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      Pluto Journals
      women, science, history, gender, botanists, microbiologists, universities, research assistants


            There is a great deal of contemporary pressure to examine why women are not going into science, to encourage them to do so, and, among a growing band of feminist scholars, to question and challenge the long male-centred structuring and domination of the ethos of science. Deep cultural forces survive that continue to locate most women in the profession's lower ranks; the place of women in science leadership and policymaking in Australia is conspicuously small, while the very architecture of science and its invisible colleges and networks appear to perpetuate the expectation that science is a masculine world. How has this scenario developed in Australia? What part have woman played in the society and community of science? How widespread has their participation been? And what, in a sweep across a century or more, are the inhibitors that have kept women out of ‘mainstream’ science? This paper examines the background in Australia.


            Author and article information

            Critical Studies in Innovation
            Pluto Journals
            December 1993
            : 11
            : 2
            : 175-187
            8629352 Prometheus, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1993: pp. 175–187
            Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Page count
            Figures: 0, Tables: 0, References: 44, Pages: 13
            Original Articles

            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics
            research assistants,microbiologists,universities,botanists,history,science,women,gender


            1. Dorinda Outram. . 1987. . “Before Objectivity: Wives, Patronage, and Cultural Reproduction in Early Nineteenth Century French Science. ”. In Uneasy Careers and Intimate Lives. Women in Science 1789–1979 . , Edited by: Pnina Abiram G. and Dorinda Outram. . New Brunswick and London : : Rutgers University Press. .

            2. Ann Moyal, Collins, 1986, Penguin edition, 1993.

            3. Cf. Alexandra Hasluck, Portrait with Background. A Life of Georgiana Molloy Melbourne, OUP, 1955; Patricia Clarke, Pioneer Writer: the life of Louisa Atkinson, novelist, journalist, naturalist, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1990; Marion Ord (ed.) Historical Drawings of Moths and Butterflies of Harriet and Helena Scott and Historical Drawings of Native Flowers of Harriet and Helena Scott, 2 volumes, Craftsman House, 1988; Vivienne Rae Ellis, Louisa Anne Meredith. A Tigress in Exile, Hobart, Blubber Press, 1979; Margaret Hazzard (ed.), Flower Paintings of Ellis Rowan, Canberra, National Library of Australia, 1987. See also D.J. Carr and S.G.M Carr (eds), People and Plants in Australia, Sydney, Academic Press, 1981.

            4. Nessy Allen. . 1991. . The contribution of two Australian women scientists to its wool industry. . Prometheus . , Vol. 9((1)): 81––92. . Metascience

            5. Ann B. Skteir, ‘Botany in the Breakfast Room: Women and Early Nineteenth British Plant Study’, in Abir-am and Outram, op. cit., p.33.

            6. A significant number has been located and identified in Joan Kerr (ed.), The Dictionary of Australian Artists: Painters, Sketchers, Photographers and Engravers, Melbourne, OUP, 1992.

            7. Facsimile edition, Queensbury Hill Press, Victoria, 1981.

            8. Rae Ellis, op. cit., pp.194–5.

            9. Ellis Rowan M.. 1898. . A Flower Hunter in Queensland and New Zealand . , London : : John Murray. .

            10. Kerr, op. cit. Walker's ‘Florilegium’ is preserved in the Mitchell Library, Sydney.

            11. Skteir, op. cit., p.33.

            12. Kerr, op. cit., p.138 and Alec Chisholm, ‘Our Women of the Open Ways’, The Australian Women's Mirror, Part I, 27 Jan. 1925; Part II, 3 Feb. 1925.

            13. Elizabeth Windshuttle. . 1988. . Taste and Science: The Macleay Women . , Sydney : : Historic Houses Trust. .

            14. Skteir, op. cit., p.36.

            15. Moyal, op. cit., pp.107–9 and Hasluck, op. cit.

            16. Many of their names figure in J.H. Willis, D. Pearson, M.T. Davis and J.W. Green, Australian Plants: Collectors and Illustrators 1770–1980’, Western Australian Herbarium Research Notes No.12, 1986, pp.1–111.

            17. Lucas A. M.. “Baron von Mueller: Protege turned Patron. ”. In Australian Science in the Making . , Edited by: Home R. W.. p. 141 Melbourne : : Cambridge University Press. .

            18. Ann Moyal, ‘Collectors and Illustrators. Women Botanists of the nineteenth century’, in Carr & Carr (eds), op. cit., pp.333–56.

            19. A Room of One's Own, Penguin, 1929.

            20. Outram, op. cit., p.29.

            21. Cf. Moyal, 1986, op. cit., pp.109–11, and Ray Sumner, Woman of the Wilderness. The Story of Amalie Dietrich, Sydney: University of NSW Press, 1993.

            22. Rebecca Bartel-Werchon, ‘Lady Jane Franklin 1791–1875. Woman of Substance and a Pioneer Patron of Science’. Moran Prize Essay, University of Sydney, 1992.

            23. Outram, op. cit., p.30.

            24. Quoted in David Branagan (ed.) RocksFossilsProfs, Sydney University Science Press for Department of Geology, University of Sydney, with Hale & Iremonger, 1973, p.13.

            25. Charles Birch, Oral History Record, Hazel de Berg Collection, National Library of Australia.

            26. David Branagan & Graham Holland (eds), Ever Reaping Something New. A Science Centenary, Sydney University Press, 1985, p.226.

            27. Australian Dictionary of Biography, 1891–1939, vol 12, pp.149–50. Professor Baldwin Spencer acted as an important mentor to Sweet.

            28. Frank Fenner Cf.. 1990. . History of Microbiology in Australia . , Canberra : : Australian Society of Microbiology, Brolga Press. .

            29. See Willis, Person, Davis, Green, op. cit.

            30. The Ph.D. degree was not available in the Australian universities until the 1950's.

            31. Ian Wark, ‘1851 Science Research Awards to Australians’, Records Australian Academy of Science, 1977, Vol. 3, Nos 3/4, pp.47–52.

            32. Allen, Prometheus, op. cit. and Ann Moyal (ed.), speaking of Science. National Library of Australia, 1993 (An Oral History collection).

            33. Fenner, op. cit.

            34. Oral History Interview with Ann Moyal, speaking of Science, op. cit.

            35. Oral History Record of Professor Sir Gus Nossal with Ann Moyal, ibid.

            36. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982, p.xvi.

            37. Ruth Lane. . 1993. . Women at the Frontiers. Documenting Women's Lives. . Voices . , Vol. 3((1)): 38

            38. Cf. Allen, Prometheus, op. cit.

            39. Veronica Stolte-Heiskanen et al. (eds), Women in Science. Token Women or Gender Equality, Berg, International Social Science Council in co-operation with UNESCO, 1991.

            40. Rossiter, op. cit., p.xv.

            41. Cf. Moyal. ‘The Australian Academy: The Anatomy of a Scientific Elite’, search, 11, 7–8 & 9, 1980.

            42. An attempt by a core of women of the NSW Division of the Australian Association of Scientific Workers in 1941 to investigate and improve the working conditions of women, upgrade their low payment, and provide arrangements to assist qualified women with young children, made little headway. Report of a Subcommittee on Status of Women Employed in Science, July 1941. National Library of Australia. Typescript.

            43. S. M. Kirov, ‘Women in medical research and academia: What future?’, Australian University Review, 34, 1991, pp.38–43.

            44. Ashmore S. E., Harvey L. A. and Runciman C.. 1992. . scientific Assistants: Contributions and Gender Issues. . search . , Vol. 23((8)): 239––41. .


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