Whether or not Hunt was joking and whether or not he apologized satisfactorily are beside the point. Neither is it likely that such outdated and seemingly entrenched attitudes can be dispelled by practical attempts to counter gender inequality in science (see Nature 522, 255; 2015 and 7; 2015). Nature 523,
Conspicuous by its absence in Nature so far is this: a woman commenting on the harm done by the flippant public denigration of women in science by a prominent scientist who is male.
UCL can confirm that Sir Tim Hunt FRS has today resigned from his position as Honorary Professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences, following comments he made about women in science at the World Conference of Science Journalists on 9 June.
UCL was the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men, and the university believes that this outcome is compatible with our commitment to gender equality.
More sexist comments in the world of science (unfortunately this has been happening frequently). At the World Conference of Science Journalists this week, Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt is reported to have said,
“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry.”
Hunt said he was in favour of single-sex labs, adding that he didn’t want to “stand in the way of women”.
…Not cool dude. The problem here does not seem to be women, but in fact, men.
“I’m very sorry that what I thought were light hearted ironic remarks were taken so seriously, and I’m very sorry if people took offence. I certainly did not mean to demean women, but rather be honest about my own shortcomings.”
At least there was a formal apology. For more, be sure to keep up with the conversation on twitter with #TimHunt