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Chimps R Us

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Primitive Behavior

Though Boysen concedes things have changed during her career, women still wield little power in science.

Boysen's struggles against the academic establishment, however, have been minimal compared with the resistance from another kind of establishment- the so-called old boys' network.

According to Boysen, sexism runs rampant throughout academia. Though she concedes things have changed during the course of her career, women still wield little power in science.

"The percentage of women in positions of policy-making and the number of women even with full professorships is tiny," says Boysen.

Photo of Boysen, Chimp and model room
Boysen has an almost "parental" relationship with Sheeba, whom she's been with for 15 years.

To combat her own sense of isolation and improve the climate for the next generation of scientists, Boysen is working with the new OSU president and other women faculty members to create the first women's resource center on campus. Boysen hopes these efforts will help stem the tide of young women leaving the sciences and finding other careers.

"We need all the good brains we can get- we don't need to be throwing half of them away!"

So far, Boysen's efforts have met little resistance.

"I'm very charming," she deadpans. What are the origins of this endemic sexism?

"I hate to say it," Boysen sighs, "but I think it has real, real primate roots. I'm the last one who wants to admit that."


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