One of the blogs I follow is femalescienceprofessor. Recently she posted questioning the necessity for awards recognizing the achievements of women in science, noting that she herself would have felt that the message from receiving a women-only award, had she been nominated, would have been ‘You’re a pretty good scientist, for a woman.” She does distinguish between awards intended to support women’s careers by making sure they are not at a systematic disadvantage and awards for achievement.
I have some sympathy with this view. However, some women-only awards do raise the profile of women in science.
Are women-only awards patronizing or do they serve a useful purpose? (One commenter’s response was ‘Yeah, I would take the money, wherever it came from.’)