Albert Einstein has always been a man of clear views and opinions. Why would his thoughts about women in science be an exception?
Scientists and researchers who were contemporary to Einstein weren’t in favor of women entering into technology and science (the situation hasn’t changed much today too). They felt the feminine gender was incapable of evolved or structured thoughts and should be ideal only for taking care of the household and child-rearing. The conditions of that time were so bleak that many female scientists carried out their work in utter secrecy. There have been many instances that the works of few brilliant female minds have been presented by male scientists. However, what’s more horrific is that these ideas weren’t stolen, but offered by the women themselves, knowing fully well that the concepts wouldn’t be even considered since they originated from the female mind.
But, Einstein was a clear exception. Though he never openly defied the common ideology of women entering science and carrying out research alongside their male colleagues, he never opposed any of them when they exhibited brilliance and the potential. His standpoint becomes quite evident from a reply that he gave to a woman who felt she would be humiliated by the great mind, if he came to know she was a female, reported Mic.
Included in Alice Caprice’s book titled ‘Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein’s Letters to and from Children‘, is a singular letter that was a reply Einstein gave to a young South African female in the 1940s, when she pleaded the genius not to treat her or her work differently only because she is a female,
“I hope you will not think any the less of me for being a girl!”
The above sentence was part of a letter written by Tyfanny (last name unknown) to Einstein. In the letter dated Sept. 19, 1946, Tyfanny painfully confessed to Einstein about her gender and pleaded the man not to think any less of her,
“I forgot to tell you, in my last letter, that I was a girl. I mean I am a girl. I have always regretted this a great deal, but by now I have become more or less resigned to the fact. Anyway, I hate dresses and dances and all the kind of rot girls usually like. I much prefer horses and riding. Long ago, before I wanted to become a scientist, I wanted to be a jockey and ride horses in races. But that was ages ago, now. I hope you will not think any the less of me for being a girl!
Needless to say, Albert Einstein was at the peak of his career and was known to be exceptionally busy etching out formulae that would later be used to create some of the strongest man-made forces, which hold the power to help mankind thrive or destroy entire civilizations. Despite being ridiculously occupied, Einstein took the time to respond to the girl, whose age is still a mystery. Albert Einstein wrote,
“I do not mind that you are a girl, but the main thing is that you yourself do not mind. There is no reason for it.”
This has to be, by far, one of the simplest replies that clearly illustrate how one of the greatest minds on earth felt about a gender’s relationship to the study of science, reported The Mary Sue. Perhaps it is time that gender equality is pursued with the fierce clarity that Albert Einstein had.
[Image Credit | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank]