Before dawn this past Tuesday morning, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee tweeted that it was “pleased to announced our membership has been confirmed.” Parliamentary committees had been dissolved after the recent U.K. election, and now the panel was rolling out its new contingent of lawmakers. The only problem: All eight of the mostly smiling faces belonged to men.
This made the science committee Parliament’s only panel without any women. In the previous Parliament, women made up 60% of the membership of the science committee, including its first chair.
Many observers were dismayed. “My heart sank,” blogged Sarah Main, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering in London. Physicist Athene Donald of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom opined in The Guardian: “It is not encouraging for young female scientists to see that parliament apparently cares so little about their futures that they couldn’t even come up with even that long-derided sole token woman.”