Re: You're right, and I agree with you, but...
I have to agree - another good case in point is Nursery Nursing - an almost entirely female occupation. On the face of it, there's no reason men should be any worse at the job than women, apart from the fact that from an early age boys and girls are effectively segregated and raised differently.
This may not be an intentional thing, but there are societal norms which most people don't even conciously think about. This goes beyond dressing girls in pink, and boys in blue, to the fact that males and females are (beyond the obvious differences) not actually the same.
On the whole, women tend to be more nurturing and men more analytical. This isn't sexism, it is an observation, and it is worth noting that it is also a generalisation, and there are plenty of very logical analytical women who are good at spacial reasoning, just as there are plenty of men who are fantastic parents.
So what I am saying is that there is a combination of societal pressure and innate preference behind the lack of women in science, probably more so than the sexism that may be present in some organisations. We erroneously think that because men and women should have equal rights and opportunities (and they very much should), that men and women are equal. Take this to its logical extreme, and the fallacy is obvious - men and women are different, both mentally and physically. The best women's tennis player in the world would never beat the best men's player just because of pure strength, and a man would never be able to bear a child no matter how hard they tried (legal gender reassignments aside).
Some of the statistics are actually very telling. I don't have the figures to hand, but I remember reading that the gender ratio in Chemistry (which I studied at university, so have first-hand knowledge of), is skewed in favour of women at the undergraduate level (something like 60:40), but at postgraduate level it becomes more like 45:55, and further into academia is something like 20:80. What this shows isn't a lack of women going into science, but women leaving science.
So this campaign misses the point on several levels:
- Attracting women to science isn't necessarily the problem, keeping them is.
- The ad itself is hopelessly sexist and trivialises both women and science.
- There is a lack of interest in science in general, not just in girls, but boys also.
- Science education (in this country at least) in schools is currently appalling. We are failing in our duty to properly educate our children to prepare them for the world.
- Chemists actually very rarely use bunsen burners, thermostatically controlled heaters are preferred for a number of reasons.