Natural History Museum is branded sexist... for not having enough female animal exhibits

  • Male birds outnumbered females by 60 per cent to 40 per cent across museums
  • Leaving out female members of the animal kingdom may be bad for science
  • Study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B calls for this to be redressed

Although progress is being made against sexism, there are still pockets of resistance... such as among long-dead exhibits at the Natural History Museum.

A study of five museums found that women weren't the only females forced to fight sexism – apparently leopards and lions face it, too, with the famous London collection and others accused of being prejudiced.

Researchers looked at more than two million animals at the Natural History Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, the Field Museum in Chicago, the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the French National Museum of Natural History. 

Although progress is being made against sexism, there are still pockets of resistance... such as among long-dead exhibits at the Natural History Museum (pictured)

Although progress is being made against sexism, there are still pockets of resistance... such as among long-dead exhibits at the Natural History Museum (pictured) 

Mane man: A lion exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London

Mane man: A lion exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London

Male birds outnumbered females by 60 per cent to 40 per cent, while mammals were 52 per cent male.

Museums are home to so-called reference animals – the official specimen for each species to which new animals must be compared.

Among these important animals, only 27 per cent of birds and 39 per cent of mammals were female. 

Perhaps it's the peacock's showy tail, the lion's mane and the antlers grown by stags that can make them bigger crowd-pleasers.

An ostrich on display at the Natural History Museum in London. A study of five museums found that women weren't the only females forced to fight sexism

An ostrich on display at the Natural History Museum in London. A study of five museums found that women weren't the only females forced to fight sexism

Brown bear on display at the Natural History Museum in London. It is harder to classify females into the correct species when there are not many to refer to

Brown bear on display at the Natural History Museum in London. It is harder to classify females into the correct species when there are not many to refer to

The problem, according to researchers, is that leaving out female members of the animal kingdom may be bad for science.

It is harder to classify females into the correct species when there are not many to refer to.

The study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B calls for this to be redressed. 

Study author Dr Natalie Cooper, of the Natural History Museum, said: 'There is a tendency for the people collecting to want to get the largest grizzly bear or the animal with the most impressive horns.'

The animals were collected between 1751 and 2018, but things didn't get better with time. Dr Cooper said: 'Interestingly, we see no improvement. Even recent collections are biased.'

Natural History Museum branded sexist... for not having enough female animal exhibits! 

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