Le Club des hommes de science

Je suis membre du comité de recrutement et d'avancement d'une école médicale. Au fil des ans, j'en suis venu à identifier un phénomène qui est aussi dérangeant qu'indéniable : au sein de leur groupe, les scientifiques de sexe masculin naviguent dans les eaux du comité sans effort. Certains travaillent dans des domaines si spécialisés qu'ils n'ont qu'une dizaine de collègues dans le monde entier, dont la moitié sont leurs mentors ou leurs anciens collègues de doctorat. Ce sont leurs « pairs » et ils leur fournissent très volontiers des lettres de recommandation pleines de louanges affirmant que le candidat jouit « d'une reconnaissance nationale et internationale ». En revanche, les candidatures des cliniciens et des femmes provoquent bien plus de débats.

Je m'accommode de la facilité avec laquelle les enseignants scientifiques sont promus ; après tout, je suis sûr que je bénéficie aussi des avantages attachés à cette fonction. Néanmoins, le système semble à l'évidence injuste. Nous nous appuyons sur des arbitres extérieurs pour promouvoir les scientifiques qui publient leurs travaux dans des revues nationales et internationales. En revanche, il est difficile de quantifier leurs performances. En fait, il nous est même difficile de définir, avec plus ou moins de succès, je crois, ce qu'est un physicien pratiquant « académiquement », puisque la réputation des cliniciens repose sur des interactions locales qui sont souvent difficiles à analyser.

La question des femmes employées par les facultés, particulièrement dans les sciences fondamentales, est bien plus complexe. Je pense qu'ici le problème reflète les différences fondamentales entre l'approche masculine et l'approche féminine de la science comme microcosme de la vie. La plupart de mes collègues masculins de la faculté ne sont ni portés sur la musculation ni menés par leur testostérone, mais dans leur carrière scientifique, ils affichent deux types de comportements typiquement masculins.

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