You know why, over in Japan, there are so many women drawing manga? Because in the 1970s, an editor named Junya Yamamoto decided that his girls’ manga might sell better if they were drawn by young women rather than middle-aged men, so he hired a bunch of young female artists. Okay, that wasn’t the only reason women took over shojo manga. The other reason was that these women were all totally awesome at drawing manga. But if Yamamoto hadn’t been there to scoop up their work, they probably would have drawn less, or focused on the small-press world rather than the big publishers, or given up on comics. Instead, the manga industry got amazing artists like Moto Hagio, Keiko Takemiya, Riyoko Ikeda, and Yasuko Aoike. Admittedly, Moto Hagio is probably only the second-greatest manga artist ever, but only because it is literally impossible to beat Osamu Tezuka.
It doesn’t just work for the arts! Microbiology is one of the few areas of science with a roughly equal number of male and female researchers. Why? Because in the 1970s, a cell biologist named Joseph Gall decided he wanted more ladies around, so he made a point of encouraging his female students and assistants. Gall’s lone efforts to get women to do science produced an entire generation of female microbiologists, a group sometimes jokingly referred to as “Gall’s Girls.” The 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine, the first science Nobel awarded to a woman-headed team, went to Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and Jack Szostak. Blackburn was one of “Gall’s Girls,” and Greider was one of her girls.
Oh, and the work that won them the Nobel? Researching telomeres, the strings of nonsense protein at the ends of DNA molecules which seem to be connected somehow to the aging process, and the possibility of using telomerase to “immortalize” cells. So thanks to one guy deciding he wanted some chicks around the lab, we may have the secret to immortality. Shaenon Garrity, “Sexism,” All the Comics in the World, Comixology.com (via websnark)