Posted February 06, 2020 07:20:50 The World of Biology Society (WOSBS) was founded in 2005 as a non-profit research and educational group devoted to advancing the field of biology.
But in 2016 it was forced to close after failing to raise the £4.2 million needed to operate.
Today, the WOSBS is an independent organisation, but still operates out of the same office in Oxford.
It is also one of the few professional societies dedicated to the study of the male sexual anatomy, and is also home to some of the most prominent and influential male scientists in the world.
“The idea was that we wanted to take on a new and exciting field,” said John Loughlin, the former chair of WOSBs governing board.
“It was something I was really excited about, because I’m really into science and I’ve been a lifelong male, and we’ve got a lot of very well-known and respected male scientists who are not women.”
Loughly said that while the Wosbs board were keen to “make science more inclusive”, the focus of the society was on the development of male-focused scientific research.
“I think there’s a lot more to the problem of the lack of male participation in science, because the field is so broad and it has so many different disciplines that need to be tackled,” he said.
“In the UK we are not at the top of the food chain in terms of male scientists, so we have a lot to do to address that, and that’s where we are.
We have to tackle the gender gap in science.”
Lattimore, who now runs the science consultancy The Lattimes Group, said that the organisation would continue to be a space for academics to meet in-person to discuss their work and to exchange ideas.
But Loughling also noted that while he did not know how many male members were currently in the W.O.S., he did believe that it was “quite large” given the number of universities in the country.
“We’re very fortunate that we have such a large and vibrant community of female scientists in science,” he told Science Traveller.
“As an organisation we are proud of that, but I think it is something that we need to work on.”
Male scientist ‘blessed’ by female mentor Loughings comments echo similar ones made by female scientist Andrea LaFleur in her book The Bachelorette.
She said that female scientists “must be grateful for the support and encouragement they get” from male colleagues, “because without it, they would be doing the same things as their male colleagues”.
“They have the same values, the same goals, and they’re more likely to be successful,” she said.
Loughinger said that male scientists were more likely than female scientists to be “fostered” by female mentors, and said that his own mentorship had been positive.
“My male colleagues are very happy and motivated to follow up with me because they see me as someone who has the skills and the expertise to do that work,” he added.
“There is no question in my mind that they’re looking for a mentor that they can turn to, to do the work and then get on with their lives.”
“It is quite a good example of what we’re doing in science when there’s male scientists and female scientists sharing the same passion for what they’re doing, and there’s female mentors and male mentors who are helping them along the way,” he continued.
“That’s something that has really been rewarding to me.”
Laysley is a science writer for the Guardian.