I saw this video about 5 years ago when it first came out on PBS and its still resonating in my ears… Its a special about this amazing female professor who is working on a cure for cancer using nanoshells. A cure for cancer, people.
She was interviewed by PBS in order to not only explain her research, but also to address the issue of the lack of women in her field of research.
As a female researcher, when I saw this video 5 years ago there were a few lines that stuck out to me. There has always been an issue of retention with women in any intensive field of research and as the interviewer pointed out, it sometimes has to do with the fact that women have troubles balancing family and work.
Interviewer: Naomi I noticed, did not have children, which made me wonder if that’s about work.
Dr. Halas: No, I cannot have children. Its not that we didn’t try…I mean that’s another thing that people sometimes do look at someone who’s childless and say you know well, ‘You like science more than children’ but no, I like kids too..
When I saw that years ago I naively thought, Wow, how much does that suck? You practically find a cure for cancer and all “they” care about is why you have no children!!
Now I watch that and I tear up, because I feel like I understand her struggle more now . Its deeply personal. Its not they putting this desire to have children in you, it comes from within. How horrible to feel judged about something that no one understands.
I wonder, does her research truly fulfill her or would she still give it all up for a child?
I wonder what will fulfill me if I really cannot have children.
PS: You really should watch the video, its only a few minutes long and will also give a quick and easy intro to nanotechnology!