Women in Field Biology: A Journey into Nature

English | 2022 | ISBN: 0367820358 | 317 pages | True PDF | 16.8 MB

Women are contributing to disciplines once the sole domain of men. Field biology has been no different. The history of women field biologists, embedded in a history largely made and recorded by men, has never been written. Compilations of biographies have been assembled, but the narrative—their story—has never been told. In part, this is because many expressed their passion for nature as writers, artists, collectors, and educators during eras when women were excluded from the male-centric world of natural history and science. The history of women field biologists is intertwined with men’s changing views of female intellect and with increasing educational opportunities available to women. Given the preponderance of today’s professional female ecologists, animal behaviorists, systematists, conservation biologists, wildlife biologists, restoration ecologists, and natural historians, it is time to tell this story—the challenges and hardships they faced and still face, and the prominent role they have played and increasingly play in understanding our natural world.
For a broader perspective, we profile selected European women field biologists, but our primary focus is the journey of women field biologists in North America. Each woman highlighted here followed a unique path. For some, personal wealth facilitated their work; some worked alongside their husbands. Many served as invisible assistants to men, receiving little or no recognition. Others were mavericks who carried out pioneering studies and whose published works are still read and valued today. All served as inspiration and proved to the women who would follow that women are as capable as men at studying nature in nature. Their legacy lives on today. The 75 female field biologists interviewed for this book are further testament that women have the intellect, stamina, and passion for fieldwork.

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