Emerson, Lundblad, and Jones v. The Salk Institute


  • Charlotte Pearson Tulane University


The Salk Institute For Biological Studies is a world-renowned research institute. Despite its scientific prestige, Salk has perpetuated gender discrimination and misogyny against its female faculty. This inequality runs rampant throughout the STEM fields, and is characterized by feminist STEM scholars in the “Chilly Climate” theory and the “Leaky Pipeline” hypothesis. Drs. Emerson, Lundblad, and Jones, three tenured female professors at Salk, have experienced discriminatory treatment for years, especially through Salk’s sexist system for awarding grants and promotions. In 2017, these scientists faced a decision: to continue working at Salk and try to change the misogynistic culture from within, or to file lawsuits against the Institute and jeopardize their positions in the scientific community. This case illuminates the way many STEM institutes continue to maintain a gender hierarchy in theworkplace. The scientists’ actions in response reflect the strategies women may use to fight sexism in a STEM workplace.