This post relates to something that happened a few weeks ago. There was a lot of media attention (especially in the UK) surrounding the European Space Agency’s mission of landing a probe on a comet 4 billion miles away. But this unprecedented and magnificent achievement was largely overshadowed by the clothing adorned by a British scientist Matt Taylor on the day of the landing. He wore a bowling shirt covered in scantily clad women. This created a debate concerning sexism in science. The two articles above take very different standpoints. The first slates Dr Taylor and the ESA, and the second by London Mayor Boris Johnson argues that the reaction is farcical and full of hypocrisy.
My stance on the issue is somewhere between these two views. I think it is a great shame that such an achievement and advancement of human knowledge has been clouded in a debate regarding sexism. But at the same time there appears to be real barriers to women working in science and shirts that objectify women demonstrate this. Matt Taylor has since apologised where he breaks down in tears. I feel both articles (whilst very extreme is their interpretation of the shirt) make valid points. If there is an inherent gender bias as there appears to be then this is something that certainly needs addressed. It just frustrates me that we are not at a stage where we can embrace the common identity that scientific achievements grant us and instead have focus on the identities that divide us all.