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Books, Journals, New Media
August 18, 1999

Women's ScienceWomen's Science: Learning and Succeeding From the Margins

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1999;282(7):698-699. doi:10.1001/jama.282.7.698-JBK0818-6-1

Women's Science tells us that "women's science" is not an oxymoron proclaimed by the gods or the genes but a complex social reality that has its most revealing stories at the margins of the scientific enterprise. The margins contrast with the central, competitive academic laboratories, which either ignore or devour women with their "greedy" demands of time and attention and their "elitist" exclusion of all people (eg, women) who do not look like scientists.

Eisenhart and Finkel base their claim on participant observer research (with three collaborators) at four diverse institutions where women have found comfortable and productive identities and niches as "scientists." This science is a broad enterprise, a human social construction that produces and uses scientific and technical information for education or for social service. The authors deliberately approach this science with what they call sociological "practice theory," which leads them to ask about the practices at each site as well as the meanings of science and scientist, the power relations between the actors, and the welfare of the women.

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