Dr. Judy Illes speaks to CBC's Ontario Today on sexism in science

June 25, 2015

Yesterday, NeuroDevNet’s Neuroethics Research Group co-lead Dr. Judy Illes spoke to host Amanda Pfeffer of CBC Radio’s Ontario Today on women in science and whether or not sexism is still a problem in the scientific community.

Two months ago, Dr. Illes and University of British Columbia colleague Dr. Catherine Andersen resigned from the selection committee of the Canadian, citing that women have not been nominated for induction in the past two years. When Dr. Illes raised her concern that no women were nominated in 2014, she was assured that things would change in the coming year. However, when women failed to be nominated this year, she probed leadership once again, only to be told that change is in process, but they weren’t there yet.

“I felt it was important to take a stand, and not perpetuate an ongoing problem, and that later was not good enough – that now needed to be the answer,” explained Dr. Illes.

She suggested to the committee that they delay the nomination process so that the opportunity could be publicized more, but her request was denied. Shortly after, her resignation prompted media attention across the country, demonstrating that Canadians are very interested in putting women forward.

“We have to nurture our women and nurture our citizens of diversity across Canada and that takes time,” emphasized Dr. Illes, “It takes years and years to get where we can qualify for a hall of fame type of opportunity.”

Dr. Illes stressed that women are making progress today in science and engineering, and that they are doing great things within leadership and grassroots roles; however, there is still work to do, and we all have to do better.

Listen to the full podcast, starting at 3:29 here: http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/ontariotoday_20150624_17012.mp3