Scientist or ‘Whore’? Incident Symbolizes Familiar Struggle for Women of Color in Science

A controversy over a blogger for Scientific American who was called an “urban whore” in an e-mail exchange has set off a firestorm of comments on social media and struck a nerve with science bloggers, who say the fracas points to the continuing difficulties facing women who make careers in the sciences, especially women of color.

The incident started last week, when Danielle N. Lee, a Ph.D.-holding biologist who studies rodent behavior and writes the popular Urban Scientist blog for Scientific American, received an e-mail asking if she’d be interested in becoming a contributor to the life-sciences blog Biology Online.

When Ms. Lee learned that the blogging assignment was unpaid, she declined the offer. The blog’s editor, identified only as “Ofek” in the e-mail exchange, responded, “Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?”

Biology Online apologized to Ms. Lee on Monday and announced that Ofek had been fired. <Read more.>

Via Stacey Patton, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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