This week women across the twitterverse posted pictures of themselves, their daughters, and notable female scientists doing science alongside the hashtag #GirlsWithToys. The trend was kicked off by @KateClancy, herself a scientist, who was angered on behalf of her daughter and female students to hear an astronomer's assertion that scientists are "boys with toys".
Roche Life Science was quick to jump on the bandwagon:
Oh dear Roche! Did you forget the European Commission's ill-fated "Science - it's a girl thing" campaign? As men are entitled to refer to themselves as "boys", women can refer to themselves as "girls". Male dominated institutions, however, have no place referring to adult female employees as "girls". As Kimberley Fortier, publisher of the Spectator, points out "In personal relationships girl is great, but in the workplace stick with woman or female."
To paraphrase Clancy, every time we impose a stereotype on a role, we are placing limits on people. When Roche refers to its female scientists as "girls" or, as Merriam Webster defines girls, "a female child from birth to adulthood", it is effectively saying "adult women need not apply". Rising through the ranks at Roche clearly isn't "a girl thing".