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Is Discrimination Real? Try It Both Ways & See

How can you tell if women are discriminated against, especially in the field of science? One way is to have been both a male AND a female scientist.

Nine years ago male Stanford University of Medicine professor Ben Barres was a woman professor at the same institution who was named Barbara. He definitely feels he had more trouble advancing in the field of science when he was a woman than he has since he has begun living as a man.

In the Telegraph (UK), Roger Highfield quotes Barres as saying, "I have learned that when it comes to prejudice it doesn't seem to matter so much what the facts are?many men have already decided that women are innately less good at this or that, and data saying otherwise won't always get them to change their minds." But he didn't change sexes in order to avoid discrimination. He says, "I had made it all the way through to tenure before changing sex, so there would not have been any career advantage to changing sex at that point. Also?transsexuals are highly discriminated against, and becoming a transsexual is simply an opportunity to face even more discrimination.?

Not all of his colleagues realized that he had changed sexes. Highfield writes, "After he began living as a man in 1997, Professor Barres overheard another scientist say, 'Ben Barres gave a great seminar today, but his work is much better than his sister's work.'"

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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