Top Scientist Bizarrely Claims Women “Don’t Understand" Fracking


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockOct 24 2015, 13:44 UTC
3162 Top Scientist Bizarrely Claims Women “Don’t Understand" Fracking
Eduardo Merille/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0).

A leading scientist has come out to say that women often do not understand fracking because they make decisions based on gut feeling and emotions, rather than fact.


In an interview with The Times newspaper, Averil Macdonald said “Not only do [women] show more of a concern about fracking, they also know that they don't know and they don't understand.”

Averil Macdonald is the chairwoman of U.K. Onshore Oil and Gas – a U.K. body representing the onshore industry and an ardent supporter of fracking. Along with her long list of accolades, she is also a professor of science communication at the University of Reading and a board member of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).

The comments come off the back of previous research that suggested men are more likely to support fracking compared to women. The study from the University of Nottingham used a sample of 7,000 participants, which found that 58% of men think shale gas exploration should be allowed in the U.K., while only 31.5% of women did. The study also found that 85% of men could identify shale gas compared to 65% of women.

She went on to say, “Women are always concerned about threats to their family more than men. We are naturally protective of our children. I would similarly be concerned but I read the literature and I feel comfortable that I understand.


“[Men] will say, ‘fair enough, understand.’ But women, for whatever reason, have not been persuaded by the facts. More facts are not going to make any difference.”

Of course, the sweeping comments in this morning’s Times newspaper – which go on and on like a painfully slow and cringeworthy car crash – didn’t not go unnoticed by the internet.



When accepting her position as chair of the U.K. Onshore Oil and Gas, Macdonald said she will use “clear, accurate application of scientific evidence to help reassure local communities that reserves of British natural gas can be developed safety and with the minimum of environmental impact and that UK gas supplies are part of a long term sustainable solution and not just a stop gap."

Main image credit: Eduardo Merille/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

  • environment,

  • UK,

  • female,

  • women,

  • fracking,

  • feminism,

  • shale gas