Everywhere you look, odds appear stacked against women in STEM. Young male scientists receive up to twice as much funding as their female counterparts in Boston’s biomedical research institutions, a global research hub. Only 30% of the world’s researchers are women, and women hold fewer than 25% of STEM jobs in the US. In fact, one recent survey found 67% of Europeans and 93% of Chinese respondents don’t even believe women have the skills to do science — and Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Tim Hunt thinks women cause “trouble” in the lab.
But take a look at the above portrait, which was taken by photographer Bret Hartman at the TED Fellows Retreat in Pacific Grove, California in August 2015. These 12 scientists represent a range of disciplines — from astrophysics, biology, genetics, archaeology, medicine, glaciology, data science and more — and represent 5 countries around the world. They also happen to all be women. And while a portrait like this one shouldn’t be extraordinary in 2015, it sadly is — highlighting a very real, very large gender gap in the sciences.
“This week, a cab driver asked me, ‘What do men say when you tell them you’re a scientist? Because you don’t look like a scientist,’” marine biologist Kristen Marhaver says. “In this picture, I see a twinkle in each of our eyes, saying, ‘No, that’s the thing, sir. I do look like a scientist.’”