Dr. Carol Greider was awarded the Nobel Prize in Science this week for her research on telomeres, a part of the chromosome. The New York Times interviewer, Claudia Dreyfus, asked Dr. Greider why telomeres research attracts so many female investigators.
Dr. Greider acknowledged that the founder of this line of research was a woman, and like the bias in the “good old boys network,” women can be known to look for and train other women too. She added something interesting though when she went on to say that it is important for women to hold higher leadership levels in academic medicine as women work in a more social, collaborative way. Her view is that women could change how science is done and how institutions are run, making way for different kinds of results. Dr. Greider is certainly not the first to postulate that women are better collaborators than men. David Gergen, editor-at-large for US News & World Report, in his forward to the book Enlightened Power: How Women are Transporting the Practice of Leadership, suggests that whether it is through socialization or genetics, women seem particularly tailored for the new “web-based” leadership. Sally Helgesen agrees in her book The Female Advantage as she points out that women are particularly well-matched for the collaborative requirements of today’s world. Do you have experiences with women collaborators that matches what Dr. Gredier and these others suggest? Can you give us your story?