Handling risky knowledge: Gender and scientific risk-taking

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Like the practice of clinical medicine, medical research and the knowledge it generates involve their own risks. This paper examines various societal and career risks of working with certain types of medical knowledge, and discusses empirical research on gender and risk-taking in science. It considers the questions this literature raises regarding decision-making about risky knowledge, as women increasingly enter new roles as researchers, consultants, regulators, and bureaucrats in science and medicine. In particular, it focuses on the relative hesitance of women scientists to take risks in their careers, and asks whether this predicts how they will handle risky knowledge as they enter new positions of decision-making auihority in science and medicine. Limitations in existing data preclude firm predictions, but the paper sets out numerous questions for further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Men's Health and Gender
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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