Foreign Policy Blogs

In Praise of Marie Curie…And Emmy Noether….And Lise Meitner…And….

When I first began in the field we like to call “Nukes and Spooks”, I was one of very few women in a sea of old white guys. (Sorry old white guys.  We love ya, but there are just too many of you)  I was a loud-mouthed, black clothes-wearing, not-so reformed goth girl from New York. I may as well have been a leper.  To some, I was.

But, here I am, nearly 20 years later.  A bit less black, a lot more gray – where I don’t want it – and a resume of accomplishments in the field to list.  Things are different.  The highest ranking USG official doing arms control is a woman – Secretary of State Clinton.  She is ably backed by former member of Congress and current Undersecretary Ellen Tauscher and Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller, who recently negotiated the successor to START.  At NNSA, we have Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington.

Needless to say, I am entirely empathetic with other women taking on roles in male-dominated professions.  And now that I work more closely with the scientific community, even more so.

Clearly and obviously, I am not the only one to notice these enduring inequities.  The latest comes from Robert Krulwich and Randall Monroe.  Krulwich, who blogs for NPR, did a piece in the context of the repellent behavior of Msrs Strauss-Kahn and Schwarzenegger regarding how women are treated in science.  Monroe does the comic strip xkcd. Its fabulous, funny and, in the end, delivers an excellent message to young women trying to pursue a career in science.  Using an undead zombie Marie Curie.

Happy Monday!

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Jodi Lieberman

Jodi Lieberman is a veteran of the arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety trenches, having worked at the Departments of State, Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also served in an advisory capacity and as professional staff for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate as well as the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Jodi currently spends her time advocating for science issues and funding as the Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the American Physical Society. The views expressed in her posts are her views based on her professional experience but in way should be construed to represent those of her employer.

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