Women still victims of the ‘Mathew effect’


THE world despite evolving and modernising still remains unequal.
Even the most ‘advanced’ societies are still to fully accept that women are equal to men.The idea of a female American or Chinese leader, in these so-called advanced nations, still sounds preposterous.
The Bindura University of Science and Technology last week belatedly celebrated Women’s Day that is commemorated annually on March 8.
The institution celebrated the event under the theme, ‘Equality for women is progress for all; celebrating women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)’.
The occasion graced by women achievers from different disciplines was a celebration of one of the oldest movements of our time that began 157 years ago by female workers.
There have been many achievements and discoveries in which women participated or had a leading role, but were never given the recognition especially in science.
Speaking at the event, the ViceChancellor for Women’s University in Africa Professor Hope Sadza recalled how she was the only female in a group of students sent to study in the United States of America.
However, when they returned, her male colleagues were given higher posts in the government despite her being academically better than some of them.
Over the centuries, since the conception of mankind, the woman has suffered what is termed the ‘Mathew effect’.
Biblically, according to the book of Mathew, the angel of God sent to deliver the message of the conception of Christ delivered the message to Joseph that his wife would carry the holy child.
While according to Luke who unlike Mathew was not a Jew, as they generally saw women as possessions, the angel first went to the Virgin Mary.
Since 1968 this phenomenon of ignoring women in narrations and discoveries has been known as the ‘Mathew effect’.
Recently the National Geographic News published a story about how six women who made significant discoveries in science were snubbed due to their gender.
Esther Lederberg lay the groundwork for future discoveries on genetic inheritance in bacteria, gene regulation, and genetic recombination, but was not given credit.
In 1912, Chien-Shiung Wu of China overturned a law of physics and participated in the development of the atom bomb while Austrian Lise Meitner’s work in nuclear physics led to the discovery of nuclear fission the fact that atomic nuclei can split in two.
The findings laid the groundwork for the atomic bomb.Rosalind Franklin used x-rays to take a picture of DNA that would change biology.
Nettie Stevens performed studies crucial in determining that an organism’s sex was dictated by its chromosomes rather than environmental or other factors.
It is against such a background that the event organiser in Bindura, Ms Sindiso Zhou reiterated the need for women to take a stand in various disciplines especially in science and technology.
“The empathetic message is that it is possible for women to pursue careers in science,” she said.Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Women’s affairs, Gender and Community Development, Oppah Muchinguri, Ms Madziwa said Government had made significant strides towards gender equality.
“The adoption of the new constitution in 2013 was a major milestone in the history of Zimbabwe and mostly in the lives of Zimbabwean women,” she said. “It also contains expansive bill of rights, gender equality notions and elaborate rights for women.”


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