More anti-woman propaganda from our friends at the Daily Mail, same story here (“Women are too shy to break through the glass ceiling, says female scientist”). The important word in the Daily Mail’s headline is “says female scientist”. It can’t be sexist or biased because a woman said it! And she’s a scientist! This is a regular trick by the Daily Mail, similar to a comment piece from a few years ago about India being rubbish since the British left – written by an Indian. So not racist at all then?
Despite this basic anti-intellectual point (women can indeed be misogynistic, people of colour can be racist, etc), what about the ‘scientist’ word. Hmmm, not a lot of evidence for that. Shannon Goodson proudly announces that she not only has a bachelors degree, but a Masters too! While still reeling from this academic achievement, I noticed that her Masters was in Organizational Psychology. Now, I’m not one to poo-poo psychology (well, OK I am) but I think it is a stretch to call her a ‘scientist’.
Her notable qualifications have included being a guest on The Dr Pat Show, and presenting her research to “professional associations all over the globe”. Again, the devil is in the detail. Goodson has presented to Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, European Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and both the Southwestern and Southeastern (of the USA) Psychological Associations.
Now, I’m not trying to suggest that this individual is a charlatan, I’m sure she is a very nice human being. Just that her scientific qualifications are limited and her book (non-peer reviewed) is being used to blame women for the structural discrimination they suffer – a point that she should not have been unaware of when writing it.
Psychology is an interesting and controversial discipline, which has historically had an anti-woman streak running through it. It has given us Freud and evolutionary psychology (not to mention the Bell Curve). So we should, at the very least, be demanding of the application of the scientific method when it comes to sweeping statements about half the World’s population.
Again, the book does refer to differences in female achievement between countries and is probably more rigourous than the papers present it. But researchers must be conscious of the way their research will be presented and communicated. This research has been presented in some of the UK press as ‘proof’ that women aren’t cut out for business. Obviously, journalists with their arts degrees are largely to blame, but so are the researchers for the misuse of their research.