her literal job and then a man came along to explain it to her.

"You might be a working astronaut, BUT I AM A MAN"

Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Kelly Oakes at

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