27 No. 4
From the Editor
If you were to visit the IUPAC Secretariat and walk down the hallway, you would see 85 years of the Union history: portraits of all the presidents who served the Union since 1919. The very first president, a French gentleman, Charles Moreau, is portrayed in a most formal suit and with the seriousness of the 1920s. Overall, about 30 portraits are lined up, with each subject displaying a facial expression that was a sign of their time. All the photos, even the most recent ones, are black and white, and all portray men who chose to carry out the mission of the Union.
Then there is another series of frames that portray the succession of division presidents. Probably no less than 100 photos, post-card size, are displayed. The second frame has something different . . . and here it is, the first woman division president: Mary Good, who served as president of the Inorganic Chemistry Division from 1981 to 1985. She also later served as an elected member of the Bureau and the Executive Committee. Good has been first in a number of other ways. She was the first woman to serve on the U.S. National Science Board after being appointed by Presidents Carter and Reagan. In 1997, Good became the first woman to receive the Priestley Medal, the highest honor given by the American Chemical Society.
As one glances at the other frames, only one more occurrence of a woman division president can be found: Irina Beletskaya served as president of the Organic Chemistry Division from 1989 to 1991. Beletskaya graduated from Moscow State University and has served there her entire career. Since 1992, she has been a full member of the Russian Academy of Science.
These portraits are simply a reflection of our history, and
here is not the place to debate gender representation in the
organization. However, if you are tickled by signs of change,
look no further than page 17
in this issue. For the first time in IUPAC history, no less
than four women appear on the election ballot for the IUPAC
Bureau, including two for the position of vice president.
As I have come to grasp, changes in IUPAC usually happen slowly;
but when they do, they do for sure. As the baton is passed
to younger scientists, we should hope that the issue of gender
will never take precedence over one’s expertise and
willingness to work as a volunteer for an organization such
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