Thoughts on a blog post by Taslima Nasreen
My comment on Taslima’s post:
When I consider the situation regarding women in science I always come back to the same example: Rosalind Franklin. Here was a woman whose work was instrumental in enabling Watson and Crick to claim they had discovered the double helix of DNA yet they received the Nobel Prize and Rosalind Franklin was ignored. Why on earth should women want to enter a career where they will work hard but be usurped by men?
The greatest fallacy is that women are less intelligent than men. Because they have smaller heads than some men? Rubbish! It is impossible to generalise. Any apparent physical differences between the brains of some men and some women cannot be considered absolute because physical differences cannot account for the social conditions that inevitably exist and help shape brain formation and personality.
The pathetic and utterly stupid argument that either nature or nurture has the dominant role in shaping personality did immense damage. It is, of course, a mixture of both. The genes are not a blueprint, they are a recipe. Examples: bring up a female child in an environment of mathematics and science and you will probably get a mathematician and scientist, providing the genes allow. Take a boy who has genes producing hormones that cause his brain to freeze easily when in a stressful situation and he will never make a soldier, no matter how much he may want to because he wants to be like his father and his father was a soldier.
It is the social environment, particularly, but not wholly, environments fashioned by religious dogma, that have given women their 2nd class status. Thank goodness secularism is beginning to change that. It is to be hoped that it can also change political and cultural norms. There is however, still a long, long way to go. Attitudes and beliefs are deeply entrenched and those who profit by them will not let them go without a fight.
The most important thing is that men and women are individuals with individual talents and desires. If a man wants a career as a housekeeper and is good at the job, let him. If a woman wants to become a welder in a shipyard and shows potential, she should be allowed to. No woman should ever feel that the only way she can be financially independent is by being a prostitute, for being a prostitute rarely involves true independence.
It is also important to remember that someone, of no matter what sex or inclination, who is trapped in a job or role they hate will ever achieve their full potential. That includes looking after children and doing the housework at home; it should be shared between partners equally so neither ends up feeling they are trapped.