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Additional Background Material

From Women in European History

Women and the Sciences

A discussion on Jane Goodall must include at least two separate discussions about women in science and the location of her work, Gombe Stream National Park. The Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) notes an increase of women with minimum bachelor’s degrees in scientific fields compared to stable figures of men in science. Roughly half of people with degrees in the sciences are women, but these numbers offer field specific disparities within the sciences. Most notably, psychology appears as the frontrunner for women in sciences with roughly 75% of its members being women. Psychology embodies skills men perceive to be inherent to women: personal communication skills and understanding emotions. Leakey believed Goodall (and other women) possessing these psychology skills made the best researchers for their ability to analyze animal behavior. Other sciences, engineering and technological sciences, offer no more than 35% women obtaining bachelor’s degrees. These findings reflect the subtle gender roles in society between men and women only defined through the institution of education. Women with science degrees usually go into academic institutions or in the biology field as nurses. CWSEM shows women scientists in America going on to teach in academia, while women in Europe culminate their scientific careers in nursing. Despite the focus in Europe on nursing, US Department of Health and Human Services reports 96% of all registered nurses in America as women, but male dominated science profession such as surgeons, dentists, and optometrists. Visit Women in Science for more information.

Gombe Stream National Park

After the establishment of research breakthroughs, Jane Goodall brought great popularity to Gombe Stream National Park. Despite being the smallest national park in Tanzania, its biodiversity and varying ground structure make it optimal for research and animal sustainability. Originally created to hold hunting game animals, Goodall’s celebrity led to Gombe becoming a National Reserve to increase research opportunities along with protecting the wildlife from hunters and future poachers. Despite the increasing efforts to protect animals and environment, Gombe Stream National Park is plagued with declining biodiversity. Disagreements between local populations, government officials, and park management lead to people killing more animals and reducing the amount of land available. Not isolated to Gombe, national parks throughout Africa struggle to maintain current land as village location disputes interfere with original land allocations for National Parks. The Property and Environment Research Center reported an unfavorable scenario in resolving discrepancies in Tanzania: national parks create large revenue, but does not go to local villages. The wild animals create problems for agriculture, and are hunted to eliminate the risk to crops. When killing these animals, however, people decrease the source of income to their area, the diversity of national parks. While research institutions and organizations like the Jane Goodall Institute advocate for stronger national park laws, Gombe Stream National Park continues to struggle as a safe haven for animals in Tanzania.

More information can be found at the following:

Women in science statistical information

Information on Tanzania National Parks

Gombe Stream National Park

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