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The Exclusion Effect (Pre-Order)

How the Sciences Discourage Girls & Women & What to do about it

Fewer women than men pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The reasons include negative experiences in the classroom and on campus, abuse, discrimination, harassment, implicit bias, negative stereotypes, a lack of role models and social support, and a “chilly climate” in the profession due to the mistaken belief that women “do not belong in” or “cannot do” science. All of these take their toll over time and discourage young women from entering STEM careers, even with its promise of better pay. That has to change.

: Biography & Memoir, Education, Empowerment, Science

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Published Date

September 3, 2024

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As a newly minted Ph.D. in medical geography, Kirsty Duncan led an international expedition to remote Svalbard, Norway, to search for the cause of the deadly 1918 influenza. What should have been a rewarding intellectual adventure turned out to be an unwanted baptism into the unbridled sexism and privilege of the scientific community.

She has devoted herself to the support of girls and women in scientific endeavors ever since. While women have come a long way in science, there is still far to go. They remain under-represented, under-paid, under-published, and under the shadows of male scientists who are assumed, without evidence, to have innate capacities that women lack. Duncan identifies systemic biases in the assessment of girls’ abilities and the teaching of science in the home, the classroom, our communities, and professional life. She makes a powerful argument for cultural and institutional change to ensure girls and women their rightful place in the scientific community.

For readers of Melinda Gates’s The Moment of Lift, Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women, and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures.

Kirsty Duncan

Kirsty Duncan is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Etobicoke North and has been serving the community since 2008. She has been the driving force for putting science front and centre in the federal government’s agenda. She lives in Toronto.


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