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Morrisons decrees science reading material is not for women

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So in my new day job I am involved in celebrating and promoting the role of women in STEM (an acronym referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) for both studies and careers. One of the key titles covering this field is New Scientist and I was amazed to learn today that supermarket chain Morrisons has moved the magazine to the men’s section in its stores.

I’m not great at science, more of a creative type, but am amazed at attitudes that prevail around the role of women in these fields – and in 2015.

I blogged about the lack of women in the new Xfm radio show line-up yesterday and today the topic of equality raises its head again. I’m not a feminist per se but the outdated notions that prevail even in today’s society seem at odds with modern life.

A student from Leeds University noticed the location of the magazine on a recent store visit. Layla Gerami, a Chemistry second year, contacted the retailer to ask why. Morrison’s replied that that buyer believed the title was “generally a men’s general interest magazine” to explain the positioning. Even New Scientist is quoted as saying the magazine is for everyone and is equally perplexed by the store’s response.

The Higher Education Statistics Society reports that 48% of students enrolled on science courses in 2013 – 14 were female. The Guardian Higher Education today also comments on how sexism in science is an issue that needs killing off and that more women than ever before are taking up science and technology careers.

With the financial woes of the FMCG sector weighing heavily on Morrisons, the chain is expected to announce a pre-tax profits forecast to fall by 40% later this week, I’m not sure the retailer can afford to alienate female shoppers despite research which suggests men do 51% of weekly grocery shops – because the guys will spend less when in store – so that won’t include magazines!

I’m pleased and proud to work for an employer that values the contribution of all staff and encourages its students to be vocal about equality too.


Gillian Neild is Head of Communications for the Faculty of Medicine and Health and blogs at gillianneild.co.uk and is also on Twitter @GillianNeild

Pages in this document

  1. How connections help women
  2. A little bit about Sara Hayes
  3. Morrisons decrees science reading material is not for women
  4. If I’m doing it unconsciously then how do I know I’m doing it?