Once gender is defined as an analytic category within which humans think about and organize their social activity, rather than as a natural consequence of sex difference, it becomes apparent the extent to which gender meanings have suffused human belief systems and institutions. The fact that women have been almost completely excluded from science raises the question as to whether the predominance of men in the sciences has led to bias in the choice and definition of problems. And if bias enters into the selection of problems, bias may enter into the actual design and interpretation of experiments. To the extent that traditional science is influenced by extra-logical considerations such as personal beliefs and desires, if science is primarily undertaken by men these will bias the development of any discipline.
The 1980s saw the reinterpretation of many academic disciplines by feminist scholars. It began with the rediscovery and re-evaluation of female authors and the championing of art unique to women. It has resulted in criticism of psychology, sociology, history, political science, anthropology and biology. In each case emphasis has been placed on examining the discipline through a belief in the past and present unfair treatment of women.
The 19th century naturalist and children's writer Beatrix Potter prepared a scientific paper on fungi for the Linnean Society. It was presented on her behalf by another because at the time only members could present papers and women could not be members. Her thesis was rejected. Subsequent findings have confirmed her thesis and found the opinions which rejected it incorrect. The present committee of the Linnean Society is in some embarrassment over this and is reportedly considering a public apology.