The 'female' brain: why damaging myths about women and science keep coming back in new forms

In 1879, French polymath Gustave Le Bon wrote that even in "the most intelligent races" there "are a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to those of gorillas than to the most developed male brains". He continued his insult with: "This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion."

Today we have moved on, right? But whenever we attempt to explain the under-representation of women in science, debunked myths seem to sneak back into the debate in different guises—no matter how often they are challenged. A century after the birth of Rosalind Franklin, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, it's sadly time to once again shed light on the prejudices about women's brains and abilities.


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