Unseen Gender Bias ?
I was lucky enough to see a fascinating film “Red Joan” on the plane back from Qatar last week, chronicling the life of Melita Norwood, a Cambridge Science Undergraduate, who ended up working for the allied nuclear effort, and was befriended by communist political activists, being controlled by the KGB. As the story develops, Melita (Joan) gets reeled in by the activists, and while working on top secret projects has access to critical scientific information that the Soviets needed. It is a dramatisation, but Melita initially does not want to reveal secrets, but after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, believed that by releasing the secrets she could help world peace by creating a deterrent “status quo”
The thing that struck me most, was that there were numerous police visits to the test facility she was working at as there were strong suspicions of a leak. Yet she was not the prime target, even though as the diarist and keeper of records had access to all the critical information. As it was portrayed in the film, senior male scientists were targeted. It got me thinking the fact that she was female meant there was an inbuilt bias around not believing a lady should do such a thing, or possibly was not smart enough, even though she had a top brain and academic record. This highlights how much culture has moved on, where women are seen as equals. I would hope the same cognitive bias would not be so prevalent today. It triggers an interesting debate, because there are clearly other forms of gender bias. It is clearly a complex issue with many strands, and it is only when you start to think more deeply, that you uncover the other strands.